Starting out sewing

Sewing can seem a daunting hobby to start, so hopefully we can point you towards a few resources to get you going. I have a fairly extensive blog that details many of my experiences and this is definitely worth a read however this page is designed to give you more of a quick reference guide.

The Machine


Old machines are often still the best, think powerful and heavy duty. However bear in mind that it may need a service and the manual may be missing!  It's worth walking through the machine with someone experienced or even just taking it to a local sewing shop for a service and perhaps a little instruction! Most machines can be brought back to good working order with a little  but of TLC. 

If an old machine isn' available, it's time to look at getting a new one. I would aim for a machine around the $400-500 mark. If you go too cheap you may find it isn’t powerful enough for even the basics. Janome are a good, more affordable brand. Reach out to me on Facebook (button below) if you want to chat through the current models and what may suit a starter model.

 Basic equipment

Aside from the sewing machine here are a list of the real basics:

Don't get the cheapest unbranded items as you'll quickly get frustrated, but at the same time you don't need to be spending too much. Nothing on Sewing Gem is bad quality (I cannot bring myself to sell something that disappoints!) and you can save a fair bit on our $99 starter kit available here.

Your first project

It’s important to keep your first project simple enough to ensure success but sufficiently impressive to inspire you to keep going! Check out some of our starter projects here:


  • Reading

There's a wealth of reading, in the form of books, blogs, magazines and more. Here are a few tips on what to start with;

  • I've compiled a series of blog articles talking about my journey from starting out, right through to the adventures of my more advanced projects. Have a read of some of the following:
  • These are some books that have really helped me. To this day I refer back to these books frequently:
    • Fit for Real People - Pati Palmer and Marta Alto (pattern alterations)
    • Reader’s Digest Complete Guide to Sewing
    • Dressmaking - The Complete Step by step guide - Alison Smith