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Dressmaking for beginners – sources of help and inspiration

As well as Pinterest and Instagram, there are so many sewing blogs and websites now that it can be a little overwhelming when you are just starting out. Here are a few pointers.

Sewing blogs and podcasts for beginners

OK, I think that I have to admit it here but reading sewing blogs just isn’t my thing… knitting yes (like Yarn Harlot), and even crochet (Attic 24 is my favourite) but not sewing… I can only apologise. What I am working up to saying is that I really can’t recommend any blogs to you. However, Madalynne’s list of best sewing blogs is probably the best place to start to see what’s out there. If you enjoy podcasts, Sewaholic’s 6 Podcasts for Makers has some good suggestions for sewing-related listening.

Dressmaking and sewing tutorials

There are lots of step-by-step tutorials available for different sewing techniques. They are spread over many different blogs and websites so if you’re looking for a specific technique, it’s probably easiest to Google it and see what comes up. Otherwise, the best collections of tutorials for beginners are:

  • Colette Tutorials – covers all kinds of techniques and working with different fabrics as well as tutorials on their sewing patterns

Forums for getting help and chatting to other people

There are several good sources for help if you get stuck with things. Crafty people are usually pretty friendly types and are happy to help out. The best places to start are:

  • The Sewing Forum – UK-based forum with loads of useful stuff on it. You can ask for urgent sewing advice if you are in the middle of something and get stuck.
  • The Fold Line – UK-based online sewing community with forums for chat, news, sewing pattern database, pattern reviews and other sewing resources.
  • Textillia - online sewing community and database which aims to become the Ravelry for sewing. You can document your projects and log your fabric and pattern stashes, search databases of fabrics, patterns and books, and connect with people in the forums.

Sew-alongs, sewing challenges and hashtags

If you get really into dressmaking, you may want to take part in a sew-along. So what is a sew-along? You get together online with a group of people and all tackle sewing the same project by breaking it down into stages, following a schedule, chatting about progress and helping each other out.

Sew-alongs are generally organised by bloggers, magazines and independent pattern designers, and tend to be scheduled over a few days or weeks depending on how big the project is. I’ve never quite managed to arrange my life in such a way as to actually include a sew-along but I’m sure that it can be done. The Fold Line has a useful guide to sew-alongs from independent designers.

The best-known sewing challenge is probably Me-Made-May which runs annually to encourage people to actually wear the garments they sew, but there are quite a few others. You can also share your sewing projects on Instagram using hashtags such as #sewcialists and #makeitsewcial. Again, The Fold Line has a good guide to sewing challenges and hashtags for more information.

The Great British Sewing Bee

I nearly forget to mention this! Though you may perhaps have heard of it already… The Sewing Directory has episode guides for all series of Sewing Bee.

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.