Not too long ago, I wrote a blog post entitled Why Do I Do What I Do?
This was a personal post for me yet the topic of sizing within the fashion industry resonated with so many of you. Ready To Wear clothing often simply doesn’t make us feel good about ourselves. Instead, it repeatedly makes us anxious, lowers our self-esteem, and cultivates feelings of self-doubt. The fact of the matter is this: we weren’t made to fit into clothes; clothes should be made to fit us.
With that in mind, one of the huge benefits of sewing your own clothes is that you are in total control of styling and sizing. Once you’ve mastered how to accurately take your own body measurements for garment making, you’ll never need to worry about ill-fitting clothing ever again. Creating a piece of clothing that fits you perfectly and makes you feel good about yourself is quite euphoric, especially for those seeking plus-sized items. The struggle is real, and we all know that inclusivity and style don’t often go hand in hand in the fast fashion industry.
That being said, with the right pattern and a fairly basic grasp of sewing, you will be able to make an inclusive, me-made wardrobe that fits you perfectly. Here are some of the most popular inclusive, plus-sized pattern designers around at the moment. These designers offer a huge range of sizing options as well as styles so you’re bound to find something that piques your interest.
Helen’s Closet is passionate about providing easy-to-follow patterns for timeless classics. The patterns range from size 0-30 US and offer cup sizing where applicable. These wardrobe staples include tops, dresses, shirts, cardigans, swimwear, jackets, and much more. The Helen’s Closet website also has a great blog where the designers share pattern hacks and sewing tutorials.
Do It Better Yourself Club (DIBY Club)
Jessica Hooley started out the Do It Better Yourself Club - or DIBY Club for short - as a lifestyle blog that encouraged women to be “as self-sufficient as they choose”. With the goal to make sewing accessible and fun for everyone, Jessica’s downloadable PDF patterns come in an extensive size range (00-36US) and are accompanied by a full ebook’s worth of instructions, custom fit tutorials, and video tutorials.
Closet Core Patterns (Formerly Closet Case Patterns)
With downloadable sewing patterns and sewing courses that feature, in their own words, “obsessively clear step-by-step videos”, Closet Core Patterns offer a huge range of clothing patterns and tutorials that are extremely inclusive. The Closet Core Patterns blog features fitting tricks and hacks to ensure that each piece fits perfectly, as well as tutorials and freebies. Sizing ranges from a US 14-32.
Muna and Broad
Muna and Broad is the brainchild of Leila and Jess - two ladies who met via Instagram and bonded over the lack of patterns available for women in their sizes. Muna and Broad design patterns up to a 71.5 inch hip, stating that they aim for their designs to look amazing and fit larger bodies well. In honour of inclusivity, the Muna and Broad team will grade their patterns up for free if you don’t fit their size chart.
Friday Pattern Company
Modern, on-trend pattern designs straight from sunny California - the Friday Pattern Company are ensuring that inclusive fashion stays stylish. From surfer girl to the cottagecore aesthetic, the Friday Pattern Company provides detailed PDF downloads and video tutorials that cater for bodies up to a 63 inch hip.
At Cashmerette they we empower sewists with big boobs to create a dream wardrobe that actually fits. From sewing patterns in size 0–32 and cup sizes C–H, to the monthly Cashmerette Club, online workshops and best-selling book, they're with you every step of the way!
Learn something new in 2022
January is sort of a throwaway month in my eyes. It’s a month that can go either way; you get the results that your motivated and inspired self wanted when they woke up on the 1st, or you lose track of your goals somewhere and end up feeling disappointed in yourself. However, with the shiny new month of February hitting us, comes that all-important new hit of motivation, but this time, you’re ready for it.
In February, there are no social pressures to be perfect, no heavy emphasis on achieving something by the end of 30 days. All of that has been and gone, making now the perfect time to harness that motivation and get started on those goals.
Want to learn something new in 2022?
If learning to sew is something you’ve dreamt of for a while now, you’ll probably have asked yourself if you’re really capable of creating your own clothes, sewing gifts for loved ones, designing quilts, or maybe even just repairing the garments that have been sitting unloved in your wardrobe. I can say, without a shadow of a doubt, that you ARE most definitely capable of all of those things and more. All you need is the willingness to commit to learning a new skill and the dedication to keep at it, even when you make (inevitable) mistakes.
Sewing is a valuable, rewarding, and enriching skill to master.
Sewing is much more than a means to fixing damaged clothing - although sustainability does play a big role in the way I sew and is a big part of the Start To Stitch ethos. Sewing is a hobby. It’s a form of self care. It’s acceptance into a community of warm, social, and knowledgeable people. It’s a way of learning to love our bodies - no matter what shape or size we are. Sewing teaches us about patience and hard work and it teaches us to use our creativity in a productive way.
Book yourself a place on the next Back To Basics Sewing Course
Teaching others to sew is my passion.Learning to sew was certainly one of the best choices I ever made. It dramatically changed my life and catapulted me into so many buzzing, lively careers, and experiences, until I landed here and realised that my dream, my true calling, was to teach others the skill that had so wonderfully influenced my life.
I started off sharing my knowledge in intimate workshops, but due to COVID restrictions, I decided to take my learning online. That’s around the time that my first online Beginner and Intermediate Sewing Course were born, and even a couple of years on, they’re still some of my most popular products.
Why? Because when you learn a skill from someone with passion, it rubs off.
Sewing is for EVERYONE.
Learning to sew is going to be a skill that enriches your life and helps you to play your part in protecting our planet from the devastating destruction caused by the fast fashion industry. Anyone and everyone can learn to sew; it’s an extremely inclusive hobby. It doesn’t matter what size, shape, gender, or class you come from, because everything you do can be tailored to your own preferences. But before you get too carried away, you need to learn the basics.
Why Choose The Start To Stitch Back To Basics Beginner’s Sewing Course?
The Start To Stitch Back To Basics course is a great gateway into the world of sewing. The 5-week course covers everything you need to know about setting up your machine and getting started, as well as basic troubleshooting and, of course, lots of fun sewing projects. Our online courses are accompanied by a dedicated class Facebook Group, weekly Zoom meetings, and a direct line to me - your sewing chief and expert - Annie!
A comprehensive foundational sewing course, 66 video lessons, lifetime access, and live support as you go - what's not to love?!
Breaking down the course materials briefly for you here, you can see that you get a lot of bang for your buck when you book onto a Start To Stitch course.
Committing to a 5-week course can sound daunting - I mean, what if you don’t get on with the way the course is laid out, or the video content doesn’t help as much as you’d hoped?
Well, I’ve thought of all of that and that’s why I’m offering a FREE mini course to get you started, where you can see how easy it is to learn to use your sewing machine - you can sign up here! And if you like it you will get 10% off the full back to basics programme :)
Book yourself a place on the Start to Stitch FREE mini course!
Looking to further your sewing knowledge?If you’ve already mastered the basics and you’re ready to learn some new techniques and patterns, it could be time for you to invest in the Start To Stitch Intermediate Sewing Course!
Take a look at our Academy page for more information on the Back To Basics and Intermediate courses, as well as details of our other Start To Stitch courses.
Every once in a while, just like every other sewist out there, I lose my sew-jo. I know, I know. How can a sewing tutor lose their sew-jo? How can someone whose whole life has been shaped and defined by sewing, possibly lose their sewing momentum? The answer is pretty simple: no matter how much you love sewing, every now and then, it all gets a bit too much.
It can be hard to find the motivation to cut fabric because all you want to do is sew. It can be annoying when you have a perfect idea for a project, but you can’t find a pattern you’re happy with. Even worse, it’s tough when you desperately want to discuss your sew-jo issues with people who will be able to relate, but you simply can’t find a place to share your experiences with.
Share your journey with us in Stitch Sewcial
One of the most successful ways to overcome losing your sew-jo is to find a safe community made up of people who share a passion and love for sewing. Fortunately for you, we happen to run the brilliantly supportive Stitch Sewcial Facebook group. The Facebook group is free to join and gives you access to lots of help and advice, as well as access to our monthly #GetSetSew challenges. These monthly challenges are designed to encourage our members to try new makes and learn new skills.
What to do when you lose your sew-jo!
Chatting to other sewists isn’t the only way to give your passion for sewing a little boost. I took to Stitch Sewcial to ask our members how they cope when they lose their sew-jo. I wanted to know what works for them; what methods have helped our real-life sewists find their flow again after they’ve had a tough time on their sewing journey.
Below is a list of things that our wonderful Stitch Sewcial members have recommended for those pesky days, weeks, or months where sewing just seems to be the furthest thing on your mind.
Look for inspiration
One of the first things to do when you lose your sew-jo is to look for inspiration. You may have lost your sew-jo because you’ve run out of project ideas, you’re sick of making the same things over and over again, or even because you’re looking for something a little more challenging.
Our members suggest seeking out some inspiration to help you find your sew-jo once more, here are a few suggestions:
If you’re really struggling to find your sew-jo, maybe taking a step back and giving something else a go will be beneficial to you. Do you enjoy any other crafts? Is there a particular craft you’ve always wanted to try? Now is your chance to give it a go!
Some other craft ideas that our Stitch Sewcial members came up with include:
Give yourself space to breathe
Sometimes walking away from sewing completely and giving yourself a breather is the best way to restore your sew-jo. This isn’t just beneficial for sewists who have lost their motivation, but it’s also a good way to give your mental health a boost.
Give your mental health a boost and restore your sew-jo by:
Advice From The Stitch Sewcial Sewing Community
If you’re still looking for advice on how to get your sew-jo back, these tips and tricks from the Stitch Sewcial community might put your mind at ease. Remember that at some point, everyone will lose their sew-jo; just like every other hobbyist will experience the same lack of motivation when it comes to their passion. It’s a normal part of life, so remember that it won’t last forever!
Extra advice from our amazing Stitch Sewcial members about what to do if you lose your sew-jo:
Find Your Sew-jo Again with our Free Patterns From Start To Stitch
If you’ve decided to seek out some new patterns in a bid to save your sew-jo, have a look at some of the free patterns we offer on our website: Start To Stitch Twist Headband Pattern, the Start To Stitch Face Covering Pattern, Start to Stitch kids dress up hero cape, and the free Start To Stitch bunting pattern.
If you’re a regular Start To Stitch blog reader, or you’re a member of our fantastic Facebook group, Stitch Sewcial, it’s likely you’ll have seen me talking about my own experiences with body positivity. I have documented my experiences of body dysmorphia and my mental health struggles, and like many in our wonderful community, sewing provided a focus and an escape.
But vitally, sewing my own clothing opened my eyes to the glaring issue that STILL plagues the fashion industry: people who have never met us are designing clothes to fit bodies they’ve never seen, based on UK sizes that were first standardised in 1951.
Society’s beauty standards have created a world in which people are constantly over-critical about their own bodies.
It is no wonder that many of us, women in particular, suffer from mental health struggles such as body dysmorphia and low self-esteem. We have been taught to accept a warped concept of beauty that is based on one’s weight and body shape. Those clothing designers who have never met us have no idea what our bodies look like and work on the assumption that if a person weighs a certain amount, then they must look a certain way.
Let’s break the cycle and preach body positivity!
I am sure if you’re reading this that you, just like me, want to break this vicious thought cycle. Clothing should be changed to fit our bodies; our bodies shouldn’t be altered and hated in order to fit into our clothes.
In order to change the way we feel about ourselves, and indeed about other people’s bodies, we need to learn more about body image and body positivity.
What does the term ‘body positivity’ actually mean?
The term ‘body positivity’ has been used all over social media in the last year or two, especially on the highly visual, and often body-critical platform, Instagram.
According to Wikipedia, the term refers to the “acceptance of all bodies, regardless of size, shape, skin tone, gender, and physical abilities, while challenging present-day beauty standards as an undesirable social construct.”
The ‘body positivity’, or ‘bodiposi’ movement aims to challenge the unrealistic ideals of physical attractiveness that society has developed over the years. Instead of creating negative and self-critical views about one’s body, the movement encourages positive body image and the idea that ‘beauty’ is a made-up concept created by society. It preaches that this construct shouldn’t determine one’s confidence or self-worth.
Want to learn how to become more body positive?
If you are looking to learn more about the body positivity movement and start a journey to a more confident you, the following book recommendations may be extremely beneficial to you.
Body Positivity Book Recommendations
You will need:
Childs coat hanger
1/2 m of curtain weight cotton or cotton drill/ twill or canvas
1m of minimum 2 cm wide bias binding
Download the pattern here - and remember to print at 100%. It is only 3 A4 pages.
The video tutorial to show you how is below!
Quilters will know that having a straight edge is paramount, and garment makers everywhere will have experienced the disappointment of mismatched seams at least once in their life. It’s safe to say that no matter what type of sewing project you’re working on, having nice straight lines will make the entire process run a lot more smoothly. Because of this, it’s good practice to take your time when it comes to cutting your fabric and try your best to get it right the first time.
There are a couple of ways to ensure that you cut your fabric perfectly straight every time, and we’re going to cover them in this blog post, weighing up the pros and cons of each method. If you’re looking to improve your cutting technique, or you’re a beginner trying to sharpen (ha) your skills as, keep reading for some fantastic tips for cutting your fabric.
How to cut your fabric perfectly straight every time using scissors
Every sewist needs a good pair of fabric scissors, they’re part of the essential sewing kit that every sewist should be familiar with. It is very possible to cut perfectly straight lines using sharp fabric scissors, however, there are a few steps you need to take in order to ensure that you produce perfect, straight lines.
Wash and dry your fabric
First thing’s first - wash and dry your fabric! I have previously written about why it’s important to wash your fabric before you start cutting and sewing and the relevance here is that some fabrics shrink when washed. To ensure you cut a straight line every time, you will first need to make sure that you’ve washed and dried your fabric (some recommend tumble drying fabric, especially if it is a garment that’s likely to be regularly dried this way) and then iron it flat to remove any wrinkles that could warp your straight lines.
Find a flat surface to work on
This may seem obvious, but I’ve seen people waving fabric in the air trying to cut it and I’m telling you now - you will NOT get a straight edge by doing this, no matter how carefully you think you’re cutting. The same goes for cutting on a surface that isn’t flat, such as on the carpet or bed. Always stick to cutting on a hard, flat surface.
Tip: If you’re cutting fabric on a tabletop, make sure all the fabric is on the table too, not just the section you’re cutting. If fabric overhangs, the weight will pull the fabric and cause uneven lines when cutting without you even realising.
Make sure the scissors you’re using are SHARP
Don’t just use your kitchen scissors or any old pair you’ve happened to have found laying about. Use good quality, sharp scissors that are designed to be used with fabric. Once you’ve got yourself a pair of decent fabric scissors, they will last a long time provided that they’re only used on fabric (please don’t use them to cut paper!)
Find your fabrics straight edgeIn order to cut straight, you need to find the straight edge. Look for the selvage of your fabric - for more information on beginner’s sewing terms check out this A-Z glossary of sewing terms. The selvage is the term used for the finished edge of the fabric that keeps it from fraying or unraveling - it’ll often have the fabric designer or company printed on it.
The selvedge is usually straight, it might waver occasionally, but it is normally a good place to start from. Cut off the line of the selvedge to create straight edges.
Create a 90 degree corner
A clever way of ensuring you get the perfect 90 degree angle when cutting fabric is to line it up with the edge of a table, countertop, or cutting mat. First, make sure that this edge is actually 90 degrees - don’t put blind faith in your carpenter, everyone is capable of making mistakes.
Then line up the selvedge side of your fabric with the lower portion of your surface, ensure that the selvedge hangs off as we’re not going to include this area when cutting or measuring. Line up the side of your fabric with the side of your surface and check to see if the fabric is straight against the surface. Sometimes fabric can angle inwards or outwards, so trim that with your scissors until your fabric is in line with your table (you may need to use a ruler to help you trim this section).
Cutting perfect squares and rectangles
So, now that you’ve got two perfectly straight edges and a right angle, it’s time to cut the rest of your fabric into either a square or rectangle. Use a ruler to measure the amount of fabric you need, for example, if you wanted to make a 12 inch square, you would line your ruler up against the straight edge and measure out 12 inches, marking with a small cut (or sewing marker of choice).
From here, move a few inches up and do the same again, cutting upwards to meet the measurement or using your fabric marker to continue the straight line. For a 12 inch square, you would repeat this process until you have cut, or marked, 12 inches in height. If using a marker, you will now have a perfectly straight line to cut along.
Finally, turn your fabric to cut your fourth side and repeat the process to give yourself the perfect 12 inch square with wonderfully straight edges.
A good way to check your accuracy is to fold the fabric in half and determine whether the edges align; if not, measure and adjust accordingly.
The Pros and Cons of using scissors to cut straight lines in your fabricThis is a great method of teaching discipline and accuracy when it comes to cutting fabric. It teaches valuable skills needed in order to successfully sew quilts, garments, and accessories.
However, it is also a tedious and long process, with plenty room for error. Always make sure you measure twice before cutting.
Using a rotary cutter to cut your fabric perfectly straight every time
Rotary cutters have revolutionised fabric cutting and are an extremely valuable tool to have in your sewing arsenal. A rotary cutter features a round blade set in a handle designed to give you perfect, seamless, and quick cuts. They come in a variety of styles, sizes, and handle shapes.
Decide on the size of blade you need
The general rule with rotary cutter blades is that small blades are great for cutting corners and precise measurements, whereas the larger blades are useful for cutting a wide surface area and going through several layers at once. The size of the blade you’ll need will depend on the project you’re working on, therefore it’s generally useful to have more than one rotary cutter to hand.
Other equipment needed for cutting fabric with a rotary cutter
With scissors, you’re very unlikely to damage the work surface you’re using. That means you could cut fabric sat at your antique oak dining room table without worrying about slicing into a family heirloom. The same cannot be said for rotary cutters. You NEED to have a cutting mat beneath your fabric when using a rotary cutter to avoid slicing into your work surface. You also need to have a nonslip ruler to help you align the rotary cutter. A nonslip ruler is advised as other rulers can move whilst cutting and this is likely to cause some serious damage to your hands, fingers, and your fabric.
The Pros and Cons of using a rotary cutter to cut fabric
Rotary cutters make cutting fabric quick and efficient thanks to sharp blades that are able to cut precisely and go through several layers at once. This is particularly handy for quilters!
On the other hand, if you’re not careful and don’t use the correct equipment, you can injure yourself when using a rotary cutter.
Give them and go and decide which method works best for youSome people prefer to use good old fashioned fabric scissors and swear by them for all their projects. Others have found that the rotary cutter completely changed their experience of cutting and sewing in general, thanks to it’s speed and precision. Ultimately, which ever tool you choose to use, cutting straight lines into your fabric is definitely achievable, it just requires some patience and accurate measuring.
Join us at Stitch Sewcial!
What is your preferred method for cutting fabric? Is cutting in a straight line something you struggle with? Let me know in the comments. Alternatively, why not pop over to our Facebook group, Stitch Sewcial, and introduce yourself. Stitch Sewcial is also a great place to ask for advice, seek new patterns, and natter away with like-minded people.
Looking for more help and advice?
I also run three fabulous courses designed to help sewists of all levels expand their knowledge and skills in a fun, friendly environment. My beginner’s online course covers the basics and is brilliant for beginners and those in need of a little refresher. The intermediate online sewing course is designed to demystify ruffles, piping, zips, buttons, and more. Finally, the most recent online course installment is the Sewing With Stretch Fabrics course. This is a 6 module course covering everything you need to know about sewing with those pesky stretch fabrics.
All of these can be purchased for immediate start through the brand new Start to Stitch digital learning academy - but the genius of learning this way is that you ALSO get live access to a tutor whenever you need one for as long as it takes you to complete the course!
Come and work with us!
I am thrilled that thanks to a generous grant from Cultivator Cornwall I am able to offer an exciting employment opportunity for a creative, sewing minded, self-starter, for 21 hours a week, for an initial period of 6 months.
Read on for more information!
Marketing & Audience Relationship Officer (MARO)
Internship - PAID
Start to Stitch is an online sewing school providing excellent online courses to students all over the world. Students who learn with us learn not only basic and more advanced sewing skills but enjoy the mental health benefits of sewing together in a community, alongside other course participants, and within my wider community Kernow Sewcial - an active and buzzy Facebook group of 1400 members ( and growing )
Providing good quality, excellent value advice while empowering our customers to liberate themselves from ready to wear clothing and the poor body image that can come from changing room experiences while buying it, is the foundation of the business. As MARO you will help us to communicate this message, creating and nurturing our audience alongside the business owner, Annie Lucas, with creation of effective blog content, tutorials and marketing material - working together on out-put that dovetails strategically with the annual course programming, and other key events throughout the year.
In addition you will cover admin duties relating to the course enrolment and communication with students. The MARO will report directly to Annie Lucas, business owner and Creative Director
Responsibilities and Duties
- Creation of content for blog and social media in response to the marketing plan.
- Identifying opportunities for new course creation among current and prospective audiences
- Assisting with day to day management of enquiries via social media and email
- Contribution to development of tutorials and blog posts which can be utilised as SEO opportunities and lead magnets to grow email marketing list
- Admin and engagement on Facebook community group - Kernow Sewcial
- Admin and additional support for students on courses and programmes
- Contribution to development of email marketing strategy including content creations for community emails.
- Becoming proficient in the use of Kajabi to help integrate and update courses and programmes with funnels and email marketing processes.
- Assorted other light studio duties as and when required.
Qualifications and Person Spec
- Educated to at least A-level with demonstrable experience in the use of social media marketing. Although ‘on the ground’ social media marketing experience isn’t necessarily required as this is an internship post (which could lead to long term employment for the right person) you will be able to demonstrate effective use of social media tools personally or professionally. An understanding of how these impact audience growth and through that, sales, is also desirable.
- Creative, dynamic, and a self starter with a warm and engaging personality. All of our customer interactions are positive, friendly, and we err on ‘kind and friendly’ rather than ‘formal and business-like’ - though remaining professional is an almost priority.
- You will have excellent communication skills and not be afraid to ask questions if something isn’t clear - we are all about collaboration.
- Have a good sense of brand and aesthetic and how to apply that to graphics - experience in the creation of graphics would be useful, understanding of the use of Canva, even better!
- Working knowledge of sewing (but not necessarily a total expert) and a good understanding of the home sewing market, with a belief in the power of sewing to have positive impact on sewists of all ages and all genders with regard to their body image and sense of overall well being.
- Importantly you must see the potential of something as simple as sewing to change hearts and minds and really make a difference to our customers and their confidence and well-being.
Location & working hours
We anticipate that the successful candidate would work part time in our studio on fixed (but flexible according to Annie’s own studio presence) days, and in combination with home working. As such the ideal candidate would be Cornwall based (our studio is in Mount Hawke)
We anticipate using a tool like Slack to stay in contact and to manage workflow throughout the day if working remotely.
Happiness in ones working environment is a strong value to us as we grow the business and supporting, championing and being visible about mental health is part of our wider vision and mission.
We will support the MARO to craft a role that works for them, their lifestyle and needs, while ensuring that they also meet our own outcomes and objectives. Clear communication will allow us to fulfil our objectives while maintaining some flexibility in working arrangements as long as those outcomes are met.
Initially max 21 hours per week, for 6 months, paid at National Living Wage (currently £8.91 but rising in April 2022) Feb - July 2022 with possibility of extension. You must be registered as Self Employed, and will be responsible for your own tax and NI contributions.
Applications will be accepted in the form of your CV and a covering letter detailing how you best fit the person spec and demonstrating how your experience/ambition meets the brief. Examples of graphics you have created (if applicable) will be welcomed. These should be returned to Annie Lucas firstname.lastname@example.org. Closing date 27 Jan 2022
Interviews 31 Jan / 2 Feb (can be day time or evening, in person or on-line depending on candidates availability - if you have a preference please state this in your application)
For more info and please visit https://www.starttostitch.com/blog/come-and-work-with-us
This role is funded by Cultivator Cornwall - supported by the European Social Fund, Arts Council England, and Cornwall Council.
You can download the Role and Person Spec here:
As I also mentioned in my live the challenge has had a little re-vamp for 2022 including lovely new graphics - and the introduction of GetsetsewBINGO!! I have made a little bingo card which you can stamp / cross out / whatever you like, your monthly challenges (10 in total - we have a break in May and June) and there may be prizes at the end.... you will need to share you bingo card either on Social Media or in Stitch Sewcial (my LOVELY group which is totally free and very very inspiring!)
Make something, anything, from fabric in your stash, using a pattern you already own, or that is FREE online... If you can up-cycle something pre-loved, that's fine - but this is all about burning through your stash which as it turns out is exactly what many of you has set as new years resolutions, so win win!!
Its dead simple, nothing too complicated, and a nice way to ease us into the New Year....
Are you ready? Get, Set.... SEW!!!
You’ve probably had lots of practice winding the bobbin up, changing needles, and figuring out how to keep your sewing machine in good, working order (URL to machine maintenance link). So let’s dive into something new - the presser foot.
What is a presser foot?Put simply, the presser foot is the part of the sewing machine that applies pressure to the fabric whilst you sew, thus keeping it all in place. There are many different types of presser feet - sometimes they’re categorised by their uses, other times by the way they attach to your sewing machine, and sometimes they’re categorised by the height of their shanks (this usually only applies to vintage machines). It’s unlikely you’ll ever need to use them all, but having a good collection on standby can really help take your sewing to the next level.
Changing your sewing machine’s presser foot.Before you can start playing around and experimenting with the different variety of feet, you’ll need to know how to change the presser foot. Most modern machines have a lever that simply releases the presser foot and allows you to easily click a different foot in place. Some older models of sewing machine may require you to unscrew to release the presser foot - this is obviously a bit more time consuming - so make sure to check your sewing machines manual for more information.
Looking for more help or advice?If you’re struggling with changing out your presser feet, or indeed any part of your sewing machine, feel free to head over to Facebook and join our free Facebook community, Stitch Sewcial. The group is full of like-minded sewists who are always happy to offer advice and support during your sewing journey. We also host monthly #GetSetSew challenges! These are completely optional, however they serve as a fantastic way to practice/learn new skills, support and advise others on the same path as you, and allow your creativity to run wild.
Sewing Machine Presser Foot Guide For Beginners
The standard foot, or zigzag foot, comes with all sewing machines. The standard presser foot is great for straight and zigzag stitching, as well as a few decorative stitches, depending on your brand of sewing machine. The standard foot is a great presser foot for beginners to use whilst they get to grips with the machine and basic stitching techniques.
Regular Zip Foot
This presser foot comes with most sewing machines and has openings on either side of the foot. These openings allow you to sew close to your zip on either side, you can also use the regular zip foot to sew piping. Depending on the side of the foot you want to use, you’ll need to alter the needle to ensure it’s in the right position.
Quarter-inch seam foot
As the name suggests, this sewing machine presser foot allows you to sew the perfect quarter-inch seam every time. It’s a favourite among most quilters and dressmakers as it ensures flawless seams and perfect finishes.
Another favourite of quilters is the walking presser foot. This uses teeth similar to the feed dogs and is ideal for thick and heavy fabric, or fabric that tends to stick. HOWEVER, this foot also comes into its own in all manner of garment making and is an absolute essential when it comes to sewing with knit fabrics ( we have a fabulous course on this!! )
Automatic buttonhole foot
Found yourself struggling when it comes to creating the perfect buttonhole? You’re not the only one! Luckily, the automatic buttonhole foot is a great little presser foot for your collection. This clever foot creates perfect buttonholes each time by measuring the button which is inserted into the back section of the foot. We cover all about buttonholes in our Intermediate skills builder course - LEARN TO SEW: Skills builder!
This presser foot has open grooves on the underside which holds the piping or cording in position. The piping/cording then passes through the foot in a straight line, producing neat, even stitching every time. We cover all about piping in our Intermediate skills builder course - LEARN TO SEW: Skills builder!
This is the perfect choice for laminated fabrics, vinyls, leathers and suedes. The presser foot is coated in non-stick Teflon which allows the foot to glide easily over the fabric without the friction caused by a standard presser foot.
The satin presser foot is usually made of a clear material to allow you to easily see where you’re sewing; it also sometimes has an open toe. This foot is used for decorative and satin stitching as it allows a build up of stitches to be sewn onto the fabric and gives you maximum visibility.
Darning/free machine/open toe foot
If being arty with your stitching is something you enjoy, this is a great addition to your presser foot collection. This foot is used primarily for free hand machine sewing which makes it ideal for quilters and those who like to produce patterns and textures on fabrics. In order to allow the fabric to move freely while using this presser foot, the feed dogs need to be lowered.
Easy Beginner Projects
At Start To Stitch, we want to share our love of sewing with as many people as possible. That’s why we offer FREE sewing patterns that are great for beginner sewists. If you’re looking for something that’s simple and useful, how about trying your hand at our Start To Stitch Free Bunting tutorial, our Free Facemask tutorial, or our free Twist Headband Tutorial?
What should I do next?
Practice makes perfect, so get sewing! Most sewing machines come with a selection of presser feet, so start by figuring out what you’ve got and from there you can learn how to release and change your presser foot. Next, start working with the presser feet you’ve got and notice the benefits each one offers.
Once you’re comfortable, you might find that you want to take your sewing to the next level. We offer beginner and intermediate online sewing courses. In each course, you’ll learn new techniques and troubleshoot common issues, as well as create wonderful handmade items. Both courses are held through a dedicated Facebook Group, with detailed video tutorials. Live video support and weekly tutoring calls are also included as part of the course, meaning that support and encouragement is always only a click away.
Head to our Online Courses page for more information.
Sewing. pattern cutting, teaching, tea and Jelly Babies!
Beginner Sewing Projects
Cloth Face Covering
GBSB Season 8
Gifts For Men
Great British Sewing Bee
Kids Dress Up Cape
Learning To Sew
My Me Made Wardrobe
Ready To Wear
Sewing For Men