How I’m teaching myself to sew

My Creation StationI’m very new to sewing, like 6 months new. Although I dabbled a bit when I was 10 and again in junior high in home ec (that Smurf Pillow was the bees knees), I would not call myself an intermediate seamstress. I’m more like a novice with the training wheels off. I have the skinned knees and bruises to prove it. To teach myself more about the craft of sewing, I solicited the help of many blogs, YouTube, books, Craftsy and DVD tutorials. Since I was determined to take my craft to the next level, I enrolled in Moore College of Art and Design Fashion Studies program this spring.

All that learning aside, there is one book in my arsenal that I swear is what inspires me and gives me really good guidance, Sew Everything Workshop by Diana Rupp. This is a great little primer on all things sewing; from building a sewing kit and identifying the parts of a sewing machine to demonstrating various seam finishes and fabric choices for any project. Aside from her conversational writing style and the level of detail presented in this book, it comes with 10 paper patterns to get you on your way to sewing some new garments, home goods and crafts. So far I’ve made the Tokyo Bag, the wrap skirt and the naughty secretary skirt (it’s just an A-line skirt, nothing naughty about it). In addition to the great crafts and patterns, there is a wealth of information of techniques, step-by-step guides, and other very helpful information.

I’ve even written an Amazon review on the book. If I didn’t think the book was worth a look if you’re new to sewing, I wouldn’t recommend it.

In addition to this book, here are a list of books, blogs, YouTube channels, fabric and notions stores and classes I recommend if you too are teaching yourself to sew.

This isn’t a comprehensive list, just a few that I recommend to get you started. The more you dig around the Internet, they more information you stumble upon. As with all information you find on the web, use what you need and discard the rest.


More Fabric Savvy: A Quick Resource Guide to Selecting and Sewing Fabric by Sandra Betzina
The New Complete Guide to Sewing: Step-by-Step Techniques for Making Clothes and Home Accessories by Reader’s Digest
The Complete Photo Guide to Perfect Fitting by Sarah Veblen

Blogs (where it all started!)

YouTube channels

FashionSewingBlogTV  (My GO TO!!!)

Fabric Stores
Fleishman Fabrics in Philadelphia (Very Knowledgeable- brick and mortar store)

And 30 more great online fabric stores to boot!

Classes (In Philadelphia)
Moore College of Art and Design- Fashion Studies ( I study here now!)

My latest class project
My latest class project

6 thoughts on “How I’m teaching myself to sew

  1. Welcome to sewing! There is such a huge community of sewers online that you will find yourself right at home! Can’t wait to see what you are working on next!

    1. Thanks so much! I’m just amazed by how much joy I’m finding in it, even in the mistakes, flubs, do-overs and uh-ohs (sergers CAN really kill ya!). I want to learn as much as I can so one day I can look at a garment and say, “I can make that”. I’ve been making little garments here and there (for class and just because) but haven’t posted anything about them. My next project may indeed be post worthy!

    1. Thanks! The skirt was a great project; pleats, french seams, invisible zipper. I’ll be done tonight and I’ll get my grade next week I hope. I’m really excited. I actually made a top a few weeks ago that will match the skirt perfectly (totally coincidence). I can’t wait to wear them together.

  2. Hi Scooter, just read your blurb on Diane’s facebook group. Welcome to the wonderful and sometimes humbling world of sewing, and congratulations on signing up for Fashion Studies!


    1. Thank you for those words! I’m so excited about learning about sewing I can’t even contain it! I love Diane’s page and there are some super nice & helpful folks there. It’s a great community to be in.

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