Sewing 101

If I can sew and quilt, you can too! I've never had a lesson and learned before the luxury of videos and blogs, however, I still consult both as I pick up new skills. I am so far from being anything but an advanced beginner, but I am happy to show you what I know! I am not sponsored by any of the items listed below and you may find things you like better..this is just a glimpse into what I use on a day to day basis.

I began this page in mind as I am planning on teaching my daughters to sew. I began to think of getting them their own supplies and getting some lessons together and thought that you might want to begin, too!

What supplies do you need to get started? 

A sewing machine is a great place to start. I began sewing on a Singer that was in the $100 price point. It lasted for a few years and was fine. You do not need all the bells and whistles. A straight stitch, zig-zag stitch, and maybe a few other are all you need to start off. As I began to sell clothing, a better machine was necessary. When I upgraded, I went with a Bernina and LOVE it. The steel interior parts versus plastic make a huge difference and I do find myself using more of the decorative stitches that came standard. As the girls get their own machine, I am starting them off with this Janome in a lower price bracket. 
My machine...I LOVE it. Bernina 330
Janome Purple Thunder...Caroline picked this out and is asking for it for her May birthday. It has decent reviews and at $70, if she finds that she doesn't love sewing, it wasn't a huge investment.

Rotary cutter, self-healing mat, and ruler set. I am slowly adding to my ruler collection but this set comes with a 3 x 17 ruler that I use with almost every project. Get the biggest mat you can afford! This one is a pretty decent size and has met my needs for both large and small projects.
Universal needles. I am partial to this brand as they are sharp and have never let me down! I use a new, sharp needle for each new quilt or machine cleaning. They are pretty cheap and it makes a difference.
Rotary cutter blades. You will need to replace your blades to make smooth, easy cuts. I always buy in packs of 5! I replace these about every other month or so. Before changing the blade, I clean it and add a drop of oil to squeak a little more life out of it.
When quilting, you will need to hand stitch the binding, so you will need needles. I like cross-stitch needles because of the larger eye. I am sure real quilters out there are shaking their heads, but it works for me! will use these for every project in several ways. There are many types, but I like long sharp ones. Mine have yellow heads like these and I keep them a vintage refrigerator dish.
Fabric! I started off sewing on Walmart fabric. I moved up to Joann fabric (and sometimes still grab some there) but the more I sew on high quality fabric, the more I want to. Better fabric sews easier and the things you make last longer. Pre-wash when making clothing and do not pre-wash when quilting.
Cleaning kit. As you sew, bits of lint build up in your machine. It will also require some oiling from time to time. I err on the side on more than needed and clean my machine around every 3-4 bobbin changes. I love a newly oiled machine!
White thread. I use 100% cotton and love Aurifil. It is strong, washes well, and doesn’t break when I am sewing! Do not quilt with polyester thread. It is cheaper and you get what you pay for.
Seam ripper. I have several and this is my newest one. It is SHARP. It is a little scary and feels a bit surgical. The ones with the red ball at the end are a bit more protective of your fabric but this one is really sharp!
Embroidery scissors are great thread snips and for small work. My mother in law gifted these to me when I first started sewing and I still love them.
You will use an iron both in clothing making and quilting. I use the same one that I use for laundry and it isn’t a great one, but it does the trick. If you can, get a really good one dedicated to your craft room!
Sugar...these are my current favorite. When you are in the sewing room for a marathon day, you need a treat! Gummy bears, chocolate covered cranberries, and Sour Patch Kids also work.

Where do I start?!
Pick something with straight lines and only a few fabrics. A strip table runner, a simple skirt, or a pillow cover are all really easy projects that will get you sewing! If you are starting from zero and haven't even sewn a straight line before, I would recommend printing off a few sheets to practice. These are really ingenious for new sewers!  


  1. We’re busy but not obsessed with making life more meaningful in some way other than sewing. Making the living, caring the family, and stitching the feelings into the fabric are what we enjoy doing. Thus, we make a new story every day and let others know about it via Pumpfuryvente.

  2. With most machines you'll want to apply a drop of sewing machine oil. sewing oil