Tot Tuesday: Learning to Sew…Where To Start?

I often get asked where I get the inspiration for the outfits and crafts I do for/with my kids. The truth is…the internet. Blogs, websites, there is SO much out there! Google anything and add “tutorial” after it and I promise you’ll be overwhelmed with results!

I had a LOT of emails yesterday about my guest post on Money Saving Mom. Some were about blogging, some were just nice compliments (thank you!) and some were about sewing.

For those of you starting out, I want to encourage you NOT to start off with a pattern from Simplicity or McCall’s or any of those tissue paper patterns. Don’t get me wrong…those are great. But they can trip even the most experienced seamstress up.

An early attempt gone bad!

You need to start simple. Simple patterns with clean lines and not a ton of details. That’s why I LOVE making kids clothing. Kids clothing isn’t fitted the same way adult clothing is. So it’s a lot more simple (and cheaper!) to make.

So where do you start?

As I said before, you can just google “pillowcase dress” and add “tutorial” and you will come up with more results than you could ever imagine filtering through. This can be overwhelming, and not everyone is that great at writing up tutorials. You could get yourself into a project that just isn’t set up very well. It’s still worth it…there are some unbelievable tutorial writers out there…just be careful.

Combined several online tutorials to make a Daddy Dress from my husband’s old shirt!

Here are my best suggestions to anyone just starting out:

  • The best luck I’ve had is with youcanmakethis.com. Not only do they have a TON of free content, their patterns are quite reasonably priced as well. The reason I like to go this route is because most of their patterns encompass a broad range of sizes. Most of the patterns I’ve purchased for them go from 6 months to 10 years old! Also, they are very selective about their pattern designers. I’ve never gotten a pattern from them that the step by step directions weren’t totally clear and easy to follow.
  • Another great site to check out is actually a forum. Craftster.org is the place I go when I need to be inspired. From sewing, to scrapbooking, to cooking…they have it ALL. My favorite thing to do there is to look at the Interior Decorating pictures.
This list is by no means all inclusive. I am not a master seamstress, I’m still learning! I make the decision when I am going to learn a new pattern or create something new, that I will fail as much as I need to to succeed. This is 100% true for sewing, and pretty much for anything you might want to learn!
It’s so worth it though. I now create my own patterns and even sell children’s clothing! I promise though, I started off exactly where you are sitting RIGHT NOW.

I even made her dress for her Dedication!
Do you have a question about anything specific? Email me! Use the contact form above or email me at heather @ familyfriendlyfrugality dot comI am linking this post up at :

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works for me wednesday at we are that family




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Tell us what you think:

  1. LaVonne says

    Thank you for this. I am thinking of getting my first sewing machine. I am scared to start to learn to sew this late in life. But I think I can do it. I will check out some of those links.

    Thanks to for disclosing about affiliate links. I like that.

    Blessings!

  2. Mom2fur says

    Everything is so cute, and I have to say I can't see where you went wrong on the red dress. It's darling!
    Anything with straight seams and no buttons or zippers would make a great first project, like the pillowcase dresses. I can remember being taught to make an a-line skirt as our first project in Home Ec sewing (ages ago!). A peasant blouse was second, I believe. Honestly, peasant blouses aren't all that easy since there's some weird pinning going on there, but everything is a learning experience! You're doing a great service here. It's a shame more people don't learn how to sew.

  3. Heather says

    LaVonne…I just found a sewing machine at walmart for another reader for $75!!! Great deal.
    It's actually the law to disclose affiliate links, although you don't have to do it right under the post…I choose to because I'm all about full disclosure! LOL Actually my only affiliation in this post is youcanmakethis, and I'd be promoting them even if I wasn't affiliated with them! they rock!

    Mom2fur…I actually have a pretty easy peasant top pattern, but yes it is more complex than pillowcase dresses!
    It is a shame more people don't know how to sew. I think a lot of people have tried and gotten frustrated. I did repeatedly. It definitely has a STEEP learning curve. But once you learn, it's a valuable skill that you have for life!

  4. It Feels Like Chaos says

    I, too, am teaching myself to sew and I want to tackle buttonholes soon; I hadn't thought of searching YouTube for a video of instructions. Thanks for the suggestions!

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