So you want to learn about sewing, huh?

Fasten your seatbelts!

Let's get sewing! ๐Ÿงต

๐Ÿ˜Ž 0. Pick something you want to make!

I'm going to clone this tank top. Because it costs $125.00, which is more than I'd pay for a nice dress. And because I love the challenge.

๐Ÿ“ฐ 1. Buy and prep the pattern pieces

Paper patterns


  • Folds up neatly and fits into the envelope
  • Tissue paper is soft, and you can pin it to fabric easily
  • Cons

  • Only one copy! If you lose it, you have to buy the pattern again
  • PDF Patterns


  • You never have to worry about losing the original pattern so long as you have a soft copy
  • Cons

  • Time consuming to print and assemble
  • If you print at the wrong scale, you could end up wasting a lot of paper and fabric
  • Uses a LOT of paper if you print at home
  • โœ๏ธ Trace the pattern pieces & make alterations

  • Typically you don't want to cut the master templates in case you grow or want to make clothes for your friends
  • This is also a good time to make alterations!
  • ๐Ÿ“„ 2. Optional: Sew a muslin

    A muslin is a "draft" of a pattern made out of cheap fabric. Helps you see if you need to make alterations. If you don't like it, you can give it away!

    These are some early prototypes I made.

    Made with Ikea upholstery fabric. I gave this to a friend.

    Made with quilting fabric (pro tip: quilting fabric is meant for quilting, not garments ๐Ÿคฆโ€โ™€๏ธ )

    ๐Ÿ›๏ธ 3. Buy your fabric

    What kind of fabric do you want to use?

    Knit vs Woven




    Quiz: Knit or woven?

    Natural vs. Synthetic






    Fibers made from plants, animals, or minerals

    Cotton, linen, silk, wool, jute

    ๐Ÿ›๏ธ Absorbent (good for bed sheets, towels)

    ๐Ÿƒ Eco-friendly (smaller environmental impact)

    ๐Ÿ’ช Durable

    Some are not vegan (silk, wool)


    Fibers made through chemical processes

    Polyester, rayon, Spandex, microfibers

    ๐Ÿค‘ Cheaper, easier to mass produceย 

    ๐Ÿฉธ Stain resistantย 

    ๐Ÿšฐ Waterproof and water resistant (which is why your athletic and raingear are made of it)ย 


    Terrible for the environment (extraction of raw materials, wastewater from dyes, microplastics - 35% of them are in the ocean, not biodegradable)

    Less durable


    Quiz: Natural or synthetic?

    JK there is no quiz but I will teach you how to figure out if a fabric is synthetic or natural: DO A BURN TEST! ๐Ÿ”ฅ

    Plant based fibers

  • ๐Ÿ”ฅ Generally ignite quickly and burn easily
  • ๐Ÿ‘ƒ Smell like burnt paper, leaves, wood
  • ๐Ÿ—‘๏ธ Leave behind ashes
  • Synthetics

  • ๐Ÿ”ฅ MELT
  • ๐Ÿ‘ƒ Smell like chemicals/plastic
  • ๐Ÿ—‘๏ธ Leave behind a shiny, plastic-y bead
  • Source

    Where to buy

    Brick & mortar stores in your area

    Online ๐ŸŽฒ

    Creative reuse shops like ScrapSF!

    ๐Ÿ’ง 4. Wash, dry, and press your fabric

    Have you ever bought a shirt in a store, worn it, and washed it, only to find that it didn't fit any more?

    ๐Ÿšจ Fabric shrinks in the wash ๐Ÿšจ

    ๐Ÿคฆ๐Ÿปโ€โ™€๏ธ ๐Ÿ™ˆ ๐Ÿ˜ฑ ๐Ÿ™€ !

  • Wash fabric on the hottest temperature possible to preshrink your fabric so u don't end up with a tiny lil doll shirt afterwards
  • Source: Seamingly Badass

    โœ‚๏ธ 5. Cut the fabric

  • Always cut flat
  • Cutting tools

    First, some funny fabric scissors memes.

    Rotary mat + rotary cutter

    ๐Ÿงต 6. Sew it all together

    (With a sewing machine)

    Basic entry-level sewing machine

    Serger (for knit fabrics)

    Did you know, sewing machines became the new tulipmania in 2020?

    See also:

    ๐Ÿ“ธ 7. Admire your work!

    And add ruffles to it!

    ๐Ÿ’ฐ 8. Think about how much money you saved!*

  • As you'll recall, the inspiration top cost $125. Although I could probably find a second hand one online, or buy something synthetic from a fast fashion outlet
  • COST:
  • 1 yard fabric = $10.85
  • 1 sewing pattern = $12.00
  • 4 hrs x $15.00 (California minimum wage) = $60.00
  • TOTAL: $82.85*
  • *this doesn't include the cost of the sewing machine, cutting materials, thread, sewing machine maintenance, etc.
  • *also doesn't include the time I spent modifying the pattern
  • โ‰๏ธ Why sew?

    ๐Ÿฅบ It gives me a deeper appreciation for how things are made!

  • and their externalities (environmental impact, exploitation, pollution)
  • ๐Ÿ‘ญ There's a wonderful community!

  • You can join a local sewing meetup group
  • You can meet sewing friends at various classes
  • You can also go to sleep-away sewing camp!
  • The instagram community is also thriving and a great way to learn!
  • ๐Ÿ’ Giving handmade gifts is awesome!

    ๐Ÿงžโ€โ™‚๏ธ I can make whatever I want to wear to fancy events!

    *like, stuff that I would never in a million years buy in a store!

    ๐Ÿ“– I'm always learning something new..

    and trying to share it, too!

    There are so many directions to take it in:

  • Fashion design and pattern making!
  • Natural dyes!
  • Halloween costumes!
  • Pop quiz: What were these dyed with?

    ๐ŸŒ It's a very cool lens through which to understand the world around me

    When I have the chance to visit a new city, I love checking out local fabric stores and pawing at all the trims.

    Sewing limericks

    Tire Fire

    Chris put my clothes in the dryer.

    On high heat. My hand sewn attire!

    My work is all shrunk!

    Heโ€™s now in a funk,

    โ€œThe yards of fabric Iโ€™ll have to buy her.โ€

    August 18, 2020

    Based on true events, except for the bit about replenishing the authorโ€™s fabric supply

    Attachment Issues

    Iโ€™ve discovered, of late, that my carpet

    Is stickier than a tarpit

    Snipped threads love to clingโ€”

    And pins, buttons, that kind of thing!

    (Good thing this doesnโ€™t afflict my armpit).

    September 8, 2020