good sewing projects for beginners - apron and simple a-line skirt

Dressmaking for beginners – good projects to start with

Here are some ideas for good beginner’s projects if you are new to dressmaking. The ideal project is something that you will use when it’s finished but that uses fairly simple construction techniques and a fabric that is easy to work with.

Something you want to make!

It’s obvious really but… first of all, make something that you will actually use if it turns out wearable. There’s no point in making a garment that you would never, ever wear even if it’s really easy to sew – it’s really hard to motivate yourself to finish something that you don’t like very much.

Manageable projects

Secondly, try to start with something manageable so that you can practise and build up your confidence. If really you want to make a tailored wool coat for example, it’s probably best to work up to it and tackle something straight-forward first.

By manageable I mean:

  • A fairly simple sewing pattern – go for a pattern that says it’s easy or for beginners.
  • Straight-forward techniques. Avoid anything like tailoring! Drawstrings, ties and press-studs are easier alternatives to zips and buttons.
  • Easy-to-sew fabric – a light- or medium-weight woven cotton is by far the best choice. Avoid slippery or stretchy fabrics for the moment. Choose a plain fabric or one with a small print for now – avoid very big patterns, stripes and checks as they all need matching up at the seams and careful placing of the pieces when you cut out.
  • A garment that is not precisely fitted – avoid jackets, fitted blouses or tailored trousers at this stage.
  • Patterns where the fabric pieces are cut parallel to the grain line. Avoid anything that’s cut on the bias (diagonally) as it’s more stretchy and slippery.

Some ideas

Good dressmaking projects for absolute beginners include:

  • Wrap skirt
  • Apron
  • Draw-string trousers or yoga pants
  • Tote bag

Some other easy but slightly more advanced projects:

  • A-line or pencil skirt
  • Pyjamas
  • Camisole
  • Simple top

Most sewing books for beginners contain a good selection of suitable projects together with paper patterns.

Read more

  • Dressmaking for beginners
    Equipment and books, courses and tutorials, where to get help and inspiration, choosing patterns and buying fabric.

If you have any recommendations or things you’d like me to cover in this guide to dressmaking for beginners, please leave a comment.