Sewing Tutorials – The basics (Part 1)

Sewing machine

Happy monday!

I’m back with a brand new style, my very first post on the new & improved TLWP blog & today I thought we’d start our first lesson in getting that sewing machine -you bought 6 months ago but havent yet used- plucked from its dusty box & finally put into use.

As much as I’d like to just throw you in the deep end & give you something amazing to make, first we need to go over a few things.

I’ll make this as quick as possible, hopefully it wont be too boring!

I bought my first machine back in 2009, after hearing a discussion in the workplace, one of my collegues made some pretty gorgeous laptop covers, and so I hopped onto amazon & purchased my Toyota RS . I knew absolutely nothing about sewing machines, how hard could it be?

The first time I actually used the machine, easy. It was pre threaded, I Used a scrap of fabric making lots of pretty patterns, testing every stitch, until disaster struck. My bobbin thread snapped.
I spent two hours throwing a paddy, not a single clue how to fix it. And so emotionally exhausted I packed it back in the box, took it to the far corner of our spare room, and left it there for six months.

I cant remember what exactly made me pull it back out, I do however remember picking the most disgusting, 80’s style surfer print fabric & vowing I was going to make a jumpsuit. I did actually make a jumpsuit to be fair, but it was hideous, the crotch was far to high (very uncomfortable) and I looked like a scuba diver. – Oh I wish I had a picture to show you!-

It was a disaster of course, but this was my first step in learning how to sew.

Jumping in head first & just figuring it out as I go!

To some extent this is what I want you to do. Lose the fear of doing it wrong. Its okay if you sew the wrong piece, thats what snips are for. Its okay if you completely botch the whole thing up & have to start again. All of the tutorials I will be starting you off with will be quick & easy. Something you can do once the little one/s are in bed, or when you’ve finally settled in from a long day at work & just fancy doing something a little bit crafty.

So, now I’ve rambled for a while lets get started.

Basic tools:
When I first started I was convinced I needed everything and anything to do with sewing, I’d obviously be using it all wouldnt I?

No, no you wont. And the more money you spend on useless stuff, the less money you have to spend on Fabric – Life philosophy right there!

So as Beginner, here’s what you’ll actually need:

– Fabric Scissors. They dont have to be expensive, so dont feel pressured to spend any more that a tenner on them just yet.

– Machine needles. (More on how to choose the right ones in my next post)

– Hand sewing needles.

– Safety pins.

– Tape measure, one of those loose round the neck ones.

– Thread. You can go out & buy every colour under the rainbow, but really as a beginner just having Black & white is more often than not enough.

– Dress makers pins. These are like hair grips, you buy 5000 & one month later your left with two. Maybe hunt down a small magnet aswell, handy for sweeping over the floor of your workspace & picking up loads in one go.

– Snips. I hate seam rippers, Snips are way quicker & easier for un-doing a wrong seam.

– Bobbins. Its handy having a couple of spare ones, just makes it quicker & easier when you need to change thread colour on your machine.

– A chop stick. Believe it or not, I use this on a daily basis. Its small enough, but blunt enough to turn out corners, without piercing the fabric.

– Fabric. This is the best one! Go crazy! buy it all! No, not really. Cheap & cheerfull is best at this point, it must be pretty or else there’s no motivation to make something from it, but dont spend too much on a single piece or you’ll be too scared to use it.

-This last one is optional. In my next post I will be explaining basic seams. Now, you can go out & purchase an overlocker, however they are quite pricey, and I would hold off until you know you actually want to continue using your sewing machine regularly. So alternatively you can purchase some pinking shears, or nothing at all as I’ll be showing you how to finish & secure seams using just your sewing machine.

So thats it. All the basic tools you’ll need.


With each tutorial I will specify other materials you’ll need, but all will be easy to get hold of & most importantly none of them will break the bank.

I’ll be back on Wednesday (if not before)  for your first lesson on the actual machine, we’ll be covering:  Starting up your machine, setting it up so its ready to go, basics on how to take care of your machine & then actually sewing with it.

By the end of the week you’ll be ready for our first actual tutorial.

The little woman pretends.

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  1. […] My very first post. When I re-started TLWP as a blog, I honestly thought it would burn out in a couple of months – full of faith! ha- But its just been so addictive. I look back at my first post and I can sense the nerves in my writing, I was SO scared of hitting that publish button. The support I’ve had since is just insane. So thank you for coming here to read. […]

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