Learning To Sew

Discover 8 amazingly easy beginner sewing projects for anyone who wants to learn to sew. When you’re first learning to sew, it can be intimidating to know where to start or what kind of pattern to choose. How are you supposed to know what fabrics to use? How can you tell if a pattern will be easy or hard? Will it guide you through the process? How do you even turn the sewing machine on?

Or worse, you decide to start a project and you’re happily cruising along when uh-oh, that doesn’t seem right. Oh no, you put something on backwards or inside out or it’s puckered or the fit is just OFF. So you put it on a shelf and walk away, and vow to come back and fix it tomorrow. 3 years later you still get the shivers thinking about it.

These things are all part of the process but what helps is having a good pattern and thorough resources to help you through. Let’s cover some common questions.

Easy beginner sewing projects

Which brand of sewing patterns are best for beginners?

When it comes to easy beginner sewing patterns you’ve got a few choices: commercial patterns or independent (or indie) patterns or free sewing patterns. Let’s go through each one.

Commercial Sewing Patterns

It can be tempting to pick out commercial sewing patterns like Vogue or McCalls because the garments are fantastic, but these patterns assume that you know how to read a sewing pattern and aren’t great if you want to learn to sew.

If you’re just starting out and never used a sewing pattern before, there can be a steep learning curve. Commercial patterns leave out basic steps that they assume you will know to do — like pressing, stay stitching, cutting out your pattern pieces, handling nap, finishing your seams, just to name a few things. Or they might combine 3-4 different steps into a single line, without much explanation or illustration.

And vintage commercial patterns are on another level of difficult. I can barely make my way through one (and I’ve been sewing from patterns since I was a kid). They assume that the sewer has a VERY HIGH amount of sewing knowledge and experience, only giving you really high level guidance.

Independent (or Indie) Sewing Patterns

An alternative to commercial patterns are indie or independent sewing patterns, like our craft patterns. We designed our sewing patterns for beginners. We assume you’re just starting out, so we call out every step (and sub-step) with detailed pictures and explanations of why each step important. For example, you’ll learn what stay stitching is and why it’s important. Or the difference between pressing and ironing (and when to use which one).

Additionally, we spend a lot of time user testing our sewing patterns on a wide range of sewers, ranging from super beginner to experienced. This helps us identify where new sewers could use a little more guidance. And feedback from experienced users ensures we’re getting things right. This all makes a big difference to ensure we’re offering easy beginner sewing projects.

Easy beginner sewing patterns

Free Sewing Patterns

And finally, free patterns are another option but these can get tricky. Most of the time free patterns only include the instructions but you have to make your own pattern. Depending on what you’re making, this could be the hardest part of the process and way beyond beginner level.

Additionally, typically a designer of a free pattern isn’t going to test their pattern like they would if they were selling it. Leaving out small details or having a measurement off can completely detail your project.
So if you’re using a free pattern, take a look before you start and keep an eye out for these things:

  • Do I need to create my own pattern piece and if so, is it a simple shape (ie rectangle) or does it involve curves or complex shaping?
  • Read through all of the steps and are they clear? Is there any place that you are just completely baffled?
  • Are there reviews from others who made the item? And are those people beginners?
  • Can you contact the maker to ask a question if you get stuck?
  • What’s the skill level of this maker and do they seem qualified to be making patterns that are easy to use?

What makes a sewing pattern easy to use for beginners?

When you’re looking for projects for beginner sewers, you want to pick a pattern that’s quick and easy to start building your skills and confidence. These are some things to consider when picking an easy beginner sewing project:

  • Start with a pattern that uses woven fabric (not knit fabric) pattern
  • Don’t use a silky or sheer fabric – use a cotton fabric
  • Only use a pattern that includes seam allowance
  • Choose a pattern that doesn’t have a zipper, buttons or other closures
  • You don’t want to make something with set-in sleeves when you’re just starting out
  • Select a pattern that is flat without a lot of shaping (like pants)
  • Pick a pattern that doesn’t include advanced techniques like gathering or shirring
  • Types of projects that make great first projects: pillow, curtains, scarves, tote bag

What is the easiest thing to sew as a beginner?

We’ve covered what types of sewing patterns to avoid as a beginner, so where do you start? What DO you sew that’s easy and simple? If you’ve never sewn before you want something DEAD SIMPLE or with great instructions. Ideally both. Here are 3 projects that would be perfect for an easy beginner sewing project.

detachable collar pattern

1. This detachable collar pattern is a great option, especially if you are looking for a trendy fashion pattern. You use a downloadable pattern piece (that you don’t have to draw yourself!). There’s just a few steps to complete it, and no advanced techniques are used. And this peter pan collar pattern is another version that would be great!

Easy throw pillows for beginners

2. These easy throw pillows would make a great first project. You do have to make your own pattern but it’s rectangular, so it’s easy to do. The steps are simple, and clearly photographed and explained. Also this is a super useful sewing pattern for making a home project.

Cat sleeping mask

3. This cat sleeping mask sewing pattern also makes a cute and useful first project. The pattern is created for you, and the whole project just takes a few easy steps.

These sewing projects are flat, with no complex stitching, minimal assembly and very few steps. And you’ll be so excited to have something that YOU CREATED, in just one afternoon. They cover the basic steps in a project:

  • Cutting your fabric
  • Straight machine stitching
  • Turning your garment right side out
  • Pressing your seams

These easy things to sew will build your sewing confidence tremendously and you go through all of the fundamental steps without getting overwhelmed.

After you’ve worked through an item like this and feel good about it, it’s time to grab a new sewing pattern with a tad more complexity. You’ll still use all of the same steps as before, but maybe just add a new technique.

Beginner clothes sewing projects for adults

As you start to build your sewing skills, you still want to choose easy beginner sewing projects. You just want to start adding a new technique, type of fabric, or garment types. This allows you to not get overwhelmed, but you’re adding skills to your sewing knowledge. Here are 5 easy project ideas that are still suitable for beginners and easy to sew, but take it one step further than just a flat, unshaped item.

Easy beginner skirt sewing pattern

This easy pocket skirt by Peppermint magazine is a great beginner sewing project. The shape is straightforward with no tailoring. A new technique in this pattern would be the elastic waist — which is a nice easy way to fit the skirt (avoiding buttons and zippers). Additionally, the skirt has pockets, but they are very easy to sew on top, rather than in-seam pockets which are more advanced.

Half apron pattern

This ruffled half apron sewing pattern is a great way to work on gathering techniques and ruffles. The pattern is still a quick and easy thing to sew, really just using basic sewing skills. A perfect beginner sewing project.

Easy sewing patterns for beginners

This turban sewing pattern is another trendy fashion pattern that looks complicated but is really easy. The new technique here would be learning to work with knit fabrics, but the sewing techniques are very straightforward.

Easy beginner pants pattern

These basic high-waisted pants/shorts are incredibly flattering and such a fun pattern. It’s a wonderfully simple pattern with an elastic waist (no zippers or buttons!) and this shop has SO many positive reviews. And this pattern comes in several versions.

Bow tie pattern PDF

And finally, our last easy project is a sewing project for men. A classic bow tie sewing pattern, this one looks complicated but is completely suitable for beginners if you follow along with the easy instructions in the tutorial.

Free pocket sewing pattern

Free In-Seam Pocket Sewing Pattern

Add pockets to your skirts, pants and dresses! Get the free pattern by subscribing to our email list below.

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