Beautiful Beginner Sewing Machine Projects

By Julia Garza

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spools of thread

If you are just learning how to sew, you might feel daunted by all the things you don't know how to do, or aren't quite comfortable with your machine. But don't worry! There are plenty of beginner sewing machine projects you can tackle to practice your sewing skills and become confident in using your machine.

A few general tips for beginner sewing machine projects:

1. Stick with cotton: Cotton is possibly the easiest fabric in the world to work with. It doesn't stretch, unravel or slip the way some other fabrics do. Plus, it's available in a wide variety of prints and patterns, is easy to find, and pretty darn affordable, too. You can't go wrong with cotton!

2. Patterns: If you are determined to make something from a pattern, many pattern manufacturer's have an "easy" pattern line. These patterns are less complicated and can be completed in a shorter amount of time. Generally, you'll want to look for something that has a small number of pieces (the more pattern pieces, the more complicated a project will be), and few to no details (like darts, pleating, buttonholes, etc.).

3. Take your time: Sewing projects done in a rush rarely turn out well, no matter how many years you have behind the machine. Read the instructions more than once if you need to (I've been sewing for almost 15 years and still get confused occasionally!). And don't discount asking for help if there's a friend or relative you can call up; they might be able to explain things in a way that makes more sense or help you troubleshoot a problem with your machine.

Here are a few ideas for beginner sewing machine projects:

Pajama pants: Pajama pants are a great beginner project. There aren't many pieces involved, and the seams are mostly straight. Plus, the project will give you an understanding of how pants are constructed, and practice hemming and creating a casing for elastic or a drawstring. Plus, you can whip them up for every member of the family (matching pj's for Christmas morning, maybe?) and feel like you've really mastered the pattern.

A-line skirt: An a-line skirt is another great beginner project. It will also have few pattern pieces and mostly straight seams. Plus, it's something you can wear out of the house and when people compliment you on your amazing skirt you say, "I made it!"

Purse or tote bag: Purses or tote bags are a great project to try if you've moved a little bit beyond pajama pants. They are slightly more complicated because of the lining and straps, but they are still relatively small projects and easy to work with. If you're looking for a tutorial, check out this one. Or sign up for Craftsy's FREE mini-class Bag-Making Basics: Reversible Tote & Zipper Pouch.

Pillowcase: In the mood for a little deconstruction? Take a pillowcase apart and use it as a pattern for making a new one. (You can also do this without taking the original apart; just don't forget to add seam allowances).

Looking to get on friendlier terms with your sewing machine? Check out Craftsy's Sewing Machine 911 class to get to know your machine and learn how to keep it in great shape. And if you're looking for more beginner sewing machine projects, check out any of the Craftsy classes that are labeled "great for beginners" (such as Bag Making Basics: Drawstring Bag & Bucket Bag).

Do you remember your first sewing machine project?

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