Sewing Your Own Clothes: How To Get Started

sewing your own clothesSo you have passed the beginners basic stitching and fabric cutting courses and ready to put the sewing skills you learned to use. You are probably excited and hey we are excited for you too. Let us give you the basic pointers to follow so you can get started sewing your own clothes.

Get What You Need

Before you get sewing, make sure you have everything you need for what you will be making. Take measurements to find out how much fabric you need. The length, as well as the selection of fabrics you would be using, is based on your measurements and the type of garment you are planning to make. Jeans, skirts, blouses and other articles of clothing have different textile requirements, you can also get fabric recommendations from store-bought sewing patterns. Get the matching threads to use on your fabric. Have your sewing machine and other essential tools ready.

15 Essential Tools for Your Beginner Sewing Kit

Sewing Machine

If you don’t have one yet, here are a few tips for buying a sewing machine that may help you find the right sewing machine for you.  Make sure to read the comments from other readers.  There's lots of sewing wisdom and experience there.

10 Tips for Buying a Sewing Machine

If you already have one, then ensure that your sewing machine is well cared for and in perfect working condition before starting on your project. You don’t want the frustration of being set back due to a faulty machine.

Sewing Patterns

sewing your own clothes

Luckily, there are now several means to acquire ready-made patterns. You can buy ready-made patterns of different kinds of clothing that even come in various sizes from sewing supply stores.

You can also download a lot of free sewing patterns from various websites like ours.  We think we have one of the best collections of free sewing patterns around.

Free sewing patterns

You should also follow sites like our sister site at Sewing4Free that publish links to new, free patterns each and every day.  Don't forget to sign up for the Saturday newsletter so all these new and fun ideas will be sent directly to your inbox.

Another valuable option for beginners is to get a sewing book with several patterns of basic apparels because trust me, once you get your very first piece of cloth done, you’ll be wanting to sew another one soon enough.

Baby Steps

sewing your own clothesRecently, I’ve always been hearing “Go big or go home!” and though I might agree, it’s not always applicable. Especially when talking about sewing for beginners.

It’s ok to start with small and simple and progress to more elaborate projects as you continue to enhance your sewing skills.

Be Patient

Know that it is normal to make a lot of mistakes the first time you are sewing your own clothes. One valuable technique seamstress use when creating new projects they have tried before is doing a test run using cheaper fabric like muslin before going for the actual fabric. This way, any potential issue that you have not projected while planning can be identified and addressed before you go on sewing the actual fabric you will be using.

Be Proud

You should be super proud of this new skill you are developing.  Not only are you expressing your creativity but making you and your family more self-reliant.  It's hard to believe that this is not going to be increasingly important in the coming months and years.

I was lucky enough to learn to sew when I was very young but it's never too late.  Many people are afraid to start sewing their own clothes because they're afraid what they will look like.  Will you get compliments or criticism?   Here's our take on how you should react to that:

Did you make that? Compliment or not?

Now you're all set and ready to get started sewing your own clothes. Happy sewing!

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Marilyn Hersey
Marilyn Hersey

there was a time I sewed y own clothes & scrubs. As I have aged my body has changed – quite a bit I would love to sew for myself again, but have no idea what size pattern to buy. The clothes I wear are sizes 10-12, but when I measure myself it says I need a 14. Does that seem right? Can you help?

Reply to  Marilyn Hersey

I don’t think anyone will know what size pattern you used. Just go for it. You need the size that fits you.
I think store bought sizes are different from sewing pattern sizes.


And someone (me) should have clicked the link of essential tools! lol


Would an iron be considered an essential tool?


Because I needed something to do while we are staying home, I’ve been sewing. So far I’ve made 3 pair of shorts that don’t fit. I’m not giving up, though. Yesterday I made a few pot holders from scraps and they are great!

Reply to  pamela

Well done Pamela, keep at it. Can you undo the shorts and adjust them? I’ve had to do that a few times and as much of a pain as it is to do that, it has been worth doing.

Reply to  pamela

I’m jealous of your ambition. I don’t seem to be able to focus during this time. What got you motivated? Also, are your shorts too big? too small? Maybe we can help you same them.

Reply to  pamela

Hi Pamela, do not give up! Getting the curve on the pants to fit your body is super difficult, especially for a beginner! It’s like trying to fly a plane without any instructions or lessons…
Check out tutorials for ideas on how to get that curve, or even try and copy the curve from an existing garment that fits.
Be proud of every mistake you make –
Love, Rebekka