Would your prefer to start your sewing with making simple garments rather than home dec and accessories (see here for many of those projects) ?
Burda patterns have a beginner’s book with both written and video instructions, for a very easy sequence of garment makes.
This magazine-book is available as hard-copy (with full size pattern sheets) and a pdf e-book (with pdf download patterns that have to be assembled).
If you buy the e-book version save a copy of the e-mail receipt, as this has links to all the patterns and instructions.
I confess I think some of these technique choices are not the easiest, but this is a possible route to learning.
bandeau from jersey fabric – assemble pattern, place pattern on fold of fabric, cut out fabric.
patchwork scarf – stitch fabric pieces together, straight and zigzag stitches.
basic top – mark pattern on fabric, use bias stay tape, finish fabric edges, sew single-fold hem.
(Burda magazine patterns do not include seam allowances, the marked edge of the pattern piece is the stitching line. This lesson shows how to add seam allowances, to mark the cutting line onto the fabric. This is actually the ‘couture’ way of working.
Burda envelope patterns – and most other pattern lines – do include seam allowances – the edge of the pattern piece is the cutting line, the stitching line is not marked on the pattern.)
elastic-waist skirt – wide elastic used as waistband.
cut-on cap sleeve dress – curved stitching, neckline finished with interfaced facing.
elastic-waist pants – how to assemble pants, no side seams.
open front cropped jacket with long cut-on sleeves – thicker fabric. A ‘frog’ is an easy way to add a fastening to an edge-to-edge opening.
scrunchie – use fabric scraps left from cutting out above items, or re-cycle fabric from old garments.
Also make some of the items listed in the first projects post from your scraps and re-cycled fabrics.
Or here’s a big range of items said to be makable in 5 minutes !
Sadly not an extended size range in the patterns, only body bust 80-100cm, about 32″-40″. Perhaps try Butterick 3039 for somewhat similar patterns, bust up to about 55″ – leave out pockets for first tries.
Your first make of a clothes pattern will always be a test (of technique, fit, flattery), so use throw-away fabric – muslin, old sheets, etc. But later choose favourite fabrics !
A complete wardrobe ?
You can actually make an entire ultra simple capsule using the patterns in this book : top, skirt, pants, dress, jacket. Use co-ordinating fabrics and they combine into 6 outfits. Add another top, and that makes 8 possible outfits. Make as many of each pattern as you like.
See below for many extensions to your skills, and to the styles you can make, once you’ve worked through this book.
Learn how to shorten and lengthen patterns, then you can make top and tunic from the dress pattern, duster from the jacket. Or make the jacket with short or 3/4 sleeves.
Not high fashion perhaps, but show your personal style by using your favourite fabrics, adding your favourite trims.
Celebrate that you’re on your way to great things 😀
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Making more use of the skills you already have, with easy changes to make many more styles.
Once you’ve completed these garments, they lead naturally into more cut-on sleeve tops, starting here for patterns, fit, and variations. Change the lengths, add simple trims, pockets or gathered frills, and you can make many more items from these basic patterns while you build your sewing confidence.
There are also some top patterns which are gathered round the neckline, so they avoid the need to finish a curved neckline with bias binding, bias facing, or a true facing. See this post about first garments. Though if you have worked through the Burda book, you should not be intimidated by true facings anyway 😀
Many other elastic-waist skirt patterns use a waist casing which hides the elastic. Cut-on casings are made in the same way as a double-fold hem. Separate casings are a little more difficult. Other styling options in the elastic-waist skirts post.
Also make elastic-waist pants with side seams, so you can add in-seam pockets, see many options (also with waist casings) in the elastic-waist pants post.
And leggings can be a good first make when you want to explore sewing knit fabrics, see leggings post.
Of course Burda themselves would hope you would go on to their Burda Easy Magazine, with simple patterns and more detailed instructions than in the main Burda Style pattern magazine – a couple of the styles in each issue have videos.
On to learning more sewing skills
Though don’t feel you have to acquire more skills !
Some simple jacket ‘hacks’ :
Place the line marked centre front on the jacket front pattern onto the fabric fold, so you cut out the front without the centre front opening. Combine with the given back pattern to make a pullover top.
When you’re familiar with the pattern and feeling adventurous, there are many ways to change the pattern to add a front fastening.
Learn some simple ways of adding separate sleeves, to make a wide range of patterns possible.
The Sew Over It Beginner’s Guide to Dressmaking is much more advanced than the Burda book : skirt with waistband and zip, dress with separate sleeves, and tee. Body bust sizes 31″-57″. Advanced beginner level. Something to move on to if you feel it’s what you want to do.
Being able to make many pocket types is an easy way to make patterns look very different.
Add zippers, darts, and buttonholes to your skill set, and you will be well on your way to being an Intermediate sewist.
Some more advanced video classes
If you like to learn from a class, rather than searching the internet for tutorials, it’s best if you can find a source of further classes which is like your style, so they help you to make clothes that you want to wear.
If you like Sew Over It’s teaching style you can move on to video classes for making classic shirts, pants, blazers as well as dresses and coat.
As those garments are classics there are many more sources for learning how to make them, some listed in this Intermediates post.
Some but not all of SOI’s classes are gender neutral. For others, the making techniques are gender neutral, even if specific patterns are not. See this rather dated list of sources of patterns for men.
There’s a much more expensive series of video classes from Sew Liberated patterns (pictures there of what will be made if you follow all ten classes). The extra cost pays for excellent detailed guidance for slow sewing, and some personal support. There’s a challenging technique in each class, but you can skip it the first times you make the garment. These garments are more arts-crafter in style than the Sew Over It ones. Definitely not gender-neutral patterns, though of course once learned the techniques can be used to make anything. The first garment is pj pants, then add many techniques in eight progressive classes, finishing with a coat.
For more ‘girly’ styles, one possibility is Tilly and the Buttons – she claims to provide patterns with extra easy instructions, many skirts and dresses, and video sew-along workshops.
The important thing is to start sewing 😀 and only move on to learning more skills as you feel ready for them. As the first projects post shows, there are many things you can make, whatever your skills.
Stop and celebrate everything you can make, whatever stage you are at in your learning process. There’s an infinite number of possible sewing skills to learn. You can choose to stop at Advanced Beginner level and happily make clothes, accessories and home dec items in easy fabrics, without zips, buttons, darts, or a close fit. At Intermediate level you will have the skills to make most clothes you might want to wear. Or you can go up to Advanced level and make tailored jackets or coats and glamorous special occasion gowns!
Choose your own special level of enjoyment 😀
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