Learn to Sew Your Clothes

Learn to Sew Your Clothes

a project-based journey

Ashley looks off to the side, wearing a teal Hinterland Dress in front of a brick wall,
Hinterland Dress (Fit and Sew Bodices and Tops 1)

Want to sew your own clothes?

We’ll teach you how, with 11 wardrobe-building courses that take you from complete beginner to completely confident.

You can follow our carefully-designed learning path from beginning to end, at your own pace.

Or you can take only the courses best-suited to grow your skills wherever you are on your journey.

Are you trying to figure out sewing machines, fabric, sewing patterns, and setting up a sewing space? “Intro to Sewing” and our community of sewists is here to help.

Once you’ve got a handle on all that and are ready to dig into a project, come sew some PJ Pants in “Sewing Basics 1”.

If you have the basics down and are ready to take your skills to the next level join us and make a matching PJ Top in “Sewing Basics 2”

the benefits of learning with us

Sew Liberated’s Learn to Sew Your Clothes learning path is different from other online courses. Each of the courses on our path is designed to bring the benefits of an in-person class straight to your sewing room. We’ll provide:

  • expert, high-quality instruction.
  • access to your sewing instructors long after standard class hours have ended via our robust online support group, where we can communicate via message, photos, and video questions/responses. If you run into a challenge, we’re here for you and will walk you through it.
  • a stylist-designed series of projects that build your skills in a logical way … and create a fun wardrobe in the process!
  • the freedom to speed up, slow down, or repeat instruction as necessary.
  • the ability to work from the comfort of your home, on your own schedule.

Each course includes lifetime access to over 5 hours of step-by-step instructional video. All videos include the option to watch with closed captioning.

As you move along your learning path, you’ll notice that we provide you not only with courses that increase in skill level, but we will teach you how to properly fit your clothes, as well.

These fitting-focused courses are integral to your happiness as a sewist and a person-who-wears-clothes. You will love how our online support group provides you with the technological tools to be able to get fitting feedback and suggestions as you integrate this important skill.

We’ll provide fabric suggestions for each of your projects, so you can easily make a decision and get to sewing. 

You’ll get useful and fun resources to go along with what you’re learning. We’ll share our recommended tools, sewing podcast episodes, books, articles, and tutorials.

Each course also includes 3 months of membership in the private, online Learn to Sew Your Clothes support group, hosted by Sew Liberated’s team on our own platform, where you can ask any questions, post photos of your projects, and get to know other sewists on the same journey. 

We’re also happy to partner with some of our favorite online fabric shops to give you discounts on your fabric and notions orders.

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Thanks for all your hard work, loving this platform hidden away from all the ads and gimmicks of social media. I typically tend to be a mostly silent observer on social media and often forget to engage or share, but your platform really makes me want to join in.

Emmiline L.
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The course is absolutely incredible, and a true labor of love. It SHOWS! My husband is in cinematography, and I was so excited to show him the production value alone - you are doing an amazing job. It's like a masterclass - seriously! I know how much work, coordination, hours and hours of filming and edits, care and attention go into each and every fiber of this course (I work for a company that does online courses.) Please know how magical you have made this for us all.

Melanie T.

Why learn to sew?

That’s a great question, especially when you can buy or thrift your clothing with the click of a button. But there are a number of benefits that ONLY come from learning to sew your clothes.

Some of these benefits are obvious:

  • Better fit for your body. Learning to sew will allow you to make clothes custom-fit to YOUR body. All bodies have different shapes and curves, no matter their size, but fashion brands only design for a certain set of proportions. So you may find yourself tugging on your clothes, or wishing they laid better over your curves. Once you learn to sew, you can say goodbye to all of that frustration.
  • Better fit for your style. Choose your fabric, color, pattern, and silhouette … so much is possible with sewing skills. Never again feel frustrated with clothing that is either too long or too short, and never ever suffer through another day without pockets! Find a pattern you love? Make multiples in different, fun fabrics. The list goes on and on.

Some of the benefits of learning to sew are less obvious, but powerful:

  • A new appreciation for the importance of how we clothe ourselves. If you aren’t yet concerned about the human and ecological consequences of fast fashion, you will be after you make your first garment. You will know the love and effort that goes into each stitch, and you will be more likely to care for that piece as the years pass, deciding to mend or alter it to fit your needs, rather than just throwing it aside at a local thrift shop.
  • A supportive community. Sewing friends are such amazing friends! For years, we have supported each other virtually via blogging and social media, and you’ll be hard pressed to find a more generous, uplifting, I-totally-get-you-and-your-passions group of folks. Friendships can blossom in comments and DMs, sure, but we sewists love taking virtual friendship into the real world.
  • A sense of agency when so much in our lives feels out of our control. Sewing is tangible. It lets you set aside your anxiety and focus on making something real with your hands. You can control this one little piece of your world, even if you aren’t perfect at it. Learning a new skill brings you into the present moment, and we all know that spending time in the present moment is good for your mental health.
  • Practice solving problems in new ways. Yes, sewing will build a (pretty rad) technical skill set, but it will also build your mental skill set! To get from point A to point B in a project, you often have to pause and do some forehead scratching – and this is good for you. Learning to sew is a path of small failures and perseverance before success, and you will emerge with more confidence in your ability to problem solve in other areas of your life, as well.

Why choose to learn to sew with Sew Liberated?

There are plenty of other options out there for learning to sew, from paid courses to ad hoc YouTube tutorials.

  • As one of the first independent sewing pattern companies, Sew Liberated has been a trusted leader since 2007. But we aren’t just informed by needle and thread. Meg has a Masters in Education, and brings her knowledge and passion for how people learn to everything that Sew Liberated produces: from beautifully clear instructions to designing student journeys that teach technical skills while also empowering students to embrace mistakes as learning opportunities and build new confidence in their ability to problem solve. Combined, Meg and Shaerie (your instructor) have over 50 years of experience in both sewing and sewing education.
  • We have designed a clear, project-based learning path for you to follow, ensuring that you progress in a logical and stress-free way. We’ve taken the guesswork out of what skill or project to work on next – an overwhelming and time-consuming prospect for a beginner. Each subsequent sewing course (and pattern) was specially designed to build upon the skills learned previously. What’s more, at the end of it, you’ll have a collection of pieces that work well together.
  • Unlike most learn to sew courses and tutorials, you won’t find your instructor moving at lightning speed, watching their hands accomplish moves (and see finished results) that look nothing like yours. Instead, we opted to re-create the situation in which most people learn best: in a classroom, in real time, with peers. You will experience less frustration and feelings of inadequacy because you’ll recognize your own experience as a beginner in our student Sophia, who will be modeling what it really looks like to learn to sew.
  • We have built the Learn to Sew Your Clothes course series and support platform to meet the specific needs of different kinds of learners – and ensure their success. Some people find that their ability to successfully follow through and learn new skills greatly increases with the help of accountability groups. You’ll find exactly that in our support group platform. For those who learn best at their own pace and on their own terms, the learn-at-home, video format is perfect, and combined with the ability to get helpful answers from our team as questions arise, we’ve got you covered. We’re invested not only in helping you start your journey, but in helping you successfully follow through on your commitment to learn to sew.
Shaerie is smiling wide, looking straight ahead. She is wearing brown glasses, a hand dyed handkerchief, and a blue top.

Your instructor,

Shaerie Mead

Teaching people how to sew their own clothes is Shaerie Mead’s jam, and she’s been doing it for decades.

In addition to being a patternmaker and designer of her clothing line, Iona, she owned the much-loved Sew LA, a workshop space where she taught hundreds and hundreds of folks how to sew.

Shaerie’s clear, detailed, and approachable teaching style will put you at ease and deliver so many “ah-ha!” moments. She really gets how beginners learn, and she’s got your back.

Your other instructor,

Meg McElwee

There’s little Meg loves more than bringing mindfulness and a little bit of humor to the practice of sewing.

She brings her background as a progressive educator to the design and back end of the Learn to Sew Your Clothes series, and can’t wait to pop in to the lessons here and there to inject her expertise in sewing and creative styling.

Learn more about Meg, the founder of Sew Liberated.

Sophia is wearing a yellow sweatshirt and looking off to the left with a big smile.

Your fellow student,

Sophia Kiser

You won’t be alone on your journey! You’ll learn by watching upbeat and intrepid Sophia learn to sew.

She’ll ask all the important beginner questions that are on your mind. Thanks to Sophia’s candid learning curve, you’ll realize that everyone makes little mistakes, and it’s ok! Mistakes are simply the way we hone new skills.

You’ll be delighted to observe Sophia blossom as a sewist as the lessons progress, right alongside you.

what you’ll learn

Learn to Sew Your Clothes: a Project-based Journey

Intro to Sewing

Price: $79, which includes 6 hours of video instruction and 3 months of membership in the Learn to Sew online support group.

Get to Know Your Sewing Machine

What kind of machine should I get? How do I use it? What in the world is a bobbin? And how do I troubleshoot wonky stitching and jumbled-up thread? You’ll know all these answers and more by the end of this module – you’ll be a competent sewing machine operator!

Your Basic Sewing Toolkit

A list of every tool and supply you’ll need to begin, as well as why you’ll need them.

Tips for Setting Up Your Sewing Space

Tour Meg’s beautiful home sewing studio and learn how she creates a cozy environment that is both useful and peaceful – no matter the size of your space. 

All About Fabric

What’s the difference between wovens, knits, rayons, linens, cottons, etc.? What type should I look for? By the end of our virtual field trip to Mulberry Silks in Carrboro, North Carolina, you’ll feel confident in your ability to choose the right fabric for your first project.

How to Use Sewing Patterns

Learn how to read a sewing pattern info sheet, how to take your measurements and choose your size, how to cut your pattern sheets, and much more.

Handmade jeans with a leather label stating, "I made these, imagine what else I could do."

Check out the patterns included in each course.

Each pattern comes in sizes 0-34. We will ship the pattern pieces right to your door.

Meg is wearing brown floral, flannel Nocturne Pajamas in front of a brick wall.

Sewing Basics 1&2: the Nocturne Pajama Set

the nocturne pants

Sewing Basics 1

Project: Sew the Nocturne Pajama Pants

Price: $129, which includes the Nocturne Pants sewing pattern, pattern pieces shipped to your door (free shipping in the US), 6 hours of video instruction, and 3 months of membership in the Learn to Sew support group.

Pajama pants are the BEST first project – low stakes, very useful, and a perfect form of self-care. The Nocturne Pajama Pants are perfect for loungewear, but depending on the fabric you choose, you can also wear them out and about. The pants feature a simple, comfortable paper bag waist, with the option of a lower rise, basic elastic waistband. The pockets, of course, are deep and luxurious.

Skills learned:

  • How to lengthen or shorten a pattern
  • How to choose between elastic types
  • Working with notches
  • Understanding fabric anatomy
  • How to properly iron and press
  • Confidently cut out your fabric
  • Pin
  • Sew straight and curved seams
  • Press
  • Finish your seams so they don’t unravel
  • Sew an elastic waistband
  • Hem

the nocturne top

Sewing Basics 2

Project: Learn to sew a PJ top

The Nocturne Top’s distinctive notched and gathered yoke can just as easily be paired with jeans as it can be with pajama pants. This cozy, pullover top with a slight high-low hem can be made with short or long sleeves depending on the season.

Skills learned:

  • The benefits of making a muslin
  • How to sew a yoke
  • How to sew gathers
  • How to sew sleeves

seam finishes and more

Beyond Sewing Basics (Now Available!)

Project: Sew the Studio Tunic

A layering marvel, the Studio Tunic will be your go-to companion with leggings, jeans, over tees or under cropped sweaters. Pop it on as an apron in your art studio or workshop, or simply add it to any outfit, instantly upping your cool art teacher vibes. Did we mention you’ll love the pockets? Choose between scoop and v-neck options.

Skills learned:

  • Different kinds of interfacing, and how to work with them
  • How (and why) to staystitch
  • How to grade between sizes
  • How to understitch
  • How to sew pleats
  • How to sew French seams
  • How to sew shaped facings
  • How to sew patch pockets
  • Topstitching skills

a versatile dress pattern

Fit and Sew Bodices and Tops 1 (Coming in 2022)

Project: Fit and sew the Hinterland Dress

The iconic handmade dress, our much-loved Hinterland, provides an ideal opportunity to delve into how to get a good bodice fit. The Hinterland offers a timeless, comfortable, and elegant silhouette. Featuring three sleeve options, partial or full button down plackets (as well as a no-placket option), customizable length, and inseam pockets, this is a pattern workhorse that spans the seasons.

Skills learned:

  • How to “read” a muslin
  • Fitting principles
  • How to raise or lower a dart
  • How to do a full bust adjustment (FBA)
  • How to do a small bust adjustment (SBA)
  • Shoulder and back adjustments
  • How to do a full bicep adjustment
  • How to sew bust darts
  • How to sew bias facing
  • How to sew a placket
  • How to sew buttonholes

working with knits

Learn to Sew with Knits 1 (Coming soon)

Project: Sew a pair of Limestone Leggings

The super cozy, super practical Limestone Leggings will demystify sewing with stretchy fabric. And good thing, because knits are simply the most comfortable fabrics to wear. Fill in any gaps in your loungewear drawer with these minimally seamed, ultra-forgiving leggings with a wide, foldover yoga waistband. You’ll be surprised how quick these are to sew!

Skills learned:

  • How to pick the right fabric for your project
  • How to choose the right size for knit patterns
  • Machine settings to successfully sew knits
  • How to sew strong seams for knitwear
  • How to hem knits

sew t-shirts

Learn to Sew with Knits 2 (Coming soon)

Project: Sew some Bedrock Tees

Essential building blocks of your wardrobe, Bedrock Tees meet all your needs for relaxed t-shirts, offering both short and long-sleeved options as well as a regular relaxed fit and a cropped, boxy fit. You’ll never need to buy a tee again!

Skills learned:

  • How to pick the right fabric for your project
  • How to work with lighter weight knits
  • Troubleshooting wavy seams
  • Sew knit bindings and bands
  • Twin needle top stitching
  • Serger (overlocker) 101
  • Coverstitch machine 101

sew a blouse

Fit and Sew Bodices and Tops 2 (Coming in 2022)

Project: Fit and sew the Arroyo Blouse

The Arroyo Blouse takes the basic button-down shirt and elevates it to easy-wearing elegance. With a stunning shawl collar, extra wide cuffs, and billowy sleeves that can be worn at the wrist or pushed up, the Arroyo is a basic that is anything but. You’ll reach for it all the time, pairing it with jeans, skirts, and even under dresses. (Try it under a sleeveless Hinterland Dress!)

Skills learned:

  • Review of fitting principles
  • Tips for working with drapier fabrics like rayon
  • How to sew a covered placket
  • How to sew elastic button loops
  • How to sew cuffs
  • How to sew a shawl collar
  • How to sew a blind hem by hand or machine

fun pants that fit

Fit and Sew Pants 1 (Coming in 2022)

Project: Fit and sew the Cosecha Pants

A dress-it-up or dress-it-down trouser with a unique pocket construction and a side zipper, the Cosecha Pants don’t skimp on pocket size and ease through the hips and upper legs. Easy to peg and cuff, you’ll love that these pants work equally well with stompy boots and a Bedrock Tee as they do with flats and a dressier Arroyo Blouse.

Skills learned:

  • Determining your pants size
  • How to grade between sizes
  • How to “read” a pants muslin
  • Fitting principles
  • Tips for working with bottomweight (heavier) fabrics
  • How to adjust the rise
  • How to insert a lapped zipper
  • How to install jeans buttons
  • Heavy duty topstitching 101

sew a zipper fly

Fit and Sew Pants 2 (Coming in 2022)

Project: Fit and sew the Arthur Pants

This whimsical pant re-imagines a wardrobe staple: casual pants with a uniquely fun shape. The Arthur Pants are part of our collaboration with designer Debra Weiss of Specks and Keepings. The Arthur Pants combine the classic comfort of wide-legged pants with dramatically shaped side seams and a tapered hem. The fit is relaxed, with plenty of ease, a high, elastic-backed waist, a lowered crotch, and roomy pockets.

Skills learned:

  • Review of fitting principles
  • How to sew a zipper fly
  • How to sew slash pockets
  • How to sew a waistband tab
  • How to hand-sew a thread shank for a button
  • How to sew flat-felled seams
  • How to sew an elastic-backed waistband

sew a coat

Sewing Outerwear (Coming early 2023)

Project: Fit and sew the Alluvial Coat

Sew the Alluvial Coat and conquer the ultimate sewing goal – a beautifully finished, lined coat, complete with welt pockets, button cuffs, vintage-inspired collar, and all the bells and whistles. With its bohemian chore coat vibes, the Alluvial Coat is the perfect way to wrap up your Learn to Sew Your Clothes journey.

Skills learned:

  • Determining your coat size
  • Picking the right fabric for your coat
  • Tips on working with heavyweight fabric
  • How to sew hem facings for shaped hemlines
  • How to sew a notched collar
  • How to sew welt pockets
  • How to make a button tab cuff closure
  • How to bag a lining
Meg holding a stack of fabric in an oustretched arm.

Learn to sew your clothes, gain …

self-confidence

passion

unique style

clothes that fit

self-expression

creativity

healing

well-being

connection

community

Here’s how it works:

Each course is a stand-alone class – a “stop” on a carefully designed, logical learning path, from novice to advanced intermediate. Take as many or as few courses as you’d like.

We are producing these courses during 2022, so you will notice that new courses become available as the year progresses.

If you are a novice sewist or want to refresh your foundational skills, we recommend starting at the beginning of the Learn to Sew Your Clothes learning path: Intro to Sewing.

If you are a more experienced sewist but are looking for help with more intermediate techniques such as fitting, zippers, collars, linings, and the like, add your name to the wait list at the bottom of this web page and we will notify you when courses become available.

We want to honor everyone’s creative journey. It is an absolutely valid creative path to say, “Hey, I am happy sewing simple shapes without many flourishes and finishes, so I don’t need to learn all about button plackets, fancy pants, or sewing coats.” There is no universal finishing line for your sewing skills. You decide how content you are with your current skills (or how curious you are to learn more!) Take every single course on the learning path, or choose to take any course that fulfills your current needs.

We are committed to meeting you where you are on your creative journey, and walking along beside you, one stitch at a time.

FAQs:

Will my course materials expire? Do I get lifetime access?

Yes, with your purchase you get lifetime access to the course videos and other materials. You also get lifetime access to the downloadable PDF sewing pattern paired with the course.

Your membership in the Learn to Sew support group lasts for 3 months after your course purchase. (We will soon have an option for those who would like to stay connected to a robust online sewing community. Stay tuned!)

When can I start, and how much does it cost? 

“Intro to Sewing” is available for enrollment now. “Intro to Sewing” costs $79.

“Sewing Basics 1: Learn to Sew PJ Pants” is also open for enrollment. The cost is $129, which includes the Nocturne Pants sewing pattern and printed pattern pieces shipped to you (there may be an extra shipping fee for those outside the US). This price is similar to what you might pay for a comparable in-person class.

We are hard at work behind the scenes producing the next courses on the learning path. We plan to release a new course every 6 weeks through the early months of 2023. Subsequent courses will be priced similarly to Sewing Basics 1.

What if I’m not a beginner but I’m interested in the more advanced courses on the learning path?

You’ll be able to sign up for any course on our learning path as soon as it becomes available. Because we’re producing the learning path this year, not every course will be available right away. Make sure you’re subscribed to our newsletter and we’ll let you know when more advanced courses open for enrollment as 2022 progresses.

Do I need a machine and tools to get started?

To take Intro to Sewing, you DO NOT need a machine or any tools. In the course, you’ll learn what to look for, what to avoid, and where to source your basic sewing toolkit, and how to buy fabric, among other considerations. For Sewing Basics 1, you will need to have a machine, basic sewing toolkit, and fabric.

How do I get my patterns?

If you sign up for Sewing Basics 1 or beyond, your pattern is included in your course purchase. We will mail your pattern sheets to your door, and you will be able to access your PDF pattern (which includes your instructions) from your My Account page on Sew Liberated’s website. Downloads do not expire.

How do I know if the patterns will fit me? 

We pride ourselves in having an inclusive size range. All of the patterns on the Learn to Sew Your Clothes learning path fit bust measurements up to 58.5” (147 cm), waist measurements up to 52.5” (133 cm) and hip measurements up to 61” (155 cm). We draft for a dressmaker’s C-cup (that’s a 3″ difference between your high bust measurement and your full bust measurement) and a height of 5’5″ (165 cm).

I sewed a bit decades ago, what class should I start with?

If you feel confident working and maintaining your sewing machine, choosing garment fabrics, and working with a sewing pattern, then you can skip Intro to Sewing and start with Sewing Basics 1.

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