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Learn About Fabric and How to Sew

Learn to Sew

“The expert in anything was once a beginner.” Helen Hayes

How Do I Get Started?

You’re inspired and ready to go, so let’s do this!  There are several easy – and free – patterns that are great to learn on. You can get the Apple Tree Sewing’s Reversible Beanie for free by signing up for their newsletter.  You will receive the pattern in multiple sizes, as well as very clear instructions on how to sew it up.

Patterns For Pirates has a free, very simple, Pencil Skirt pattern and free leggings pattern called Peg Legs.  Both have excellent instructions with photos.

Which needle should I use?

For knit fabric, you want to use stretch or jersey/ballpoint needles.  They are designed to go between the threads of the fabric instead of piercing them, which would leave a hole.
Stretch needles are best for fabric with more spandex content (5% or more), and ballpoint/jersey are good for little or no spandex.  Stretch 75/11 are a great all around needle for knits.

Do I need stretchy thread?

No, you don’t need stretchy thread, you need a stretch stitch.  Use new 100% polyester thread for sewing knits.  Old thread can snap easily.

Which stitch should I use?

The stitches circled in green (in photo below) are your best options for sewing knits.  If your machine doesn’t have these options, the ones circled in yellow will work, but are not ideal, and you may not be happy with the results.
Set your tension lower, and your stitch length longer.  For example, if your tension settings go from 1-9, choose 3.  If your standard stitch length is 2.5, lengthen it to 3 or 3.5.  Check your sewing machine manual to see how to do that on your machine.

Sewing Classes…

Prefer some extra help?  Classes are a great way to gain confidence and get tips from an experienced sewist who stays with you as you learn.  Classes are offered at beginner and intermediate levels with a variety of projects, teaching you many techniques used in PDF patterns.

…in Leamington, Ontario

Patty Hamm and Eva Peters of Water Tower Textiles offer beginner sewing classes in Leamington, Ontario.

… in Whitby, Ontario 

Rebecca Munn is an award-winning teacher and business owner who offers a variety of sewing classes in Whitby, Ontario.

Fabric Choices

All the fabric choices out there can be overwhelming!  
Here is a short list of fabrics that are more suited for a beginning sewist.


Pattern Assembly

Learn from Jalie how to print and assemble a pdf pattern that requires trimming.

There are also patterns that do not require trimming, New Horizons explains how to assemble a no trim pattern.


Sewing Lingo

New Horizons explains some of those to you in this post of Terms and Definitions.

Frequently Asked Questions

There are many questions as you start sewing, here are just a few Frequently Asked Questions.