It’s great to have a hands-on hobby in these gadget-obsessed times. Crafty past times like crochet, knitting, and sewing have all regained popularity in recent years, but a hobby like sewing can seem intimidating to many of us with little to no experience with it.
Learning to sew is no more difficult than baking the perfect sponge cake or putting up a sturdy shelf – it takes time and practice to become good at, but taking each of the techniques step by step is a good way to get there.
If you’re just starting to learn how to sew or are considering it as a new hobby, you’re probably itching to know how long it takes to get good, whether you can teach yourself at home, and how to use a sewing machine – don’t worry, we’ve answered all these queries and more. Read on to learn a little more about learning to sew…
How Long Does it Take to Learn to Sew?
The length of time it takes you to learn to sew will depend on many factors such as your patience, your age, your existing sewing knowledge, whether you’re teaching yourself or getting the help of an instructor, and of course how complex the sewing project is.
Based on all these factors, it could take you a few weeks or many months to pick up the skills needed to sew. It’s important not to focus on how long it will take you to learn and instead put your energy into simply enjoying the learning process. No world-class seamstress learned to sew in a week and neither would they have avoided any mistakes along the way – that’s impossible!
Can Sewing Be Self-taught?
Of course! Thanks to the web, you have hundreds of sewing tutorials for every skill level at your fingertips, plus a wealth of sewing blogs, forums, and online crafty communities found on Instagram and Facebook where you can hone your sewing skills by sharing questions and advice with like-minded people.
First of all, decide how you want to sew – by hand or by machine. If you want to learn to sew by hand, teaching yourself at home is simply a matter of learning about the different types of needles, a couple of basic stitches to learn, and buying your materials (most blog posts and YouTube tutorials will tell you where to get this stuff).
As for learning to sew using a sewing machine, it wouldn’t hurt to pick up some basic hand-sewing skills beforehand because these will never not come in handy! Teaching yourself with a sewing machine is probably best done with the supervision of someone more experienced first for your own safety and to ensure you don’t inadvertently damage the expensive machine!
How Easy Are Sewing Machines to Use?
Like learning to use any tool or piece of equipment, a sewing machine will be more straightforward and user-friendly if you follow the instructions, and have someone experienced to help you if you get stuck. Using a sewing machine means learning how to thread the machine, loading the bobbin, and learning what the settings and dials mean so you’ll know how to adjust them accordingly.
Modern electronic sewing machines with screen displays and other features can make it very easy for the beginner to learn in a short space of time (provided they read the instructions and don’t try winging it!). Although expensive, the more modern sewing machines tend to have smoother functions that allow the fabric to glide in and out of the mechanism, making you a little less frustrated.
Consider what’s most important to you before investing in a sewing machine – is it budget? function (some are combo sewing and embroidery machines)? weight? etc. Here’s a round-up of the best beginner sewing machines out there to perhaps help you decide what you’re looking for.
How Long Does it Take to Get Good at Sewing?
It may take several months to a few years before your sewing skills are consistently good. As with any skill, starting with small projects and ideas and perfecting them before you move on to the intermediate stuff is the best way to sharpen your sewing skills without feeling burnt out and defeated before you’ve even begun.
When starting out, it may help to familiarise yourself with some common beginner mistakes so you know what pitfalls to avoid – helping you become a better sewist fast.
Although they are very different craft disciplines, I can say that as a crocheter it took me a few years into learning crochet before I began to have the confidence to not only try stitches and techniques that had previously baffled me, but to attempt some of the most intimidating crochet projects of all – making garments!
Now 9 years into crocheting, I have made several cardigans and am currently designing my own sweater without relying on a pattern – something I would have never considered possible when I first started! Although I’m much less experienced at sewing, it’s clear that practice will make perfect if you put regular effort into learning the steps and tricks and absorb advice from all the professional sewers (maybe you know some in your family) and sewing bloggers you can find.
Is Sewing or Crochet Easier?
If we had to choose, crocheting is a little more straightforward than sewing, but this is only in relation to the size of the materials used. For example, whilst sewing involves fine needles and dainty stitches on fabric that combine to make items, crochet involves using loops of wool to create a dense fabric in itself.
The tools used in crochet (crochet hooks) compared to needles are also several millimeters thicker and about 2-3 times to size of an average hand-sewing needle. This makes the crochet stitches much larger and easier to see than hand or machine-stitched work in sewing.
Another reason some people may find crochet a slightly easier hobby to learn is that, due to the larger nature of the stitches, the crochet work is a lot easier to undo if you make a mistake compared with the slightly more fiddly nature of dainty sewn stitches.
With any crafty skill though, it takes time and practice for the techniques to become second nature to you, so it’s unfair in some ways to pit two very different crafting hobbies against each other. There are wildly talented sewers who may find crochet hard or uninteresting and vice versa, so when all is said and done, it really comes down to personal preference.
You’ll only know for yourself whether crocheting or knitting or looming is easier than sewing! Whilst crochet has its easier points, it’s important to ask yourself why sewing is a hobby you want to try in the first place. Both sewing and crocheting allow you to make items such as bags, blankets, and clothes, but if you prefer a sewn wardrobe or fabric toys over slightly bulkier woolen ones, then you have your answer.
Basically – whichever craft you prefer will be the easiest for you, since the sooner you start practicing, the better and more enjoyable you’ll find it!