“Haute couture: portable art.” (Sophia Sida)

Some think that, as long as you have the right sewing supplies, learning to sew is easy. They could not be more wrong. When you simply watch other do something, it can sometimes appear easier than it is.

But sitting in front your sewing machine or your piece of muslin, alone in the face of adversity - or at least in face of hand sewing a child’s dress or hemming a trouser leg - then sewing suddenly doesn’t seem so simple anymore.

Even choosing your fabric can be an overwhelming feat for a beginner sewer.And you still need to choose the sewing tools you need for the task at hand. And then you need to take measurements and know just how to pin your sewing patterns and use the big tailor’s shears. When just starting out, beginner sewing lessons are a great help.

If you live in the British capital, just look up "sewing courses London" and you will find a class to join right away.

And yet sewing exists since Prehistory. Though these days sewing is considered a creative hobby among many other crafts, in the past knowing how to sew clothing to keep away the cold was a question of survival.

But even now, learning how to sew and make clothes yourself allows you to liberate your creative side and start wearing more ethically and responsibly (avoid throwing away clothes unnecessarily, recycle worn garments - and thus avoid buying “made in Pakistan”).

A seamstress’s treasure chest includes: bobbins of thread, a seam ripper, buttons, a measuring tape, metal thimbles, a pincushion with sewing needles, pins and safety pins. But do you really need all of it?  For those taking their first sewing classes, online haberdashers often offer starter kits for beginners in sewing.

Here is a list of some of the sewing supplies you might find in starter sewing kits for learning how to sew.

Discover here a list of sewing kit essentials...

Why Buy A Sewing Kit?

When trying to complete a sewing project, craft sewing kits can appear attractive for several reasons:

1. Because you don’t know anything about sewing

Indeed, when you are just learning how to sew, you don’t know how use a sewing machine nor how to cut sewing patterns, nor what belongs in your sewing box.
Nor do you know how to trace with tailor’s chalk, nor hem a skirt, nor gather a pleat…
When learning how to sew beautiful dresses just like your mother, you might hesitate to actually start a project if you’re afraid of making mistake after mistake and having to start over and over again (which can be very costly, not to mention frustrating).

No more failed sewing projects with sewing kits.
Don't risk your first sewing projects ending up looking like this - try a project sewing kit instead! Photo by youngthousands on Visual hunt

Starter kits contain exactly those sewing supplies that will let you confection and customise whatever you want: buttonholes, zippers, invisible hems, clothes and accessories such as a beach bag, a cloth sack, a patchwork sachet…In short, a sewing kit seems an ideal solution for learning to sew easily.

2. You are afraid of waste

You might hesitate to buy mountains of accessories that, once you have made your summer dress or handy mobile holder, will disappear into the drawer - especially if you find out that sewing is not for you.

3. You need a gift idea

Sewing project kits are good for making personalised hand sewn gifts for someone’s birthday or as a thank-you - or to make lovely baby clothes to celebrate a birth.
In these sewing kits, the fabric is pre-cut in the right pattern, with the seam allowances already penned in. They are true building-block kits - a bit like IKEA kits for building a bed or cupboard: all the preliminary work is done; all you have to do is assemble it.

Find sewing classes in Mumbai here.

4. You want to learn to sew on your own

Beginner sewing project kits help you learn to sew easy and quick, as step-by-step instructions are generally included. For those who at a loss for ideas for gifts or home dec, just look online for sewing projects for beginners to find the perfect sewing ideas to start out on and recycle old fabric. You can find:

  • Free sewing patterns
  • How to sew a diaper bag
  • How to sew a cushion
  • How to sew a maxi dress…

Find out also where you can buy inexpensive fabric...

What Does a Beginner Sewing Kit Contain?

When you search for “sewing kits”, you will find two very practical things:

  • Little boxes or bags with basic sewing supplies
  • Sewing projects with everything you need to get started

Basic kits with sewing tools

A basic sewing kit will have the minimum of sewing supplies you need for basic sewing projects. The smallest are travel kits for mending tears and sewing on buttons while on the road; larger ones are well-stocked enough for you to start sewing beach bags and skirts - at least by hand.
The middle-sized ones generally contain:

  • A packet of needles of various sizes
  • A threader
  • A pair of scissors
  • Skeins of threads in various colours
  • Safety pins
  • Buttons

These starter kits have everything you need to repair clothing, sew on a button, hem a pair of trousers or customise your skirts and dresses. This video explains what no beginner sewing kit should be without.

One version of a basic sewing kit.
Basic sewing kits are often compact and contain everything you need to start sewing by hand. Photo by Rain Rabbit on VisualHunt.com

They’re perfect for beginners as it has all the basic sewing supplies to learn how to sew. They usually cost about £10 to £30. Look for them on online sewing supplies stores:

But what if you don’t know if you like sewing yet, or are only interested in one kind of project? These same sites usually offer another kind of kit as well.

Kits with sewing projects

Beginner sewing project kits are put together by professional seamstresses and tailors. They know exactly what you need to complete a project, from sewing patterns to the right thread bobbins, even including a pair of scissors.

Here is what you might find in a beginner sewing kit:

  • Fabric
  • Thread bobbins in matching colours
  • Sewing machine needles
  • Bobbins
  • Pins with coloured heads
  • A pair of scissors
  • A measuring tape
  • A thread snipper
  • A seamstress’s pencil
  • A threader
  • A bobbin box
  • A flask of oil
  • A screwdriver

Some also include buttons for making trousers, shorts, pillowcases or shirts. There are also beginner sewing kits adapted to different age groups.

Join the discussion: which sewing machines are best for beginner sewers?

Sewing Sets and Kits for Various Levels

Beginner sewing kits for children

When better to learn to sew than at a young age? With the right sewing tools, a child can make his or her own stuffed animal, even as young as 5. Even though gender socialisation - but also marketing firms and toy companies - push parents to buys sewing kits for little girls while boys get toy cars, children of both sexes can enjoy making their own toys and doll clothes (or that special costume for their action figures).

Creative kits or sewing projects kits are ideal for teaching children how to sew. They come in many shapes and sizes, from stuffed animals to doll’s pillows, felt animals, pencils cases - with the appropriate needles and scissors (small and not too sharp)…

Get correct information about sewing classes online here.

Children's sewing kits can teach them to sew.
CHildren can learn to sew from a fairly young age. Craft sewing kits can help. Photo by Boston Public Library on Visual Hunt

The fabrics are pre-cut into the right sewing pattern, as is any filling material. By learning how to do it yourself from a young age, mothers are saved from a lot of nagging at the shops - their child can just rev up their own sewing machine and sew themselves a new hat or a new set of Barbie clothes.

Beyond stuffed animals and little creative games, you can also find complete sewing projects for girls’ dresses - with instructions, fabrics, buttons, beads and sequins.

Sewing kits for various skill levels

Sewing craft kits can be divided into the following levels of difficulty:

  • Very easy: only use the straight stitch or zigzag stitch on your sewing machine
  • Easy: you should know how to use your sewing machine
  • Intermediate: necessitates a certain amount of dexterity and knowing how sewing patterns work
  • Advanced: you should know how to assemble curved lines and do straight borders
  • Difficult: kits for experienced seamstresses.
Sewing kits can teach you how to sew
Project sewing kits have everything you need to complete a project. Photo by splityarn on Visualhunt

An “advanced” kit, for example, can take up to 3 hours to complete during you would learn how to use a sewing pattern and how to cut fabric. Though it can certainly help you acquire the necessary skills, it also requires you to know how to use your Bernina sewing machine. The main difficulties could be how to bind with bias tape or sew a lining.

An “easy” kit, on the other hand, doesn’t need you to know how to use a pattern; but you should know how to use topstitch and overcast with your sewing machine. The fabric will already be cut into the shapes you need for the projects and you will have detailed step-by-step instructions on how to complete your beginner sewing project.

Still afraid to go out on your own? Don’t hesitate to contact our sewing teachers at Superprof for a free first lesson - they are eager to help you learn to sew, or increase your skills and dexterity and progress to a professional tailor or seamstress!

Discover more sewing accessories to help you learn sewing.

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As an Englishman in Paris, I enjoy growing my knowledge of other languages and cultures. I'm interested in History, Economics, and Sociology and believe in the importance of continuous learning.