Ok, so “to save your life!” might be overstretching the abilities of sewing a little, but these beginner sewing tips will definitely help make life easier if you’re an absolute beginner behind the machine.
It often happens on any project, from theatre to film, music to promos – as a member of the wardrobe team the time will come when you will be expected to do some basic sewing both for maintenance and for adjustments.
With that in mind, it’s best to learn a thing or two while you can so you don’t end up with egg on your face when a senior member of the team needs you to fix up that garment pronto.
These start from scratch tips for basic sewing are absolutely ideal if you’ve never picked up a needle in your life.
Contrary to what might think, no-one is born with the innate ability to use a sewing machine, it takes years of practice to master the art of sewing (and do it well)- so do not panic!
Perhaps you’ve just taken up a dressing position and want to know how to do some basic repairs, or maybe you’re just starting out in the wardrobe world- whatever your reason, we’ve got you covered.
The best thing to do is to hit the ground running – get out there and get sewing. We took a look at Crazy Little Projects advice as well as Kozzii’s own tips to get you going without sewing your fingers into the fabric!
First thing’s first
Get to know your machine. This might sound a little daunting at first, but will really help in the long run and the better you know all its little quirks and manoeuvres, the better equipped you’ll be.
The blog suggests the first thing you tackle is how to thread your machine- each machine is a little different, but once you’ve mastered the basics you can wire up any machine (we’ll work our way upto the overlocker.)
It might be a little dull, but the best way to really get to grips with your machine is to sit down, make yourself a cuppa and have a good flick through the manual. Once you know what all the buttons are for, you’re halfway to making it happen!
Get the gear
If you work in wardrobe, you probably have already read our kit essentials advice. But if you want to be a seamer/stitcher/maker, or however you want to be known, you’re going to need to get your kit together and make sure you’ve got the right gear to do the job.
Some of the sewing essentials Crazy Little Projects recommend include: fabric, thread, a seam ripper (or quick unpick), pins, scissors, and bobbins.
These really are the bare essentials, so as long as you’ve got a few of these in your stash then you’re good to go.
Do a practice run
If you have some scraps of fabric, it’s well worth grabbing a few bits and bobs and having a trial run of all the types of stitches your machine has on offer. Don’t be scared to experiment with the thread tension and size of stitch (we’ll go into more detail about that another time!)
See what your machine can do and build up a little swatch book of references to keep track of what setting does what, and to give you a visual aid to remember.
Feel the fabric
Each fabric type is different and has different properties and ways in which it will respond to a machine, as well as different types of stitches.
Have a good old feel of your fabric in advance to get to know what you’re working with and research its properties which may provide some help when you start sewing on the machine.
If you can, before you start stitching for real, snip a bit of your fabric and have a practice. This will help you feel how the machine responds.
Wind your bobbin up
Before you start you’ll need to make sure you have enough thread to allow for the bobbin too – this is very important, unless you want contrasting colors in the stitching.
You can re-wind your bobbin up when you’ve already started, but it definitely helps to make sure you’ve got enough of the same color to keep you going.
Different models and machines will differ, so check out your manual on how to wind your bobbin up and away you go.
Tackle the tack
You may find it really helpful (especially when you’re just getting started), to pin and tack the fabric in place so you’re not battling with manualy holding pieces of fabric in position and trying to work the machine at the same time!
If you lay the pins horizontally where you’re going to stitch, the machine should jump over them, meaning you don’t have to keep pulling them out while you sew!
So now you’ve got the real bare bones, it’s time to have a practice. Get your machine out and get going! Above all, practice makes perfect, so don’t give up.
Just starting out? Let us know what you want to see. Got some tips for beginners? Let us know or drop a comment below.