As the saying goes, when you have a hammer, everything looks like a nail. When you have some fabric, thread, and needles, everything looks like a project. At least theoretically. But how do you go from taking up hems to bringing hand-sewn creations to life?
Well, you can follow a pattern. Here we’ll share some simple sewing projects to get you started or help keep your momentum going.
A Refresher on Sewing for Beginners
For those looking to get started sewing, remember you’ll need a few things. These are called notions, and they include:
- Pins (to fix fabric in place before it’s sewn)
- Seam rippers (for removing stitches)
- Marking pens/tailor’s chalk (to make temporary guide marks)
- Elastic, keyrings, stuffing, or other functional additions
Just as importantly, even with sewing patterns for beginners, you’ll want a sewing machine. These easy sewing patterns are quick and undemanding on a machine but will take far longer and be more frustrating if you try to do it all by hand.
That’s not to say you can’t or shouldn’t practice hand sewing skills.
- Those basic stitches are important! They’re useful for working small sections or doing minor repairs and alterations.
- Feel free to practice with small sewing projects and a large amount of patience. We’ve included a few easy patterns.
- If you’ve got a little one you’d like to introduce to the craft, some of these can work well as sewing projects for kids, too.
Finally, you need fabric and fabric scissors. Keep in mind that knits and stretch fabrics need specialty needles to prevent holes and unraveling. Try to avoid them as you’re starting out. But do follow what the pattern recommends in terms of type/weight and sizing.
12 Easy Sewing Projects for Beginners
Before we dive in, let’s go over the basics of patterns and projects.
A sewing pattern is a helpful template with measurements and instructions.
- Traditionally, you trace it onto your fabric before cutting the separate pieces and sewing them together. For creating garments, these tend to be highly detailed and can be complicated.
- In the online era, you’ll find plenty of simpler PDF patterns. You can download, then print and cut out, or just follow along with your device.
A DIY sewing project is in the same spirit but won’t provide you with a pattern. It’s merely helpful instruction.
- Usually, these are so easy to complete that you won’t need a template. They are typically made with few pieces and simple shapes, like fabric squares or sometimes circles.
- (You shouldn’t freehand a circle, but you probably already have circular objects of various sizes that you can trace!)
To help you find the perfect match, this list notes each entry as a pattern or project and whether or not we advise hand sewing.
This comprehensive tutorial can be either hand or machine sewn. There’s a project for a pleated mask and a pattern for a mask with a middle seam. For a simpler starting point, try this mask pattern available in multiple sizes.
You can make this little guy lickity-split with the included pattern. It’s a hand-sewn cat toy, but there’s no rule against keeping one for your desk or nightstand, possibly filled with a small bag of pellets or rice to stay weighed down.
You’ll never have to buy little gift bags again if you’ve got a sewing machine to tackle this easy DIY project. To create medium and large-sized drawstring bags, check out this tutorial instead, with the measurement options included.
This bag project can be hand or machine sewn. It’s got a more sophisticated look with structured sides, loop closure, and a bit of hardware but remains simple to make.
If you’re looking for sewing gifts that are sentimental rather than functional, try this adorable hand-sewn stuffed dog. All the instructions are on this page, and the pattern itself is linked at the bottom.
This pattern creates a sort of soft sculpture for home or office. The instructions call for 99% machine sewing with one bit of stitching by hand at the end.
This is an ideal machine-sewn starter pattern for anyone looking to get into garment sewing (available through newsletter signup or purchase).
This incredibly simple machine-sewn project just takes time and patience to work through — and lots of pins until it’s fully sewn up! To turn this into a cozy blanket for someone larger than a baby, you can safely size up.
A quick and easy DIY project you complete on a sewing machine, with very functional results. (For rounded edges, keep the technique from #8 in mind.)
This machine-sewn tote project has a slick graphic-printed on the front pocket. Though the addition will look like it took a lot of effort, it doesn’t add complexity or difficulty at all! But you can still skip the graphic or leave off the front pocket altogether without any problems.
A two-for-the-price-of-one DIY project. The two small pieces go hand in hand, so making both doesn’t take too much fabric, time, or effort. And at the end, you’ve got two usable handmade goodies to keep or gift.
This stuffed pumpkin pattern will take both machine and hand stitching and some fabric sculpting. It’s much more of an artistic craft than the previous items on this list but not overly complicated. You might need a couple of tries to get it right, but luckily, the pumpkin looks great made with leftover fabric scraps.
For an easier starting point, try this simpler pumpkin pattern.
While this list is a good round-up of sewing ideas, it’d be impossible to encompass all the sewing projects for beginners on the web. There are always more to find, and as mentioned on the sherpa dog page, you may be inspired to try your own simple patterns.
Today you start on easy sewing projects. Tomorrow you’ll be graduating to intermediate patterns and more ambitious projects.
Well, maybe the turnaround won’t be that quick, but you’ll get there. Keep on sewing.