Where Do I Start with Garment Sewing?

There's something amazing about wearing custom-made clothes designed especially for you. If you are ready to learn how to start sewing clothes, whether for yourself or others, this guide is for you. 

Supplies You'll Need

There are a few basic supplies that you should have available when you are learning how to sew clothes; keep reading to learn more.

Sewing Machine

When you first start, consider borrowing a sewing machine from a friend or family member. Once you are ready to purchase your own, remember that you don't need anything extremely fancy - stay within your budget, but look for one that is easy to thread and can sew a basic straight stitch and a zig-zag stitch, and you'll be off to a great start. 

Fabric Scissors

You want to keep your fabric scissors sharp, so keep one pair that is dedicated to fabric only. Keep a second pair of scissors handy for cutting patterns, so the paper doesn't dull your fabric scissors. 


You can use plastic pins, but you can also consider investing in glass head pins. The glass heads allow you to iron more easily without melting plastic pins. 

Measuring Tape

A flexible measuring tape is important for taking measurements to ensure a proper fit. 

Stitch Unpicker

Also called a seam ripper or stitch ripper, these little gems are essential for pulling out mistakes. 

Fabric Chalk

Using fabric chalk to transfer patterns onto your fabric means you won't have any staining. 


You will be ironing your fabric almost every step of the way. You can use an ironing board, or a smaller ironing mat to save space. 


You can find a variety of patterns in craft stores, and an online search will reward you with many more, which is a great way to find indie designers. You can usually download and print their patterns right at home. 


When choosing fabric, you want a fabric that is designed for apparel, and you'll probably prefer a soft fabric, because you're making clothes, of course. Look for fabric that drapes nicely, so it is more likely to sit flatteringly on the body. In general, quilting fabric doesn't do as well for clothing garments, so you may want to avoid it. 

Top 5 Beginner Sewing Tips

  1. Start simple. Do not jump into a complicated pattern. Start with something basic that you can wear around the house, no matter how it turns out. 
  2. Practice makes perfect. Maybe not perfect at first, but use scrap fabric to try out the sewing machine and a few different stitches to get the hang of things. 
  3. Read through your pattern. Do this before you begin cutting your fabric. Then read it again. Make sure you are familiar with all of the steps and techniques. 
  4. Try the garment on as you go. It will be easier to make adjustments, such as letting out a seam, if you try the clothing on as you go, instead of waiting until after you have completed the entire piece. 
  5. Take your time. There's certainly a learning curve, and you'll likely make mistakes when learning how to sew your own clothes, but it happens to the best of us. There's no need to rush, just enjoy the process! 

Learn More About Getting Started with Garment Sewing

Whether you are looking for tips and tricks for learning to sew, or are an experienced artisan, Inspired to Sew is your go-to for trusted sewing and quilting advice and quality supplies. A staple in the Cedar Rapids area, we carry the products that bring your ideas to life, provide sewing machine service and repair, and offer classes and retreats to inspire you. We welcome beginners and experienced sewing enthusiasts alike to contact us today with any questions!


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