The past year has seen many more of us stay at home and start learning new hobbies. During quarantine, you might have picked up learning how to sew!
When you start making clothes for the first time on your sewing machine, there’s a whole host of emotions that come up – excitement, nervousness; maybe even panic on the first stitch.
If you’re past testing out every function on your sewing machine and want to get started on some real sewing projects, you might be trying to get your head around sewing patterns.
To help out, I’ve found the best sewing patterns for beginners to take your sewing to the next level…
What are the easiest beginner sewing patterns?
Some garments are much easier than others for a beginner to create. To get inspiration, I had a look through my collection and relived my first sewing projects.
Now, I’ve come up with the best beginner sewing projects that I can pass on to you! All you need is your sewing machine and very basic sewing skills or experience.
Essential items for ALL of these projects:
Before we begin, all of these sewing patterns for beginners require the following items:
- Sewing machine
- Iron and ironing board
- Seam ripper (in case of sewn-in mistakes).
- Sewing chalk (any chalk or washable pen/pencil will do).
- Measuring tape
- Thread to match your fabric
The Best Sewing Patterns For Beginners
A Line Skirt
Fitted and very flattering on any body shape. This pattern is perfect for beginners to make.
A Line Skirt
An A line skirt is fitted and very flattering on any body shape, as it slides over the hips to fit the waist and then flares out to a hem.
This is a simple A-Line skirt with only four pieces which makes it perfect for beginner dressmakers. These easy sewing projects mean you can tailor them to your exact body shape and size.
If you are unsure about the length, there are two variations available in this pattern.
Similarly to an A line skirt, a maxi skirt can be made longer or shorter depending on your personal taste.
This skirt sewing pattern is easy enough for a beginner to follow, and it looks fun, and flowy no matter the fabric.
I prefer a maxi skirt to be in rayon or cotton blend fabrics, just so you can get that flowy effect.
Tote bags are one of the easiest bag sewing patterns and are my favorite thing to make! I can rustle one up fairly quickly, and they make great gifts (useful if I’ve forgotten a birthday, eek!).
Not only can you really put a personal twist on them with handles and pockets, but they’re also environmentally friendly hold-alls for your groceries. Need I say more?!
I usually create a sewing pattern by analyzing the construction of tote bags I already have, or if I’m feeling really brave, I measure by eye. You want a tote bag to be strong and secure, but most importantly, roomy.
Speaking of roomy, the side pocket of this tote bag is a welcomed addition for storing extra stuff.
Pouches are perfect for keeping your everyday essentials together in a smaller package, or to be stored inside your homemade tote bag. I know I’ve gone pouch crazy, so here are my three favorite variations here.
This free pattern is for a small envelope clutch that looks great by itself. When I made this, I doubled the suggested sizes to hold my niece’s baby items. The batting can be substituted with an old bed sheet or alternative fabric.
- Cut out your pieces, layer your fabrics with the right sides together, and place them atop the batting rectangle with all edges aligned.
- Fold in corners that will make the envelope seal shape.
- When sewing these all together, don’t forget to leave a small hole so you can pull the fabric out the right way. Use a pencil to push out the corners.
- Press and fold up the button of the envelope. Tada! You can complete this project with simple sewing skills and even for a novice, it shouldn’t take you more than one hour.
This small pouch has simple instructions to follow and is made with a zipper to keep things exactly where they should be.
A timeless staple item in any kitchen that you can use as a canvas to express your creative flare.
An apron is a timeless staple item in any kitchen, and an amazing way to express your creative flare in an easy sewing project.
Experiment with pockets, frill techniques and different print fabrics to keep it sizzling in the kitchen.
Aprons can be as simple or as lively as you want to make them, and honestly, there are so many different and easy sewing patterns for beginners to follow.
Really – it was genuinely difficult for me to choose my favorite style!
Some kitchen aprons feature quilting patchwork techniques (see here) to bring the bedroom and kitchen together. Most commonly, the front and back of the apron are attached with a French seam.
If you’re wondering what French seams are, check out this video below to use with your beginner sewing patterns.
Pillowcase / Cushion Cover
There’s a simple enough pathway for complete beginners, with low-stakes, easy sewing projects, such as cushion covers.
They’re pretty straightforward and fun to sew, normally quadrilateral in shape. Bright colors and prints are really easy and can be a super cute way to add a statement feature to a sofa.
You can create your own easy sewing pattern with this simple tutorial, and you can also adapt it for cushions that are rectangular and pillow cases.
RECOMMENDATIONI recommend using linen or cotton fabrics when making cushion covers for the first time, purely because they don’t slip around as much when cutting them out. Plus, they’re typically easy to feed through the machine and sew.
- Your choice of fabric!
A perfect throw-on when you’re on vacation. It’s in the realm of easy sewing projects to help you get started on your sewing journey
When you’ve sewn your first dress, you’ll feel a great sense of achievement in doing so (even more when people ask ‘where did you get that from?!’).
A simple dress could be one of the best beginner sewing projects to get the ball rolling.
The alterations you can make to a classic dress are limitless, and as your sewing skills increase you can make these additions using the same sewing pattern. You can sew an alternative shaped neckline, sleeves or pockets into your project.
This is one of my favorite beach dresses and a perfect throw-on when you’re on vacation. It’s in the realm of easy sewing projects, and it looks really cute when it’s on!
This pattern would be perfect for the spring and summer, as well as for various social activities.
Shorts are a timeless item for your wardrobe and one of the easiest beginner sewing projects.
They’re obviously perfect for summer and spring, and can be dressed up or down for different social activities.
This beginners pattern is for some cute summer shorts with a paper bag waist.
All you need for this pattern is two yards of any fabric of your choice. There are also different options on where you want to put the drawstring.
You can also add your variation on pocket styles, sew on an embellishment and for the eccentric of us; why not add a contrasting belt instead?
No matter how many bookmarks I buy from local bookstores, I never seem to have one on hand when I need it, and I can’t bring myself to fold the corner of a page in a new book!
There are many beginners’ patterns to follow to make felt bookmarks, including this free Harry Potter themed bookmark that you can sew for extra durability.
I think this is a pretty cool bookmark too. Rather than sitting in at the top of a page, it will slot nicely on to the corners. These easy sewing projects can also be made from cotton materials, denim and felt.
How to begin
When considering these beginners’ projects, you can either create a pattern by mirroring an item you already own or follow a PDF pattern that you download online or buy.
I always rummage through sale baskets when I’m shopping in a thrift store, as they usually have patterns with instructions you can use for practice.
Make sure you’ve got the equipment that is listed at the beginning of this article, as you won’t sew far without it (sorry!). Think about materials you want to use, select a pattern and, voila, off you go!
How do I read easy sewing patterns?
Attention beginners! Reading and tracing patterns for the first time can seem confusing, but it doesn’t have to be.
Firstly, if you are making projects to wear, there will be a pattern number on commercial patterns, used to identify the pattern design and size.
Use a measuring tape to determine your measurements.
Check the size range on the pattern to make sure your size falls within it. Then, assess the amount of fabric you require to make the determined size item.
TIPView the line drawings, which show the front and back of the piece. Each drawing should have a corresponding letter or number. See which pattern pieces you need, as oftentimes patterns will have different variations.
Read the instructions containing information on things like seam allowance. Mostly it’ll be a ¼” seam, conveniently marked on most sewing machines.
Make note of things like the grain line. In these, the grain of the fabric runs parallel to the finished edges of the fabric.
Each pattern piece will have arrows on it corresponding to the grain line. If a grain line symbol is bent at the top, it means you should place the piece upon a fold.
NOTESome patterns may call for you to cut a pattern piece from a double layer of fabric, so double check this.
Iron the pattern before you cut it out to remove any creases, and then cut out the size you need.
Look for the symbols on the pattern:
- Single line – a heavy single line is a cutting line.
- Double parallel lines – lines used to lengthen or shorten a garment.
- Triangles – notches that indicate where one piece will match up and join another piece.
- Dots – either empty or filler circles that indicate where seams start and stop.
Once you’ve come to grips with the above steps, the rest should be pretty easy and fun to follow with the pattern’s sew instructions.
How difficult is it to create your own clothes?
Listen, I’ve been sewing for around 8 years now and I still make mistakes. Creating your own clothes and other treasures from scratch is a rewarding and wonderful process.
You do need to be patient, and unless you’ve got your own mannequin/dress form or a friend close by to pin things to, it might take some time before you get the professional finish you’re going for.
What are the easiest sewing projects for beginners?
Usually small, sleek and square shaped items can be the easiest to create for a beginners project. I find basic items like tote bags and cushion covers to be the simplest to make with my machine.
Make sure to wash and dry your material first to prevent it from shrinking after you have created your item, especially if you are working with knits.
Cutting on the fold
Often in a pattern for clothing, it will state ‘cut along the fold’. This means the material should be folded in two, and you should place the pattern along the edge of the fold and mark.
When cut out, voila! You will have the full size pattern piece to sew.
It’s not one size fits all
Not all fabric is suitable for all clothing ideas. I would recommend using cotton or linen during your first sewing project, as I find it’s easier to sew (and unpick if any mistakes are made!).
On that note, not every needle that you use will be suitable for every fabric, but keep it simple at the beginning!
Bias binding is your friend! Trust me on this. If in doubt, and especially for your first great project, keep a roll of it just in case as a helping hand for those hems.
Find a sewing community in your area. Maybe there is a stitching and bitching club, or nanas and needles. Have a look on social media for new posts about sewing to see if the world can recommend alternative beginner sewing projects or sewing tips.
Keep your fabric scraps! These will be valuable later along your sewing journey.
I would generally use this chart for measurements if the sizes are in S, M, L and XL. These are guidelines, however, so always read the instructions very carefully first.
I prefer to wear my clothes pretty loose, but check the project guidelines. There are many website that can help you remember where to start.
Keep your sewing room or creative area tidy. A sewing pattern storage is also a good idea for keeping patterns organized and accessible. It’s no fun rummaging for part of your garment underneath spools, offcuts and pieces of patterns!
The items in this article are my favorite fun and easy sewing projects. Of course, there is an abundance of alternatives and you can even subscribe to a needlecraft subscription box, but I hope you find these ones to be straightforward enough to learn!
Share Your Thoughts!
So.. what do you think? Do you have any other suggestions for easy sewing projects? Tell me about your first sewing adventures as a beginner.
If you’re up to learn more, you should read up on the types of batting you can use in your quilts.
Did you make any of these beginner patterns? Let me know in the comments below!
Once you get a bit of experience, click here to see what could potentially be a cost-effective way to get lots of fabric for cheap!