A basic sewing machine
How a sewing machine works
Using a sewing machine – first steps – see Beginners, free starters section in right side menu for links to videos.
Stitching problems, video from Sew Essential, content starts 1.45.
Guide to utility stitches on a domestic sewing machine, from The Sewing Corner
Using an industrial sewing machine, video course from Trish Newberry (not free)
Choosing a basic embroidery machine
Using a serger/ overlocker

Marking tools and methods
Tracing wheel, tracing paper

Needles, Threads, Pins, Bobbins
Needles, threads, pins
Needle and looper threaders
And you need to use the right bobbins for your machine, this is a post about why from Sewing Mastery.

Using patterns :
Sewing pattern – choose size, understand markings.
How to pin down a pattern, from Sew Me Something patterns.
Using pdf download patterns
Personal croquis (Sewingplums) – to find flattering styles.

Pressing tools
Pressing ham
Make your own pressing tools – from fabric
Make your own pressing tools – from wood
DIY tool for pressing seams in velvet – video from Threads magazine.

Undoing mistakes
Seam ripper


Fitting aids

Dress forms – these are only useful for fitting if they’re the same shape as you are.
Here’s an extensive post about padding one to match yourself, from custom dressmaker Brooks Ann Camper.
Or for some entertainment, read The Dummy from Hell (this doesn’t happen to most people who try these !)

For links to some people who teach fitting technique, see post on Fitting.

Body shape
A note against using simple labels for body shapes – many useful tips on how to think about your personal shape.
A note from the same site on dressing to emphasise your ‘best features’ rather than dressing for your body type.

Personal pattern block drafting, see some tools and courses in the post on Fitting.
Personal fitting sloper – pdf from Sewingplums on the many ways of getting one of these (written in 2013, links now rather out of date).
Pattern altering, see Pattern ‘hacking’ in the Technique Index


Wardrobe planning
pdf from Sewingplums on many approaches to this.
The Vivienne Files – many ways of planning a capsule wardrobe.

Expressing your personality in your clothes
I have so much to say on this, and it’s mostly opinion, so that is at Sewingplums :
1. using style categories.
2. on-line style advisors.
3. exploring styles.
4. trying on clothes.
There’s quite a selection of other posts at Sewingplums on identifying your personal style.


Nancy Zieman Sewing with Nancy, PBS shows viewable on-line.
Linda MacPhee of MacPhee Workshop, TV shows on YouTube.
Peggy Sagers of Silhouette Patterns, webcasts and sew-alongs.
Sewing Street, a UK shopping channel on YouTube – expert demos, mainly quilting, soft toys, with occasional bags and dressmaking, and a cheery soul talking about the products used.

links checked March 2021

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