Tiny pouches to keep your phones or gadgets in, pillow cases that reflect what you like laying your head on, stylish scarves that will make each member of your family look like an old, white British businessman on vacation in a winter resort, small totems of your own making to ward off the evil eyes of sneaky neighbors, or enormous spiders that might either entertain your children or give them nightmares… Everybody loves those items.
And you know what? They make very convenient beginning projects for sewing. If there are awkward silences between you and your brand new sewing machine, the result of an impulse purchase, or if you avert your gaze whenever you see the antique that somehow made its home on your dresser after you raided a distant deceased relative’s packed house, you can be at ease now, because I’ll give you a list of very convenient beginner projects. Whether it’s to cover up that antique with a cozy or get ready for winter with a nice scarf, all my recommendations are great starting points for beginners.
Pouches & Bags
There are various types of pouches or bags that you can easily sew in the comfort of your home. I saw a friend of mine sew a phone-charging station. Of course, after the excitement of a new item wore off, she stopped using it because, like most of us, she likes to have immediate access to her phone even when it’s charging, but it’s still a good decorative item and great practice if you’re new to sewing.
Luckily, there are lots of other types of pouches and bags you can easily sew that have a more sustainable use: a jewelry pouch, a phone pouch, a zipper pencil pouch, an ironing board pouch to help you organize other items, a pouch for your make-up kit, a sunglass case, a small waist bag, or a handy tote bag like the one above, for when you go shopping.
Although each serves a different purpose, the ideas behind their production are quite identical: you need to purchase coordinating thread, tiny decorations, zippers if they are featured in your design of choice, and most importantly, fabric in at least two designs proportioned to the project in your mind. The number of fabric designs and fabric sizes might vary in relation to the pouch or bag design on your mind. Ideally, one of the fabric designs is for the outside panel and the other one is for the inside.
After you are done with the measurements, you can just delve into stitching, and you’ll probably have a cool new pouch or bag of your own design in half an hour or so.
Pillowcases, Cushions & Blankets
I feel like pillowcases are one of those trinkets that reflect who you are (or who your mother thinks you are). They are also one of the easiest and most fun projects to go for if you just started trying your hand in the world of sewing.
Just lay the fabric that reflects you the best on your pillow, get your measurements right, and start stitching the parts together. Don’t forget to leave a side open so you can fit your pillow inside. Oh, no! It doesn’t fit! Well, then you’ll have another tote bag only by stitching a couple of handles.
You can also easily sew blankets as a beginner. Yes, a blanket might sound too huge to be a small project, but believe me, the work that goes into it is as small as the time your husband, brother or dad has for housework.
Blame it on Instagram and the influencers if you like, but recently, whenever I see a piece of table clothing, I immediately think that it would make a very good picnic blanket and then imagine how I would arrange all the fruits and drinks on it so I can make a post out of it. However, just one piece of table clothing is too small for the picnic blanket in my mind. Then, the practical thing to do is stitching two table clothes together instead of scrolling online shopping websites for the ideal blanket for your Insta-picnics. You may even just think of it as a practice of trying to stitch on a straight line, and you’ll see that it’s very good practice capable of producing useful results.
Moreover, you might have lots of pieces of used fabric that you don’t know what to do with – like old Christmas sweaters, thin rugs, torn curtains, or partially-burned actual ex-blankets. There should be, I only assume, nothing preventing you from stitching them together and creating your own blanket fashion. As I said just a paragraph ago, it’s good practice, and the end-product might as well be satisfying and even useful.
I implied it before and I am going to say it again: one thing I really love about sewing is that it lets you personalize your stuff by allowing you space outside the uniform commerciality and consumerism. Sewn home decorations are as perfect an example of that as pillowcases.
What are some decorations that can be easily sewn, you ask? Well, there’s quite a number of them, from koozies for your water bottles and flower pots to collage art created with antiquated pieces of clothing to furnish the walls of your house – and to table runners and napkins that you can show off to your potentially distinguished guests. You can even compose a Halloween corner with spooky pumpkins given you have the appropriate fabric and the right sense of humor.
My favorite? It’s got to be fabric animal figures stuffed with cotton. Yes, some of them might even be spiders! But no, not to give your children nightmares. If your children hate spiders, just purchase red fabric with black dots on it so you can sew ladybugs, which might also serve as totems of luck for your household.
Of course, you have the absolute freedom of trying your hand on whatever animal figure you want to decorate your home with. No matter which one you choose and no matter the shape of the outcome, it’ll at least be a fun exercise.
The aesthetics of an old white British businessman on vacation in a Swiss winter resort might not be ideal for you, I get it, but that’s the beauty of sewing freely at your home. By purchasing some fabric that is particularly appealing to your sense of beauty, you can craft scarves in any style you want. They are one of the easiest wearable items you can sew, and any beginner can pull it off by watching just one tutorial.
Aprons that will make your kitchen colorful or headbands that will make you look hip are other wearables you might attempt sewing. After trying these and seeing how easy it is, you might even move on to sewing your shorts for the summer and ponchos for the winter.
You might call me a cliché, but believe me, once you gain enough self-confidence through exercise and eventual success, there is something you can sew for every season, and nothing can stop you from becoming the trendsetter of your street or social circle. With only the help of a sewing machine, quality fabric, sense of aesthetics, and a couple meters of coordinating thread, you’ll be able to reign in the local fashion sphere.
Dresses for Kids
Dresses might be a bit advanced for beginners and might sound too big for a post about small projects, but if you took on sewing, the dream probably is sewing up fancy dresses for yourself one day and that is surely a dream worth your while. However, it’s preferable to start exercising and experimenting with small dresses for babies, kids, and pets. If you have any kids around you who haven’t yet developed a sense of fashion, it’s all the better, because no matter how awful your first attempt goes, the dress will be useful.
Joking aside, though, the most important aspect of sewing a dress is actually planning the design and cutting the fabric. The width of the clavicle, the lengths from clavicle to the bottom of the hem and to the underarms, and hip measurements should be carefully noted and marked on the fabric with pencil, soa bars, pins, or needles, so you know where and how to stitch. Moreover, necklines and armholes should also be measured to perfection. For all that, you might need both a ruler and rotary cutter.
Of course, there is always the possibility that your children won’t like what you’ve just sewn for them. In that case, kindly remind them who’s been feeding them since they were born. You may also promise them that you’ll get better with practice and start sewing fabulous dresses for them very, very soon, but that would be a lazy response, wouldn’t it?
I can wholeheartedly assure you that you need not worry any longer about starting a sewing project of your own with all the options I presented to you here. Once you successfully complete even the smallest of these projects, you’ll see how fun and rewarding sewing can be – and it is surely better than being forced into Jeanne Dielmanning yourself into oblivion.
Moreover, once you get the hang of it, you may even treat your kids to a sewing party – preferably without giving a second thought to their gender despite the name of my website. It’ll be a good family pastime that might result in your kids gaining a skill or at least developing an interest for this potentially therapeutic activity as an extra reward.