Start sewing your own clothes – get ready in 5 steps!

Start sewing your own clothes – get ready in 5 steps!

Find the essentials

Sewing pins: 
Pins come in various materials, lengths, widths and points. But to get started, just buy a box of all-purpose pins, and you’ll be good to go.

Tape measure: 
A flexible measuring tape lets you take your own measurements as well as measure fabric, pattern etc. And remember, friends: All bodies are the right size. If your make doesn’t look and feel great on you, it’s the garment that needs fixing.

All bodies are the right size. If your make doesn’t look and feel great on you, it’s the garment that needs fixing.

You already have scissors at home? Honestly, they might make you give up sewing before you’ve even finished cutting the fabric. Get a pair of special fabric scissors, and make sure you never use them for anything other than fabric.

You won’t regret it. Trust us on this.

Marking tool: 
How do you make sure that pockets, darts and other design elements end up where they’re supposed to? By marking their placement on the fabric!

Some do a tacking stitch, but you might find it easier to use a special marking tool. Go old-school with tailor’s chalk, magic with a disappearing-ink pen or MacGyvery with a sliver of bar soap from the bathroom.

Sewing machine: 
You’ll want a full-size machine for sewing garments, but don’t bother spending a fortune on the latest in sewing technology. Borrow, rent or thrift! All you really need to get started are regular straight and zigzag stitches.

Seam ripper: 
We all make mistakes. No biggie. Just rip it apart (gently, with a proper seam ripper) and do over!

Find your way

Start playing around before taking on an actual garment. Figure out how your machine works and try various seams on fabric scraps. Use different materials, to get a feeling for how they “act” under a presser foot. Learning takes doing.

     Learning takes doing.

Find your project

Your first sewing project should be enjoyable and rewarding. Choose a garment that you’d love to wear and that you’ll be likely to finish without too much time and struggle. The sooner you get to experience the thrill of accomplishment, the better.

Popular starter projects from The Assembly Line: Cuff Top, Box Pleat Dress, Puff Shirt and High Cuff Sweater.

Find your fabric

Sturdy canvas, delicate silk or something in between?

Many makers, even the most experienced ones, choose a simpler, low-cost fabric (such as muslin) for their first project with a new pattern. Then, when you feel more confident, there’s a whole world of wonderful fabrics to explore.

When you shop online, you can usually order swatches to get to know the physical qualities of different fabrics before you decide. 


If you’re really hesitant, find a brick mortar shop where you can experience the fabrics “live”. There is also great satisfaction in reusing fabric, such as curtains that no longer fit your windows, worn bedding or old clothes that just aren't you any longer.

Our selection of fabric stores

Find your community

Maybe you prefer keeping your new-found passion to yourself. Maybe you’d love to share it with others. You’re more than welcome to join our TAL sewing community on Facebook! There you’ll find makers from around the world, eager to share ideas and advice, successes and failures with you.

Hashtags at Instagram are wonderful sources of inspiration. Follow #talpatterns or the hashtag for a specific pattern, you find them on the product pages.

All our hastags

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  • Connie, hope you will love making and wearing your pj’s! THANK YOU for learning us about BIPOC perspective and we changed the wording immediately./Karin, The Assembly Line

  • Thanks for the resources and the free pj pattern! I’m excited to try it out. Also, want to mention that saying “find your tribe” is not inclusive or welcoming language for BIPOC sewists. I’m sure you didn’t mean any offense but wanted to point it out. Thanks!

  • Fabulously written….i’m sure many peeps will start sewing after reading this post! I almost wish i didn’t know how to sew…..almost that is……awesome tips and tricks and just hope many more lovely sewists will join us in our TAL community…..


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