Just like baking, it seems that sewing has captured the national imagination and with good reason. Not only will learning to sew allow you to save money through mending and alterations, you can also get a unique look by customising clothing or creating your own pieces from scratch. However for a complete beginner it can seem a bit daunting. Where to start?
Your most important early purchase is your sewing machine. The JL110 is an ideal machine for beginners. Or, if you have a little experience already, then the Janome 7025 is great as it's packed full of sewing options and can be used with a wide range of fabrics. Check out our buying guide for more information about how to choose the machine that's right for you.
Once you've chosen your machine, why not buy some fat quarters and begin experimenting with different settings and stitches? (If you're wondering why they're so called, it's because they're a quarter of a metre square in size and differ from a strip of fabric cut from a roll, which is known as a 'thin quarter'!) They're easy fabrics to cut and stitch. Once you've mastered them you can move onto satin, denim or faux fur. It'll take a while to get used to controlling the speed and handling the fabric and threads but it's all about practice. A cushion cover or pin cushion is a great first project as you get used to creating seams and joining fabric together.
Once you begin to play around and get comfortable with your stitches you may find that different techniques interest you. It could be appliqué or quilting and you'll also get an idea of which fabrics you like working with. There are plenty of more specialised feet and accessories that make these tasks easier. Have a look at our full range of accessories.
Additionally, you'll want to stock up your sewing box. Dress making scissors, a tape measure and threads are all essentials and can be bought individually or why not opt for this easy, all-in-one sewing kit that contains everything a beginner needs? It also contains glass-headed pins and safety pins.
Friends, family and a sewing group are great ways to get advice. You'll find a host of books aimed at beginner sewers. Whether it's patterns or alterations, you'll find books to answer your questions. There are also guides to mending, patching or darning. If you're looking for inspiring mini-projects why not go for the Start to Stitch book?
Once you've mastered the basics you can concentrate on achieving a professional finish and there are plenty of accessories and gadgets to help you. You'll be amazed at how quickly a new set of buttons will transform a jacket or shirt. Choose bright coloured buttons to instantly update an old jacket. This binding maker will help you achieve quick and easy high quality results. Adding a contrasting binding to the hems of a skirt or around the neckline of a top is the ideal way to stamp your own individual mark on your outfit.
Of course, you'll also need somewhere to store your new kit. Our coordinated ranges include knitting and sewing storage in a range of shapes and sizes. The Blossom range is ideal for spring. And for the ultimate accessory, why not go for a dressmaker's model. This classic design will complete a vintage tailor's shop look.
For more help, visit one of our Haberdashery departments in our shops, where our knowledgable Partners will be happy to help. They often run classes and workshops - check in store for details.