Two thirds of people said they wanted to achieve something during the last major lockdown here in the UK, from growing their own vegetables to learning a language. If your lockdown goal is to finally learn how to use your sewing machine, or to grow your dressmaking skills by learning some next-step sewing skills, we’re here to help. There are a wealth of incredible online sewing classes out there to choose from, but it can be hard to know where to start. The good news is this article will give you some great tips of where to begin and it’s never been easier to learn to sew online.
In this round up we’ve picked a few of our favourite courses for complete beginners for anyone reading who’s goal is simply to learn to sew from scratch. If you’ve already learnt your way around your sewing machine but want to take your skills up a notch, we’ll also bring you a few dressmaking and home sewing courses to check out – from handling different fabric types to dressmaking or how to make curtains for your home.
We may not all have the time to learn to speak Russian during lockdown, but in just a few hours we can pick up a new stitchy skill that we can use for years and years from the comfort of our homes… ay beyond the point we’re allowed outside again!
Digital classes to help you learn to sew online
Startup Library: Sewing
- Learn to sew online today – Craftsy
- Skill level: Beginner
This 5 hour course includes bonus PDFs and access to a class Q&A with experts. Author, designer and sewing pro Sara Alm teaches this comprehensive beginner’s online sewing class. Sara shows you all the basics you need to know to learn to sew, from the tools and materials you need to choosing patterns, cutting and marking your fabric. The course will teach you how to make a simple tote bag and stylish dress — even if you’ve never sewn anything before, as well as equipping you with a whole bunch of garment-making skills that you can try out on future projects. One thing to note is that the course is partly based on making dress sewing pattern McCall’s 7120, which is not included with the cost of the course, but it is available to buy online over at Minerva Crafts.
Make wearable art with embroidery on clothes
- Refresh your wardrobe with embroidery – Skillshare
- Skill level – confident beginners
Liven up your wardrobe as you up your stitchy skills as you go with Embroidery artist Danielle Clough’s guide to stitching on to clothing. All you need to join in is a shirt or plain item of clothing that you’d like to upcycle and a few simple embroidery supplies (if you want to stock up on the basics, head to our guide to embroidery for beginners). This pre-recorded class was recorded via Zoom and will walk you through everything you need to know to start embroidering clothes. From how to choose what to embroider to special tricks for making sure your stitching survives washing and wearing… you’ll walk away ready to refresh your wardrobe without spending a fraction of what it would cost to replace it all. It helps if you already know a few embroidery stitches before you begin – why not try our library of embroidery stitches for beginners.
Sew an Easy Dress
- Learn how to make a dress – Tilly and the Buttons
- Skill level – beginner next step
Want to start making your own clothes? Maybe you’ve done some sewing in the past and now you want to brush up on your skills. Boost your confidence and level up your sewing with this beginner-friendly online workshop. Award-winning pattern designer, author and teacher Tilly Walnes takes you step-by-step through everything you need to know to make your own easy-to-sew, easy-to-wear Lotta dress. You’ll learn indispensable sewing skills, from selecting your fabric, cutting and marking, accurate seam sewing and finishing, plus constructing a dress, from neckline to hem.
Sewing Pattern Alternations: Fixing Fit Issues
- Get to grips with altering patterns to fit – Udemy
- Skill level – intermediate
As you get more and more confident making your own clothes, being able to adjust a pattern to fit is one of the most crucial skills you’ll learn – as no-one wants to spend all that time lovingly crafting a new garment, only to find it doesn’t fit. This thorough course on pattern alterations will help you to improve your sewing skills by mastering how to do basic pattern alterations on various pattern pieces and different types and styles of clothing. This video course, produced in conjunction with National Sewing Circle, will teach you how to alter shirt necklines, fronts and backs, shirt sleeves, skirts and trousers in several ways – all of which will fix different common fit issues. As well as step-by-step video instructions, this video online sewing course comes with a downloadable PDF that includes step-by-step photos and instructions for each pattern alteration that you’ll learn.
Create your own lingerie: Bikini Brief
- Sew your own knickers today – Skillshare
- Skill level – intermediate
Many of us find the idea of sewing our own pants a little daunting, but luckily Textile Designer and Pattern Maker Valeria Garala has put together a beginner-friendly online course for how to make a lace-topped bikini brief with 4-way stretch fabric and elastic.Learn the basics of stretch fabric, how to handle sewing patterns, cutting and sewing, and download her bikini brief pattern which you can use again and again. This quick afternoon project is a great choice if you want to experiment with making a full handmade wardrobe, piece by piece! It’s is a great skills-builder too for any confident beginners out there, though it is best suited to those who already know a few sewing basics.
Introduction to pattern drafting
- Make your own patterns! Learn how – Sew Over It
- Skill level – intermediate
OK so you’ve made a few garments, but you’re still looking to get that elusive perfect fit for your shape and create bespoke patterns of your own. Sew Over It to the rescue – with their Introduction to Pattern Drafting online sewing course. Learn how to take super accurate measurements, create a block for both a bodice and a skirt from scratch, then how to fit the blocks to your measurements and adapt the pattern into a basic fitted shift dress that hugs you in all the right places! This is the course for you if you’re already familiar with dressmaking but you’re keen to start adapting or creating your own patterns to achieve an even better fit. If you’ve graded patterns between sizes before but not made your own blocks from scratch, then this is also for you.
Startup Library: Quilting
- Learn how to make your first quilt – Craftsy
- Skill level – beginner
Always wanted to try quilting but not sure where to start? This is the class for you! Award-winning quilter and author Christa Watson shows you the basics and beginner techniques as she guides you step by step through how to make a quilt. You’ll learn how to prepare your fabric, cut out the pieces and sew them into blocks, as well as basting, machine quilting and binding to create a finished quilt! This is a great confidence builder if you want to learn the ropes and then go on to
Sew the Ella Blouse
- Learn to sew a shirt – Creativebug
- Skill level: Intermediate
Update your wardrobe, me-made style, with this online sewing course to learn how to make a modern short-sleeved shirt with buttons down the back. You’ll learn how to make a dolman sleeve – one of the easiest sleeve styles to sew – with fashion and sewing influencer Tabitha Sewer. She guides you through each step of creating your own blouse, from adding darts for shaping, to binding the neckline with bias tape and sewing on buttons with a sewing machine. This versatile garment is a lovely little skills-builder to grow your confidence with making your own clothes.
Roman Blind Making The Professional Way
- Learn how to make roman blinds – Udemy
- Skill level – confident beginner
Level up your home sewing with handy hhints, and tricks of the trade to show you how to make your own Roman blinds. This course includes over 20 easy to follow videos with a step-by-step approach that means by the end of this course you will be confident enough to measure a window accurately, select and prepare fabrics, and stitch it all together to make your very own Roman blind at a fraction of the retail price. It even includes an explainer of child safety devices and how to prepare the blind for installation
Learn to sew skirts
- Make your own skirts today – Tilly and the Buttons
- Skill level – intermediate
If you can use a sewing machine and you’re ready and primed to start making your own clothes, Tilly Walnes is here to get you to the next step – making your own skirts! This beginner-friendly dressmaking course covers everything from using sewing patterns to marking and cutting your fabric, constructing your garment, making an elasticated waistband (no need for fiddly zips or buttonholes) and finishing the seams. You’ll learn to make the Dominique sewing pattern as you go – and the class includes the pattern so you can get going making your own at home as you watch. Learn how to sew an easy peasy straight skirt and progress to making a bias-cut flared skirt.
Quick & Dirty Sewing: Machine Crash Course
- Sign up today – Skillshare
- Skill level – beginners
Completely new to sewing? Treated yourself to a new machine in lockdown 1 last year but you’ve never been sure how to use it? This is the course for you. It’s the most popular of Skillshare’s impressive range of online sewing classes and comes highly rated by previous attendees. Not only will you get a guided tour of a standard sewing machine, discover the main parts of a sewing machine and get to grips with basic stitches. You’ll learn how to thread your machine, wind the bobbin, use different stitch settings, sew a straight stitch, zig zag stitch, basic seam, basting and gathering stitch and a buttonhole.
Serging Activewear – aka overlocking!
- Learn how to make made-to-measure activewear – Craftsy
- Skill level: expert
Whether you’re a runner, cyclist, yogi or crossfitter (or maybe you’ve become hooked on those Zoom workouts this past year), activewear sewing expert Melissa Fehr will teach you how to work with stretch and performance fabrics to whip up garments that are made to fit you and your workout. With 6 sessions and step-by-step guidance you’ll learn the sewing techniques needed for serging (or overlocking) leggings, tank tops and a hoodie-style pullover. No serger? No problem! This course includes tips for sewing activewear without one. If you’ve been thinking of treating yourself, head to our round-up of the best overlockers.
- Discover how to embroider flowers – sign up with Creative Bug
Embroidery is enjoying a well-deserved surge in interest this year, as the “Bridgerton Effect” has fuelled the pre-existing trend in classic embroidery techniques. In this online sewing class, Lauren Holton of Lark Rising Embroidery offers her expert instruction and helpful tips to teach you how to embroidery flowers and create a beautiful piece of home decor, learning a wealth of fill stitches along the way, including how to embroider satin stitch, leaf stitch, straight stitch, seed stitch, French knots and brick stitch.
Sew the Nina Jumpsuit
- Make your own jumpsuit – Creative Bug
- Skill level: Intermediate
We love this online sewing course so much as this DIY jumpsuit project is such the every-day, all-year-round garment that you’ll wear again and again. The second Creative Bug course in this round up by Tabitha Sewer (we’re not sorry – we love her style), will teach you how to sew your own comfy, wide-legged jumpsuit with criss-cross straps, side pockets, and midi-length legs. Oh yes people – let’s go! You’ll learn how to make a loose-fitting, casual jumpsuit, picking up amazing new skills along the way – from making your own bias tape, insert an invisible zip and sew buttonholes.
Ultimate guide to sewing and fitting trousers
- Learn how to make your own trousers today – Sew Over It
- Skill level – intermediate
The Ultimate Guide to Sewing & Fitting Trousers online sewing class is aimed at trouser-sewing newbies. If you’ve made a few garments before but never sewn trousers, this is the perfect place to start. Learn to sew two pairs of perfectly fitting trousers – this online sewing class show you how to make two patterns to build your skills: The Carrie Trousers are loose-fitting with a flattering flat-fronted, elasticated-back waistband and pretty pleats at the front plus ever-useful slanted pockets at the side seams, while The Ultimate Trousers are a mid-rise, slim-fitting, ankle-grazing trouser that’s shaped at the waist with darts – they close at the side seam with an invisible zip. The course comes with downloadable PDF patterns, start to finish step-by-step video tutorials taught by Lisa Comfort, written instructions, a series of written PDF guides on fitting and alterations, size charts, layplans and a supplies list
Working with difficult fabric
- Learn how to sew tricky fabrics – Udemy
- Skill level – advanced
When you’re levelling up your sewing skills, getting your confidence handling a wide range of fabrics can be a common block for many budding sewists. This extensive sewing course, in partnership with National Sewing Circle, is here to get you up to speed with sewing difficult fabrics, covering faux fur, sequins, faux leather and sheer or lightweight fabrics. Learn how to cut, press, and sew various fabrics and what tools work best.
How to sew jersey tops
- Master handling stretch fabric and make a jersey top – Tilly and the Buttons
- Skill level – next step beginner
Learn stress-free techniques for sewing stretchy jersey fabric… no overlocker or serger needed! This easy-to-follow online sewing class will show you how to make comfortable, wearable tops for every day. Never be sared of sewing stretchy material again. This online video workshop will teach you the skills to sew stretchy jersey fabric on a regular home sewing machine. It covers how to choose the right fabric, tips for accurate cutting, stabilising stretchy material and mastering stitching techniques, plus fitting jersey and preventing neckline gape, attaching sleeves and creating pretty ruched details with elastic.
How to use shirring elastic
- Learn how to sew this handy technique – Sew Over It
- Skill level – internediate
You might have come across shirring elastic before in some of your ready-to-wear clothes – or in a previous season of The Great British Sewing Bee! It’s used to sew multiple lines in a panel to create an elasticated gathering effect that adds style, fit or decoration to a garment. While some sewists find it daunting when they first start out making their own clothes, this online sewing course will help you to take it slow and listen to what your sewing machine is telling you, so you’ll be the master of shirring in no time.