I love trying new things, but even though I’d like to be a natural at everything, it doesn’t work like that. Sewing your own clothes has been in the public eye a lot more lately, so lots of women (and men!) want to have a go. But as much as we would like to make a stunning ballgown the first time we use a sewing machine, you don’t get to that stage without putting in a lot of practise. You need to start with simple projects to help you get used to using a sewing machine and working with different fabrics. Luckily, there are lots of easy things to make that still produce impressive results.
If you want to start off making something that you can wear right away, an A-line skirt is the perfect project. This classic skirt shape suits just about anyone, and it’s very easy to put one together. To make it even easier, you can make it with an elastic waist, so you don’t have to fiddle with zips or buttons. The best way to do it is to use a skirt you already own as a template. By tracing around the skirt, leaving a border, and cutting out two pieces to sew together, you can easily make something that will fit you without a complicated pattern.
Even easier than making a skirt is a simple tote bag. They’re perfect for carrying your shopping, and you can make loads of them in different patterns. If you have fabric you want to recycle, this is an ideal project for using it up. All you need to do is sew two rectangles of fabric together and attach two strips for handles. Once you’ve got the hang of it, you can start adding a few fancy embellishments to make it less simple. You could embroider or iron on some text or a picture, play with colours or make the handles more interesting.
Pillowcase Girl’s Dress
If you want to practise your sewing skills and do a good deed at the same time, try making a little girl’s dress from an old pillowcase. The charity Little Dresses for Africa sends them to countries like Malawi, to make sure every little girl gets to own a lovely dress. You can find the pattern on their website. If you want to make lots of these, you might decide to invest in a model from My Mannequins or somewhere similar, so you can work on the dresses more easily.
For something extremely easy, try making a reversible scarf. You might think scarves should be knitted, but it’s so simple to sew one too. Take two different fabrics, maybe a woollen one and a cotton, and sew them together to make a cosy winter scarf. You could also use some light material to makes scarves you can wear all year. But be careful about the fabric you use, as anything too delicate could be difficult to work with.
You’re probably eager to move on to some more complicated projects, but everyone has to start somewhere. You’ll be proud of the first things you make, even if they’re a bit lopsided.
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