Saturday, November 3, 2012

How to Find the Best Sewing Patterns and Tutorials online

This articles is a collaborative effort of Pam Johnson and Anshu.

You've decided that you'd like to learn how to sew. Well, it's certainly an undertaking that will require a lot of skill and practice. One of the best ways to learn is to actually see someone sew in front of your eyes. Check out some web videos, and utilize the following strategies for finding the best ones.

Sewing Magazines Websites
Think of all the sewing magazines you like for their sewing related content. Threads Magazine, Ottobre are a couple of those. Now go to their official websites and see if they have any free patterns available for download. Here is the pattern page from Threads magazine where they have some free patterns. Here is the free patterns page from Ottobre.

Pattern Company Websites

Think about the pattern companies whose patterns you like a lot and have bought ( or wanted to buy ). Now go to their websites and see if they have any free patterns available for download. Here is a list of free patterns from Oliver+S. Also many fabric designers post sewing pattern freebies occasionally so its worth checking their websites too.Here are a number of freebies from Amy Butler.

Sewing Blogs
There are a lot of sewing blogs out there. Look for some key markers to see if the patterns they offer will work. Many of them have flickr pools where there readers post the items they have made from their patterns and tutorials. See what is getting posted over there. If a lot of people have successfully created the look, there is high likelihood that you will too. Also look at the number of followers of the blog, places they have been featured at to get a sense of how good they are. Soon, you will have a list of sewing bloggers you could count on. you could follow them to get updates every time they publish fresh content.
Some of my favorites are:
  1. Make It and Love It
  2. MADE
  3. Made By Rae
  4. Lil Blue Boo
  5. Shwin and Shwin
  6. Simple Simon and Co.
  7. iCandy Handmade
  8. Me Sew Crazy
 Not only these blogs provide new free patterns regularly, but they also offer a lot of  fresh ideas and inspiration. Even if you prefer to buy the patterns, I highly recommend that you visit at least a couple of bloggers regularly to get new ideas and inspiration.
Sewing Forums Websites

A lot of sewing forums have sections where they let their members upload sewing tutorials and patterns. If you sign up for these forums, you could easily see which tutorials their members are using a lot and download those for your own use.
I highly recommend Sewing Mamas they have a huge database of free sewing patterns ( available only after you sign up for free). You can also see how many times each pattern has been downloaded which will give you some degree of confidence on how good a pattern is.
While you are there, also try to connect with other members of the group. You could learn a lot from them, like I did while sewing this Layer Cake Dress.

Look for Schools
When it comes to sewing tutorials, it's unlikely that you'll be able to strictly follow the .gov and .edu rules. However, you can try to look for videos that come from sewing schools or legitimate programs. When you do this, you'll have the benefit of knowing that the videos came from a trustworthy source.

Family and Friends
You may not know it, but your cousin or your next door neighbor might actually be a You Tube star! Ask around to see if you know of anyone who has put some sewing tutorials up on the Internet. The benefit of this is that, once again, you'll know for sure that the information is coming from a reputable source. However, what happens if you're watching a tutorial from a stranger and you have a question about something that the person did? You can't very well ask him or her, but you can when the person on the video is someone who you personally know.

Youtube videos on sewing
Let's say you're looking for a video on how to do a very basic stitch, and you come across one that is nearly 20 minutes long. This is probably not the best video to watch. It's likely full of confusing information or extra information that really has nothing to do with sewing at all. On the other hand, you want to be sure that the videos are long enough. Perhaps you're looking for a video that shows you how to put together an entire blanket by sewing. If that video is only a few minutes long, then you know that you'll need to keep looking for other ones.

Read the Comments
No matter how long a video/blog post is, it still has the chance to be confusing. Furthermore, the Internet is a place where basically anyone can pretend to be an expert. Just because someone has put a video up on You Tube does not mean that the individual knows exactly what he or she is doing. When you're looking up a video, see what the comments underneath say. You'll likely get a good sense of whether or not this video is really worth your time. If the video title is vague, you will also likely be able to tell what the specific topic of it is.

Learning how to sew is an exciting endeavor because you'll soon be able to craft some different items for your home. However, it's not something that you should expect to learn in the blink of an eye. It's going to take some time and patience, and the watching of some excellent videos, to get you to the point where you want to be.

Author Pam Johnson enjoys sewing and blogging. She is a contributing writer for

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