Sewing is one of those hobbies that can benefit everyone. The skills required are both creative and practical. So when you’re ready to consider your first project, it’s essential to choose something easy and quick that will help you become familiar with the sewing process without too many complications.
Some Tips to Consider
- Easy Stitches. A simple straight stitch with a finishing zigzag is a great place to start with your machine.
- Straight seams. Don’t try to sew curving or complicated shapes for your first project. Square shapes with mostly flat seams are best for beginning success.
- Choose favorite or complimentary colors. Your first project can be one you will cherish for years to come. Choose colors that will be a feast for the eyes and compliment the person or decor they are meant to match.
- Sew to impress. A simple project on display for public comment can be an excellent confidence booster when you’re just getting started.
- Set attainable goals. Remember that sewing is a skill that continues to increase over a lifetime. So with each new project, plan to learn a new skill. Before long you’ll be ready for the really challenging projects.
10 Easy Sewing Projects For Beginners
It’s easy to find websites with 25, 50, or even more project suggestions for beginners. However, just to simplify things a bit, I have decided to list ten quick and straightforward projects. The goal for beginning sewers is to build confidence by repetition.
Learning how to guide fabric evenly through your machine is no small feat and has caused many a beginning sewer to give up when they had hardly begun. And making a habit of finishing every seam to prevent fraying is also an essential discipline. And finally, taking the time to address potential issues as they arise is a fundamental skill for sewing success.
1.Pillows or pillowcases
Decorative pillows or pillow covers are easy, creative, and fun to make. It’s also amazing how you will be able to display your increased skill as you create more of these fluffy, practical delights over time. Your first pillow can be a simple square. Later, you may add fringe or welting and more complicated patterns, even quilting, either for your own use or as gifts.
One point to remember for any sewing project–if you’re using a natural fabric that may shrink, pre-wash the material before cutting it. Then you know you won’t have any undesirable future surprises.
Pillow forms are available in various sizes, making fabric cutting and assembling easy. A YouTube video can help supply tips about how to cut your fabric for the best fit. However, I’ve found that some videos don’t include finishing seams. If you want your pillow to last, I recommend zigzagging all the edges, especially for cotton or other fabric that tends to ravel.
You can zigzag either before or after sewing the seams. It doesn’t really matter for pillows, but for some projects where pressing the seams open will reduce their bulky appearance on the outside of the fabric, I like to zigzag or serge each fabric piece before assembling them.
If you decide to make a removable envelope (sham) pillow cover, I recommend you make an overlap of about ⅓ the size of the pillow. So if you’re covering a 15-inch pillow or pillow form, you’ll want at least 5 inches of overlapping fabric. This will ensure that the material doesn’t gap open when the pillow is inserted.
If you want to be more creative, you might consider using iron-on patterns to customize your pillow. Follow the directions carefully, and note any special instructions for washing or cleaning the iron-on patches.
Pillowcases are one of the easiest projects to make. First, simply measure a pillowcase you already own, including the hem, fabric that will be turned under, and seam allowances. Then make your own from any material you choose to customize an existing bed set. This is a fun project for a child’s room to add their favorite color or subject matter.
2.Drawstring or Tote Bags
Drawstring bags can be made in any size with no end of usefulness. They’re great for a child’s special treasures, organizing toys, household items, or camping necessities. In addition, they can be unique gift bags for items such as linens or beach towels.
Instructions are available in books or online for simple drawstring bags. As you go on in your sewing endeavors, drawstring bags are a great use of scraps from other projects. I’ve even made them from the legs of worn-out jeans or other clothing. I use them to store sewing accessories, such as fabric weights. It seems like the more of these handy sacks you make, the more ways you find to use them.
Tote bags are also easy projects with too many uses to list. Tote bag instructional videos abound. As with any project, you can begin with the simplest bags and continue to expand your skill with pockets, lining, or different types of handles. If you like to live as “green” as possible but balk at the price of reusable bags, this is an option for you. The bags can be made with any strong fabric. Remnants can work well and are often discounted at your local fabric store. Recycle old sheets or other household fabrics for maximum environmental responsibility.
They’ve been around a long time, but clutch bags are becoming increasingly popular for storing or transporting electronic items such as tablets, laptops, and phones. You can also use them to protect glasses or carry cosmetics or similar personal items for easy access.
Rectangular clutch bags are simple to make. You can make them in any size with equal ease. If you want to be a little fancier, try an envelope clutch with a triangular flap. Either way, this is a project that you and others can multipurpose for years to come. They can be made on a budget and embellished to suit your own tastes.
If you or a loved one enjoys cooking, a customized apron could be another simple, practical project requiring little experience to make. If you enjoy cooking together, matching aprons can add to the fun.
A pattern is not necessary to make an apron, but it can be helpful and an excellent introduction to using one. You’ll want to use a fabric heavy enough to protect your clothing adequately. Customize your apron with color combinations and unique pockets for extra appeal.
Once again, there’s no shortage of tutorials for this beginner’s sewing project. Headbands require only a small amount of fabric and elastic. Leftover fabric, pieces from worn-out clothing, or store-bought remnants will go a long way to creating creative hairbands for adults or children. I recommend lighter materials such as cotton or linen for summer bands. Heavier fabrics and wider bands will add warmth during winter months.
Colorful scarves are a colorful, classy way to dress up simple outfits for work or social outings. Scarves can be as simple or elaborate as you choose, so let your imagination run wild with this one. If you have a favorite store-bought scarf, you can measure it to ensure you have your favorite size.
Scarves make excellent gifts, and many can be stored in a limited space. In addition, making scarves is an excellent way to learn different edge stitching, adding borders, or adding fringe.
7.Table coverings and napkins
Making narrow edge hems is a skill in itself, and one good way to practice is by making tablecloths, table runners, napkins, or placemats. They are also a great way to introduce edgings such as lace or begin learning the basics of quilting.
Napkin-making is another project the green-minded person will want to grasp quickly. As you sew in the future, make any light, absorbent scrap pieces over 13-inches into practical napkins. Using cloth instead of paper napkins is a way to feel better about your environmentally friendly choices. Cloth napkins can also dress up a table presentation for company.
Tablecloth and table runner instructions are abundant online. As your skills increase, there will always be more intricate patterns to try. Decorative table linens can add seasonal or holiday-appropriate accents to your dining area or any small side table in your home.
Although I’m using baby-sized blankets as an example here, simple blankets or throws are easy to make in any size. They make beautiful gifts for the crib or the lap of elderly loved ones.
Creating a layered blanket is simple and introducing skills such as using batting and edging. Fleece and flannel are typical for soft, comforting coverings, but other fabrics such as silky or fuzzy can make a blanket more decorative or unique.
You may be surprised at the wow factor of simple patterns and colors for both adult and children’s spaces. Also, baby blankets can be considered heirlooms for future generations, so be creative and customize as you are able.
Pillowcase clothing for children has grown in popularity in recent years. Colorful pillowcases are easily transformed into simple skirts for a surprisingly varied age group, though they’ve been more commonly made for younger children. A bit of online research will supply you with instructions for both child and adult-styled pillowcase skirts.
Pillowcase dresses are easy to make for your little girly girl. These summery, economic tops can endure the busyness of active little ones, generally for as long as they still fit. Keep an eye out for sales or thrift store bargains for your materials. If you want something more dressy, just buy fancier pillowcases. It’s also an easy way to make matching outfits for siblings.
10.Easy elastic-topped sundress
This has got to be the most uncomplicated project ever! A little measuring, sew one seam, and voila, you’re ready to go. If you want to be fancy, just add straps. These single-seamed sundresses are quick and are one option for creating matching outfits for siblings or a mother/daughter outing.
The only drawback to this project is that the fabric may be more expensive than some, probably because of the extra manufacturing time and because, well, the dress is already almost made for you. Keep an eye out for sales in the spring or fall. It’ll be worth the wait.