Learn to Sew – Top 10 Beginner Sewing Tips

Here are my Top 10 Beginner Sewing Tips! When you are just starting out on your sewing journey sometimes those little Sewing Tips are so helpful. Those of us who have been sewing a while tend to take these for granted, and presume they are common knowledge.

Top 10 Beginner Sewing Tips Nina Makes Tutorials Patterns Free


Sewing Tip 1 – Finding that needle

The first tip is from my good friend Linda from Sewing Bee Fabrics. She has just started creating a range of sewing tips videos.  Her tips are just the kind of simple things that I think beginner sewers need to know!

I know I have wasted time on many occasions looking for that needle that I put with my pins!  I now use a pin cushion but my kids seem to love putting their hands on top of all the pins and pressing down…bye bye needles.  Now I am going to start leaving a little thread on the them to pull them back out!

Sewing Tip 2 – Press not Iron

When ironing your want to press the fabric rather than slide the iron over it.  If you press and slide the iron you can stretch and distort your fabric.  Here is a you tube video although that one is for quilting you can apply it to any seam.  You can press the seam in either direction or open, it is the pressing rather that sliding movement that is key.

Sewing Tip 3 – Threading a Needle

No more trying an trying to get that thread through the needle!  This little tip even works for thick thread or wool/yarn.

Sewing Tip 4 – Sort out that Unruly Sewing Machine

There is nothing worse than a problem with your machine. After you’ve carefully chosen your fabric, picked the perfect pattern, spent all that time setting up your sewing machine…and boom it’s not working correctly. Again my friend Linda from Sewing Bee Fabrics has created a great troubleshooting guide with easy to follow flow charts. Which hopefully should be able to guide you in the right direction to sort that unruly sewing machine out!

Sewing Tip 5 – Follow that Seam Allowance (or Add one)

I make sure I write the seam allowance on any pattern piece I trace.  There is nothing worse than picking it up later not knowing what the seam allowance is meant to be.  For those that don’t know the seam allowance is the amount of room left at the edge of your pattern to allow for the seams.  My printed older style patterns tend to have a larger 5/8″ or even 3/4″ seam allowance.  Most of my pdf patterns have 3/8″ or ones sewn in knit fabric often only have a 1/4″.  Now I come from a metric country but my machine has both mm and inches on the guides by the presser foot.  The inches are higher up and easier to see so I tend to use those measurements in place of the mm. For those of you that don’t below is a handy little chart with the conversions.

Learn to sew - Seam Allowance Conversion Chart - Sewing Tips

Sewing Tip 6 – Do a test run using scraps

If I am sewing with a new type of fabric or a different thickness I like to use the off-cuts and run them through the sewing machine and/or overlocker to see how they turn out.  You may want to adjust the thread tension or the stitch length and this is a great to find out with zero unpicking involved!

Sewing Tip 7 – Easy Gathering

I often use a quick easy method of gathering.  You set your machine stitch length as long as it will go (mine is 4) and the tread tension as tight as it will go (mine is 9).  I have a tutorial as part of a Gorgeous Dress that has all the details about half down the page.

To gather the proper way, another favourite of mine Dana from Made Everyday has a video for you on that!

Sewing Tip 8 – Pin Button Holes

Button holes have never been my favourite. I have done plenty none the less.  The absolute worst is accidentally cutting the button hole to big after you have sen it. Simple simon and co have a great simple solution here.  Why didn’t I think of that!!

Sewing Tip 9 – Machine Needles

When I first started sewing I used a universal needle for all my projects…and I still do! I occasionally change out my machine needle for a stretch/knit needle but only if it isn’t sewing nicely with a universal. That is where Tip 6 of testing on the scrap pieces really pays off. It does however need to be a sharp (not damaged) needle. If you start getting pulls is you fabric or you’ve hit a pin with your needle it is definitely time to change it out for a new one.

Sewing Tip 10 – Just give it a go

My last and most important of all the sewing tips. Just give it a go! It doesn’t matter how much reading or watching tutorial videos you do, there is nothing like doing it yourself. I have started many patterns not knowing how a few steps needed to be completed. Once you get to the confusing step it often just fits into place.  If not then there are many facebook groups, you tube channels and blogs out there to help you out!

I hope you enjoyed my top 10 beginner sewing tips!