Sewing Tips & Resources for Beginners from Your Favorite Bloggers

Underground Crafter's Sewing Tips & Resources for Beginners from Your Favorite BloggersDid you get a sewing machine this Christmas? Is learning to sew on your list of New Year’s Resolutions? Or, do you have the basics down but want to start making some of the beautiful sewing projects you are seeing online? I talked to six of my blogger buddies to get their tips and favorite resources for going from newbie to sewist, and I’m sharing my own thoughts on this, along with free sewing patterns and tutorials for beginners, so read on for details!

This post contains affiliate links. I may receive compensation (at no added cost to you) if you make a purchase using these links. Materials for this post were generously provided by Baby Lock and Fiskars.

If you’ve been reading for my blog for a while, you know I used to sew A LOT. I learned to sew a little as a kid but it wasn’t until I had my own machine that I really got into a sewing groove. From about 2005 to 2008, I was cranking out quilts like there was no tomorrow! When I first started sewing a lot, I tried out quite a few machines from different brands, but none felt quite right until I discovered the Baby Lock Quilter’s Choice. When I moved in with MC, there wasn’t a good spot for my sewing machine and then… well, let’s just say, I’ve been getting a lot more crocheting done!

Earlier this year, I reached out to the nice folks at Baby Lock. Since I do a lot of my photography and crafting on-the-go these days, I asked to try one of their newer, portable machines. They sent me a Jubilant.

Underground Crafter's Sewing Tips & Resources for Beginners from Your Favorite Bloggers | Baby Lock Jubilant with Quilting 6 Foot Kit and Madeira Cotona Box of threadI have been using it for a few months, and I love it! It has most of the features of my Quilter’s Choice…

Underground Crafter's Sewing Tips & Resources for Beginners from Your Favorite Bloggers | Baby Lock Jubilant with Quilting Table attached…but it’s much lighter and easier to carry around. Plus, it has a cute travel bag, so there’s that!

Underground Crafter's Sewing Tips & Resources for Beginners from Your Favorite Bloggers | Baby Lock Jubilant sewing machine in Genuine Collection bagSince I’ve gotten this machine, I’ve been sewing much more. Starting in 2019, I’ll be collaborating with Baby Lock to bring you more sewing projects on the blog, including a mega, multi-blogger sew along with lots of prizes! Until then, enjoy these tips.

Sewing Tips & Resources for Beginners from Your Favorite Bloggers

Underground Crafter's Sewing Tips & Resources for Beginners from Your Favorite BloggersUnderground Crafter’s Tips

Free crochet pattern: Auntie Em Twister Hat in Sprightly Acrylic Super Bulky yarn in 6 sizes by Underground CrafterI’m Marie from Underground Crafter! You can read more about me here. I like to sew gifts and quilted projects. My current machine is a Baby Lock Jubilant.

  • Favorite sewing reference book: I get so much inspiration and am always learning when I leaf through the Better Homes and Gardens: Complete Guide to Quilting.
  • Favorite sewing technique or project books: Quilt in a Day: Log Cabin by Eleanor Burns is what jump started my sewing in the mid-2000s, and I’ve made several projects from her Still Stripping After 25 Years. Both are great books if you’re interested in strip quilting. Other books I like to flip through for inspiration are The Quilt Block Cookbook by Amy Gibson, Stash Buster Quilts by Lynne Edwards, and Patchwork Quilted Bags by Reiko Washizawa.
  • Sewing book on your wishlist: Just one? (Ok, my birthday is on the way so there are quite a few on my wishlist at the moment.) Though I love my 1972 copy of The Complete Family Sewing Book, I’m looking for an updated general sewing reference guide and have heard good things about The Sewing Book. I’m also thinking about trying garment sewing in 2019 and Gertie’s Ultimate Dress Book was recommended as a possible start.
  • Best online sewing class you’ve taken: Pictures to Pixel Quilts on Craftsy
  • Most important tools for beginner sewists:
    • Your sewing machine manual, so you can get to know the ins and outs of your machine. Even if you have a used machine, search for it online as you can often download the PDF manual, even for older models.
    • A seam ripper, because, yes, you will be ripping seams, trust me!
    • A good pin cushion or pin magnet. Otherwise, you and your loved ones just may end up with pins in your feet.
    • A great pair of fabric scissors. My favorites are Fiskars – I use my Softgrip Scissors at home and my RazorEdge Softgrip Fabric Shears when I’m traveling.
    • A spare piece of “junk” fabric. I use the spare piece of fabric to test out the machine’s thread tension, new threads, etc. before putting my “real” fabric under the needle. A small piece of fabric can save you from a lot of tragic sewing moments!
  • One of my beginner-friendly sewing projects is the DIY Denim Log Cabin Pocket Pillow Tutorial.

DIY Denim Log Cabin Pocket Pillows tutorial by Underground Crafter | Grab some jeans headed for the scrap pile and make yourself a plush pocket pillow with a Fairfield Decorator’s Choice Luxury Pillow Form. This tutorial includes instructions for two variations of the classic log cabin quilt block: the Cabin in the Corner and the Courthouse Steps blocks.Tips from Carolina Moore from Always Expect Moore

Underground Crafter's Sewing Tips & Resources for Beginners from Your Favorite Bloggers | Carolina Moore from Always Expect MooreFollow Carolina on Instagram as @craftmoore.

Carolina Moore from Always Expect Moore is a crafter and award-winning quilter who likes to take the “mystery” out of creating so that anyone can feel successful! She particularly loves teaching people the basics of quilting, and often includes videos to show people the entire process. I have the pleasure of knowing Carolina in “real life,” and she is extremely talented!

  • Favorite sewing reference book: Diane Gilleland’s book All Points Patchwork – it is on English Paper Piecing basics.
  • Favorite sewing technique or project book: Make 1 Hour Gifts: 16 Cheerful Projects to Sew
  • Sewing book on your wishlist: My book! It will be out in the next year!! – More info to come! (Note from Underground Crafter: I’ll come back to update this post when Carolina’s book is available. Until then, you can check out Hot Glue Hacks and Crafts, a book Carolina co-wrote with Angie from The Country Chic Cottage. I reviewed the book here.)
  • Best online sewing class you’ve taken: The Perfect Finish: How to Bind a Quilt on Craftsy
  • Most important tools for beginner sewists: Good quality scissors and a comfortable seam ripper.
  • Share one of your beginner-friendly sewing projects: I have a whole video series on making quilt blocks with the Cricut Maker here.

Underground Crafter's Sewing Tips & Resources for Beginners from Your Favorite Bloggers | Always Expect Moore's Cricut Maker Block of the WeekTips from Candice Ayala from CandiceAyala.com

Underground Crafter's Sewing Tips & Resources for Beginners from Your Favorite Bloggers | Candice AyalaFollow Candice on Instagram as @candiceayala.

Candice Ayala is crazy about upcycling and refashion. A good portion of her content is pattern reviews and cosplay sews, but there is also quite a bit of DIYs and refashion posts. Candice and I met online in the Baby Lock Influencers group.

  • Favorite sewing technique: Installing invisible zippers and fussy cutting. (Are those even techniques though? lol)
  • Most important tools for beginner sewists: Most importantly, you must have a good sense of humor and/or lots of patience. If you have a combination of both, you’ll do great! lol A sharp seam ripper (it might not seem like it, but the seam ripper is your friend), cutting scissors exclusively for cutting fabric, and a good iron! Ironing your seams as you sew is one of the most skipped over steps, but you’ll learn that it’s absolutely necessary to produced a nice crisp garment with clean finishes. Once you’ve created something that looks nice, with clean lines and finishes, you’ll gain more confidence to keep going.
  • Share one of your beginner-friendly sewing projects: Transform Your Old Ironing Board Into a Brand New One – DIY Tutorial. If you’re more daring, try How To Install an Invisible Zipper Into a Lined Garment.

Underground Crafter's Sewing Tips & Resources for Beginners from Your Favorite Bloggers | Transform Your Old Ironing Board Into a Brand New One DIY Tutorial by Candice AyalaTips from Sheri Pavlovic from Confessions of a Refashionista

Underground Crafter's Sewing Tips & Resources for Beginners from Your Favorite Bloggers | Sheri Pavlovic from Confessions of a RefashionistaFollow Sheri on Facebook as Confessions of a Refashionista.

Sheri Pavlovic is the DIY diva and author behind the book series, channel, and blog, Confessions of a Refashionista, the eco-friendly crafty corner of the internet packed with step-by-step upcycling tutorials for everything from groovy clothing amd accessories to funky home decor + a healthy dose of body-positive, sustainable style inspiration! I don’t know Sheri in real life, but we have been online friends since she wrote this guest post: Crochet Styling, the Refashionista Way. Sheri is also on AllFreeSewing’s list of Favorite Dressmaking Blogs.

Underground Crafter's #Sewing Tips & Resources for Beginners from Your Favorite Bloggers | How To Add Sleeves to Just About Anything by Confessions of a Refashionista

Tips from Mary Beth Temple from Hooked for Life

Underground Crafter's Sewing Tips & Resources for Beginners from Your Favorite Bloggers | Mary Beth Temple from Hooked for Life PublishingFollow Mary Beth on Instagram as @hooked4lifellc.

Mary Beth Temple’s sewing super power is alterations and clothing, but she shares some small sewing projects as well on Hooked for Life. I have had the pleasure of knowing Mary Beth, who is a multi-talented crochet, knitting, sewing, and all-other-crafts-I-know-of wonder woman, since 2013. You can read my interview with her — when we first met in real life — in the archives here. She is a talented designer, author, and video maven, and a great friend, too!

  • Favorite sewing technique or project book: Fabulous Fat Quarter Aprons of course 🙂
  • Most important tools for beginner sewists: A good iron. Ironing as you go is one of the steps that people think they can skip, but pressing out fabrics and pattern pieces can make a huge difference in getting a finished project you can be proud of.
  • Share one of your beginner-friendly sewing projects: 10 Minute Messenger Bag with video tutorial via AllFreeSewing.

Underground Crafter's Sewing Tips & Resources for Beginners from Your Favorite Bloggers | 10 Minute Messenger Bag by Mary Beth Temple for AllFreeSewingTips from Laura Casey from Sew Different

Underground Crafter's Sewing Tips & Resources for Beginners from Your Favorite Bloggers | Laura Casey from Sew DifferentFollow Laura on Instagram as @laura_sewdifferent.

Laura Casey from Sew Different designs simple, contemporary sewing patterns for women with an emphasis on straightforward language and flattering shapes. None of her patterns include zips – they are all easy-to-wear, pull on styles. Laura is on both AllFreeSewing’s Top 25 Sewing Blogs and its Favorite Dressmaking Blogs lists.

  • Most important tools for beginner sewists: Top stitching is my favourite technique –  a decorative as well as useful addition to a garment that highlights an interesting style line. For best results and a perfect parallel finish, use a twin needle.
  • Share one of your beginner-friendly sewing projects: St Tropez Scoop Neck

Underground Crafter's Sewing Tips & Resources for Beginners from Your Favorite Bloggers | St Tropez Scoop Neck by Sew DifferentTips from Stephanie from Swoodson Says

Underground Crafter's Sewing Tips & Resources for Beginners from Your Favorite Bloggers | Stephanie from Swoodson SaysFollow Stephanie on Instagram as @swoodsonsays.

Stephanie from Swoodson Says is an unapologetic dabbler! Sewing is her first love; her favorite thing to sew is a stuffed animal but she also makes quilts, clothes, home decor, bags, etc. She also blogs about hand embroidery and crafts, and enjoys sharing lots of “round-ups” with a curated list of patterns or tutorials around a certain theme. I have been a fan of Stephanie’s work for years, and I often include her patterns and tutorials in my own roundups on Underground Crafter!

Underground Crafter's Sewing Tips & Resources for Beginners from Your Favorite Bloggers | 20+ Easy Sewing Projects for Beginners via Swoodson SaysClosing Notes from Underground Crafter

The common threads (did you like that pun?!) from all the bloggers I talked with are the importance of ironing (my least favorite part of sewing, but a necessary evil), having patience and sense of humor, and getting your hands on a great pair of fabric scissors and a seam ripper. I hope these tips, resources, patterns, and projects will get you inspired to sew more and to enjoy your sewing! If you are still looking for more sewing inspiration and support, I recommend AllFreeSewing, which has loads of great resources for sewists of all levels, including 75+ Sewing Questions Answered: Ultimate FAQs Guide.

Underground Crafter's Sewing Tips & Resources for Beginners from Your Favorite Bloggers | 75+ Sewing Questions Answered via AllFreeSewingLooking for more sewing tips and inspiration? Follow my Sewing Tips and Tutorials board on Pinterest!

38+ Handmade Gift Tags and Gift Wrap Tutorials | Handmade Holiday Gift Ideas Week 12

38+ Handmade Gift Tags and Gift Wrap Tutorials via Underground CrafterThis is the twelfth in a series of 12 weeks of roundups for the handmade holidays! I hope you’ve found some great project inspiration for the holidays in the past few weeks. In this last roundup, I’m sharing 38+ free tutorials and patterns for handmade gift tags and gift wraps. Whether you’re gifting handmade or store-bought gifts, trying to be eco-friendly or thrifty, or just looking for creative gift wrap, you’re sure to find some great ideas in this roundup.

This post contains affiliate links. I may receive compensation (at no added cost to you) if you make a purchase using these links. Photos are copyright the respective designer/publisher and are used with permission.

38+ Handmade Gift Tags and Wrap Tutorials

Roundup by Underground Crafter

38+ Handmade Gift Tags and Gift Wrap Tutorials via Underground CrafterYou’ve made (or bought) your gift, but before it gets to the recipient, you’ll need to wrap it (and perhaps to tag it). I’ve found 38+ great ideas — all free — including printables, yarn crafts, fabric crafts, and more!

13 Printables

These printables include gift tags with Christmas, winter holiday, and general themes; guessing game tags; care labels for your gifts made with yarn; and more!

38+ Handmade Gift Tags and Gift Wrap Tutorials via Underground Crafter - collage of 13 free printablesTop row, from left to right:

Second row, from left to right:

Third row, from left to right:

Bottom row, from left to right:

7 Yarn Crafts

These projects include free crochet and knitting patterns, and yarn embellishments for gifts. Shown clockwise from top left corner.

38+ Handmade Gift Tags and Gift Wrap Tutorials via Underground Crafter - collage of 7 free crochet and knitting patterns and yarn tutorials

5 Fabric Crafts

These tags, bags, and wraps include no-sew and sewing projects. Shown clockwise from top left corner.

38+ Handmade Gift Tags and Gift Wrap Tutorials via Underground Crafter - collage of 5 sewing and no-sew fabric crafts

13 Paper Crafts and More

These projects include Cricut crafts, log slice crafts, paper crafts, upcycled projects, and more!

38+ Handmade Gift Tags and Gift Wrap Tutorials via Underground Crafter - collage of 13 free craft tutorialsLeft column, from top to bottom:

Second column, from top to bottom:

Third column, from top to bottom:

Right column, from top to bottom:

22 Free Crochet and Knitting Patterns for Reindeer and Snowmen | Handmade Holiday Gift Ideas Week 11

22 Free Crochet and Knitting Patterns for Reindeer and Snowmen via Underground CrafterThis is the eleventh in a series of 12 weeks of roundups for the handmade holidays! I’m sharing 22 free crochet and knitting patterns for reindeer and snowmen. These patterns include garments, baskets and bags, ornaments, hats, blankets, pillows, stockings, dishcloths and hot pads, and more!

This post contains affiliate links. I may receive compensation (at no added cost to you) if you make a purchase using these links. Photos are copyright the respective designer/publisher and are used with permission.

22 Free Crochet and Knitting Patterns for Reindeer and Snowmen

Roundup by Underground Crafter

Reindeer and snowmen are some of my favorite winter characters and they are almost guaranteed to bring smiles to the faces of children and adults. You’re sure to find a great gift or project for you in this roundup. There are nine free knitting patterns and thirteen free crochet patterns included.

22 Free Crochet and Knitting Patterns for Reindeer and Snowmen via Underground Crafter

8 Reindeer Patterns

These patterns include two free knitting patterns and six free crochet patterns for reindeers including a sweater, pillows, ornaments, bags and baskets, and a hat. Shown clockwise from top left.

22 Free Crochet and Knitting Patterns for Reindeer and Snowmen via Underground Crafter - reindeer collage

14 Snowmen Patterns

These snowmen include seven free knitting patterns and seven free crochet patterns, with a scarf, wine cozy, amigurumi and ornaments, gift card holders, a hat, stockings, dishcloths, blankets, and more.

22 Free Crochet and Knitting Patterns for Reindeer and Snowmen via Underground Crafter - Snowman collage Left column, from top to bottom:

Second column, from top to bottom:

Third column, from top to bottom:

Not pictured:

  • Melted Snowman by Highland Hickory Designs – free crochet pattern for a lovey or table decoration
  • Snowman Afghan by Yarnspirations for AllFreeKnitting – free knitting pattern

Need more inspiration for upcycled handmade projects? Follow my Winter Holiday Crafts and Handmade Gift Ideas Board on Pinterest!

 

Crafty Love Link Party 40 (December, 2018)

Crafty Love Link Party 40/December 2018It’s our last Crafty Love Link Party of 2018. I’m deep into my holiday crafting while simultaneously dreaming of some amazing projects for 2019. We can’t wait to see what you share with us this month!

Welcome to the Crafty Love Link Party!

Welcome to our 40th Crafty Love Link Party! Every month, the Crafty Love Link Party will open up on the first Thursday at 1:00 a.m. Eastern and close on the last Thursday at 11:55 p.m. Eastern. Share your latest crafty projects, patterns, tutorials, tips, and WIPs, and be sure to stop by and leave comments on other projects, too!

These are the four most clicked posts from last month’s party.

Crafty Love Link Party 40/December 2018 | Top 4 featured posts

  • Classic Raglan Top by Joy of Motion Crochet: Janne’s free crochet pattern is available in 9 sizes.
  • Rustic River Beanie by Rich Textures Crochet: Sarah’s free crochet pattern includes a video tutorial.
  • Crochet A Llama by Grace and Yarn: Stephanie’s crochet along is finished, but you can still get the free amigurumi llama pattern.
  • Turkey by Posh Pooch Designs: Sara’s free crochet pattern includes a video tutorial.

If you were featured, grab a button to share on your site!

I've been featured on Crafty Love Link Party with Jessie At Home and Underground Crafter!Check out all of the projects that have been featured here, plus some of the party favorites on our Crafty Love Link Party Pinterest Board!

  • By participating in this link party, you are voluntarily submitting information to InLinkz. Read the Underground Crafter Privacy Policy for more details about how that information is used.
  • Link up your latest crafty posts – including works in progress (WIPs), free patterns, tips and tutorials – and stop by to visit the other pages linked up.
  • Don’t link to shops or giveaways. Feel free to link to a blog post about it if you have a pattern or project for sale.
  • Link to your individual blog post, Instagram picture, or Ravelry project page, not to your main blog or profile.
  • Visit your favorites and leave comments. Next month, we’ll feature the posts that had the most clicks!
  • Have fun and spread the word to your crafty friends!
  • Adding your link to the Crafty Love Link Party grants the hosts permission to share your posts and pictures via social media, on our blogs, and in future link party posts and collages.
  • Links are displayed in random order.
  • Sign up here for a reminder email when the Crafty Love Link Party goes live each month.

[clickToTweet tweet=”Share your latest projects, tips, WIPs, tutorials, and patterns on the Crafty Love #LinkParty with @Jessie_AtHome and Underground Crafter #crafts #crochet #knitting #sewing #quilting #cricut” quote=”Share your latest projects, tips, WIPs, tutorials, and patterns on the Crafty Love #LinkParty with @Jessie_AtHome and Underground Crafter”]


Don’t forget to visit the other crafters who have linked up! We’re looking forward to seeing your creations!

Sign up here for a reminder email when the Crafty Love Link Party goes live each month!

Marie from Underground Crafter Jessie-At-Home

Marie from Underground Crafter
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Jessie from Jessie At Home
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30 Delicious Holiday Sweets to Make Great Gifts | Handmade Holiday Gift Ideas Week 10

30 Delicious Holiday Sweets to Make Great Gifts via Underground CrafterThis is the tenth in a series of 12 weeks of roundups for the handmade holidays! I’m sharing 30 delicious recipes for holiday sweets, including cookies and bars, brownies, scones, no-bake treats, and jar mixes to gift. You’re sure to find something to gift, to have ready for snacking, or to serve as dessert for your holiday meal.

This post contains affiliate links. I may receive compensation (at no added cost to you) if you make a purchase using these links. Photos are copyright the respective blogger/publisher and are used with permission.


30 Delicious Holiday Sweets to Make Great Gifts

Roundup by Underground Crafter

30 Delicious Holiday Sweets to Make Great Gifts via Underground CrafterI don’t know about you, but there’s something about cookies and truffles and other yummy sweets that makes the holidays feel special for me. Whether you love baking from scratch or prefer to add ingredients to a boxed mix, you’ll find some tasty treats in this roundup. I’ve included some vegan and gluten-free options, as well as a doggy safe recipe, to satisfy many dietary preferences.

4 Recipes for Scones and Cakes Recipes

30 Delicious Holiday Sweets to Make Great Gifts via Underground Crafter - scones and cakes collageIf you’re baking for a crowd or just want to take your baking up a notch, try a cake or a scone! Shown clockwise from top left.

13 Recipes for Cookies, Bars, and Brownies

30 Delicious Holiday Sweets to Make Great Gifts via Underground Crafter - cookies, bars, and brownies collageCookies, bars, and brownies can be divided up into individual gifts or left out for munching during the holiday.

Clockwise from top left around border:

6 No-Bake Desserts

30 Delicious Holiday Sweets to Make Great Gifts via Underground Crafter - no-bake treats collageThese no-bake desserts make portable and giftable treats. Shown clockwise from top left.

7 Sweet Jar Mixes

30 Delicious Holiday Sweets to Make Great Gifts via Underground Crafter - jar mix gifts collageIf you’re pressed for time, a jar mix makes a great gift! The recipient can bake on their own schedule and you can keep your kitchen relatively clean. Shown clockwise from top left.

Need more baking inspiration? Follow my Fine, I’ll Have a Food Board, Too Board on Pinterest!