Learn to Sew Your Clothes

Learn to Sew Your Clothes

a project-based journey

Hinterland Dress (Fit and Sew Bodices)

Want to sew your own clothes?

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

Take them all, in order, for a seamless learning experience, or choose a single course based on what skills you’re looking to develop.

Sophia, our Learn to Sew Your Clothes student, sewed her first practice seam ever!

Are you trying to figure out sewing machines, fabric, sewing patterns, and setting up a sewing space? “Intro to Sewing” 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”

Meg wearing a caramel-colored Studio Tunic

Take your sewing to the next level, learning heirloom seam finishes, how to sew facings, and more.

Learn how to fit any woven bodice to YOUR body while sewing the iconic Hinterland Dress.

Sophia, our Learn to Sew Your Clothes student, sewed her first practice seam ever!

Which Learn to Sew course is right for you?

We have courses for sewists of all levels, from complete beginner to advanced.

Unsure about where to begin? Our simple quiz will find your perfect starting point on Sew Liberated’s Learn to Sew Your Clothes pathway.

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 lifetime membership in the private, online Learn to Sew Your Clothes course-specific 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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I have tried to learn pattern drafting from books, and have taken pattern drafting courses at community college, but not until Sew Liberated courses have I felt confident that I'm learning the concepts. Honestly, these are absolutely the best courses anywhere! Great designers, great teachers, and great website. You all rock!

Laura
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I want to express how much I am enjoying the Learn to Sew courses. Shaerie is such a clear and fun instructor who answers even the most basic of questions. I learned something new in all the Learn to Sew courses. I also love Judith's super positive support in the chats in the course community.

Stephanie E

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.

“Shaerie is one of the best teachers I have come across, and I have taken A LOT OF CLASSES!” – Karen

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.

“I’ve spent hours and hours with Shaerie and Sophia (I have taken every single class!) Sophia has grace, enthusiasm and a wonderful sense of humor.” – Lisa

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 lifetime 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 lifetime 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 choose fabric
  • How to take your measurements and choose your size
  • 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
  • Pinning 101
  • How to sew straight and curved seams
  • How to finish your seams so they don’t unravel
  • How to sew an elastic waistband
  • How to hem pants

the nocturne top

Sewing Basics 2

Project: Learn to sew a PJ top

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

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:

  • Taking proper measurements and choosing a size
  • Lengthening and shortening a pattern
  • The benefits of making a muslin
  • How to sew a yoke
  • How to sew a notched collar
  • How to sew gathers
  • How to set in and 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: The Hinterland Dress

Project: Fit and sew the Hinterland Dress

The iconic handmade dress, our much-loved Hinterland, provides an ideal opportunity to delve into how to fit a bodice. 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

Project: Sew a pair of Limestone Leggings and a Crop Top

The super cozy, super practical Limestone Leggings and Top set 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 essential wardrobe pieces, You’ll be surprised how quick these are to sew!

Skills learned:

  • How to choose the right fabric for your project
  • How to fit garments with negative ease
  • Cutting tips and tricks for knits
  • Fitting modifications for busts of all sizes
  • Machine settings for working with knit fabrics – no matter your machine
  • Recommended stitches for strong seams
  • Troubleshooting guidelines
  • Professional hemming and finishing techniques
  • The ideal, ultra-comfortable method for adding wide elastic to a sports bra
  • How to work with narrow elastic and insert it in necklines, armscyes, and waistbands for increased durability and better fit

fun pants that fit

Fit and Sew Pants (Coming in 2023)

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
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 – and the online support group for your course You also get lifetime access to the downloadable PDF sewing pattern paired with the course.

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

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

The following courses are also available for enrollment, at $129 each. Each of these classes includes a pdf 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.

“Sewing Basics 1: Learn to Sew PJ Pants”

“Sewing Basics 2: The Nocturne Top”

“Beyond Sewing Basics: The Studio Tunic”

“Fit and Sew Bodices: The Hinterland Dress”

Our next course, “Learn to Sew with Knits” will be available in the coming weeks.

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

You can jump right into Beyond Sewing Basics or Fit and Sew Bodices if you feel you are ready for them. You might also want to check out The Creative Hinterland, an advanced course focused on pattern making, using the Hinterland Dress. And we are working to produce more intermediate and advanced level course in the future. Make sure you’re subscribed to our newsletter and we’ll let you know when more advanced courses open for enrollment in 2022-2023.

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, and all subsequent courses 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). Fit and Sew Bodices takes you through several types of bust, sleeve, and bodice adjustments as well.

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.

Have other questions?