Sewing Clothing- Newbie Alert!

I want to jump into garment sewing but people, I am scared! Standing on a ledge looking down into the cavern of the unknown, afraid to jump, scared!

I need some hand holding – preferably in person! Any classes you guys recommend for sewing clothing? Basic tunics, dresses, skirts and then sewing with knits?

I’ve had this Wiksten Tova pattern for MONTHS and am determined to make one before Sew South. I have the pdf version.

dress pattern

I know that Kerry did a sew-along for this last year which I need to revisit.

I’d love to make a whole bunch of tunics as every day I go into my closet wishing there were tunics in there to throw on with jeans or leggins… I have them all in my mind, just not hanging in my closet.

I know there is the Tova pattern and the Schoolhouse tunic. Any other great (EASY) tunic patterns I should know about?

Then I found this dress pattern online and love it!

How cute are these? They would be perfect for my little girl who lives in dresses (when not in pjs.) Shoot, I’d love to wear dresses like this.

So bring on the suggestions. Classes online, classes in Charlotte, personal help, whatever advice you have, I’m all ears!

Then send me a big dose of courage so I can pick out fabric, take the plunge and make something to wear already!

Thanks friends!



  1. 2


    Jennifer, seriously you can totally do this. Sewing clothes is no different than sewing quilts. I would start with a pattern – follow the steps and you will be fine!

  2. 3


    Girl, I am right there with you. I also have the Tova pattern, and I also want to make one for Sew South, and I’m also scared! Though YOU made a weekender, so… 😉 I think the Amy Butler Anna Tunic pattern looks cute. I have a few Lisette tunic/dress patterns as well, but haven’t tried any!

  3. 4


    You can do it! And you’ll be so glad once you jump in! I started out sewing Halloween costumes for myself (it’s crazy hard to find not-trashy, church-festival appropriate costumes for curvy women – just fyi) and for the longest time didn’t think I’d sew something to wear that wasn’t a costume. But, after trying a couple of simple skirts – I took the plunge and made a denim dress. Honestly, with as much sewing as you already do – I think it will be easier than you think 😉 Like Kathleen said, just follow the pattern and you’ll be fine. If you’re still super intimidated, run to the nearest goodwill, get a cheap sheet, and use it as a practice fabric so you don’t mess up your more expensive fabric. Best of luck!

  4. 5


    I actually started by sewing clothing!! Made By Rae has a great PDF pattern called the Washi Dress (which also includes directions for a tunic). It’s SUPER easy and very flattering!

    You can totally do it! :) Sewing garments is so fun, and it’s so neat to be able to wear what you make!

  5. 6


    Go slow, take your time, read carefully, choose fabric wisely and don’t give up! I taught myself to sew at a young age, and with a lot of mistakes, I’d reached the point where I could sew anything by about 18. Do NOT be afraid of your mistakes! That’s possibly the best way to learn! Not only that, it will make you an excellent teacher down the road. Good luck!

  6. 7


    I wish we lived closer. I love to sew clothing. You just need to get used to the 5/8 inch seam instead of the 1/4 inch one!! I know that our fabric shops offer beginning clothing sewing classes so you might check there. You’ll do great since you already sew.

  7. 10


    You can totally do it! We should have a skype sewing date, lol. I recommend the Washi too, doesn’t have the neck detail like the tova, but super easy and great beginning top.

  8. 11


    good for you jumping into making clothes – it’s a scary world for me but I received the schoolhouse tunic pattern and gorgeous fabric as a gift and it is on my top to do list for the New Year.

  9. 12


    I sewed clothing before taking up quilting. I learned some basics in High School and made things for myself then things ratcheted up when we had kids and they wanted a new and unique costume every Halloween…so fun.
    Like those above said…if you can follow a quilt pattern AND you have made those weekender bags sewing that tunic is going to be a no brainer!! Just read the instructions thoroughly and take each step slowly. If you mess up don’t worry about it….you know how to use a seamripper!!:)

    Here is something that might ease your mind too… some inexpensive fabric (or your stash!!) and do a trial run before using the fabric you really want to use! Many times I bought $1.00 a yard muslin or tee shirt knit and made a sample…and then actually used the sample!;)

  10. 13


    If you’re interested in sewing knits, there is a class on Craftsy. It might be a little slow for you because it goes step by step in great detail through construction of several garments (a hoodie, a top, and a dress I think). But… the patterns are included and there really is some good info in there about sewing machine tools and notions that help knits look professional.

  11. 14


    Be careful about choosing the size of Tova perfect for you. I’m usually size M, but Tova M was too small for me. Just measure yourself:) Sewing it it’s really fun!

  12. 15


    Hi Jennifer. I am so with you on this one. I also would love something local, so let me know if you hear of anything. Maybe we can get someone to teach one. I have signed up for the Craftsy Couture Dress class and the Altering Ready To Wear Items class. I have them at the top of my list to start soon.

    I received the AM Horner Socialite dress pattern for Christmas and hope to make it soon. Courtney made one and wore it to a meeting and I loved it.

    Happy new year! Karen E.

  13. 16


    The Tova is a great pattern. I made two and love them.

    I’m eavesdropping on the comments because I want to find a dress pattern… :)

  14. 17


    I agree with everyone here – you can so totally do the Tova without a class – Kerry’s sewalong was awesome and she had great tips. I made one and want another but struggle with picking fabric for tops! :)

  15. 18


    Wow great comments. I have sewed clothes but it has been 20 years and I am nervous. It was a goal for last year that I did not meet and is on the list again this year!

  16. 19


    I love Carla C’s pdf patterns for girl clothes. I started as a complete beginner and have had lots of successes with her patterns. I want to learn to sew for myself but I expect that to be a lot tougher and am nervous to try!

  17. 20


    I used the Schoolhouse tunic pattern and made it for my daughter. I used Dear Stella Ikat fabric in gray, yellow and white. That was absolutely the easiest pattern I have EVER used. It also has great finishing so the interfacing lies down nicely. The best part…when I told my daughter I made it, she was very surprised and said she thought it came from Macy’s. I highly recommend that you go for it and make a tunic. Start with some cheap muslin if you are afraid to ruin good fabric.

  18. 21


    Jump in and enjoy!
    Once you start you will never look back!I wish we lived closer…[about an hour east of where you are] I would be more than happy to encourage, share tips, etc…

  19. 22


    Sewing clothing is all about getting the FIT right. Unless you are close to the same height and shape as the pattern company’s standard fit model, you will want to tweak things (add or subtract length, lower dart position, adjust for a full or small bust, etc). Take lots of measurements (of yourself and the pattern), and make a test garment first from cheap fabric or an old sheet. Yes, it all sounds scary, but if you go in expecting to experiment some you’ll have a lot more fun.

  20. 24


    Girl-you made a WEEKENDER bag -in record time I might add. You can do anything! And I too have a wardrobe in my head…I also have a way my house looks in my head too…

  21. 25


    I’m starting out on the very same quest, Jennifer! I decided over the past week to start sewing some clothing for myself. I started the Sewing Studio class on Craftsy (skipping the making pillows part) for a super basic intro to clothes making. I’ve heard the Washi and Tova patterns are great. I’m also trying the Diane Kimono Dress pattern by Sew Serendipity, but making it as a top. We’ll see…

  22. 26


    I JUST posted something similar. I want to get into garment sewing too, and if I can do it, so can you! Can’t wait to see how your lovely things turn out and to hear all your advice along the way.

  23. 28


    i love garment sewing. I have never worn anything I made because I am a perfectionist and i am still not a great garment sewer. I highly suggest trying it. It is so much fun! only issue is that in Orlando I have found zero good places to find good garment fabric. It’s all chain stores and that means “low quality”.

  24. 29


    I have sewn Made by rae’s washi three times now…two tunics and one dress, it is a great pattern. Simple, straightforward with great instruction and Rae has some videos for you to follow for some of the trickier stuff. Before that I had only ever made myself two super simple skirts…so sewing for myslef was new. I, actually asked my FB followers just before Christmas if they had any advice on how to choose between the wiksten tunic and the school house tunic, I’m still undecided…I didn’t know that there was a sew-along for the Wiksten, I’ll have to check it out.

  25. 30


    I think a tunic top would be a good way to start, no collar, basic sleeve, neck finishing fairly simple. I learned a lot about garment construction sewing for my Barbies. You don’t waste much fabric when you completely blow it, although sometimes the small curves I pieces can be an issue. Still, the theory is sound, even if you pick a larger doll. (or even sew up a doll and then sew some clothes for it. Dolls are not judgemental about style color OR fit, lol. Then once you get the “logic” of how the pieces fit together, you can sew for yourself or loved ones more easily!

  26. 31


    Ah!! I wasjust thinking today that one project I want to spend on this year, is going through my closet and redoing everything in there! One of my goals this year, is to spend more time sewing clothes for me and my son and maybe not as much time quilting. I’m nervous too!! But I think we can do it!!! :)

  27. 33


    I was a dressmaker long before I made quilts. I suggest following the pattern carefully and making sure your measurements match the size you are making. Measurements are more important than the size. Have fun! After making wedding dresses and bridesmaid dresses for years, I must say I would rather be quilting!

  28. 35


    The little girl dress would be an easy way to start.. no pattern needed just take a t-shirt that fits and Buy a little fabric and turn it into a skirt to add to the top.. That way it is just straight sewing and no tricky neck or armholes.. just use a ball point needle and all will be well.. Anothr thought you could check with your local fabric store and see if they offer sewing classes or you could check your local school and see if they have community ed with sewing classes
    Start out small and work your way up and remember sewing is fun!!

  29. 37


    I felt the exact same way you did! I started with the Wiksten Tank which seemed less intimidating – I loved it and made 4 of them and wore them all last summer. Then I got brave enough to make the Schoolhouse tunic – which I LOVE and wish I could wear everyday. I’m on to the Tova next – wishing us both good luck :-)

  30. 38


    I love that you’re asking for help, and I love it even more that all of these people are willing to help! How awesome! Anyway, I think it’s great you’re beginning to do something you’re scared of doing. Sometimes my library here in Albuquerque holds sewing/crafting classes. Be sure and check with yours. Also, sometimes there are classes at JoAnn’s or Michael’s. If there’s one in your area, check with them as well.

  31. 39


    I learned to sew garments by taking the Craftsy Course Sewing with Knits. You can watch it as many times as you like, ask questions and you end up with some pretty cool garments. I’ve taken several classes and taught myself to sew and now I am going to tackle quilting, again with the help of Craftsy. If you can create these amazing quilts, you can sew garments.

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