Learn to Machine Sew: free sewing course for beginners

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Welcome to the Learn to Machine Sew course for beginners! I created this free sewing course in 2014 after receiving loads of comments from readers saying that they love my projects, but that they don’t feel proficient enough with their sewing machine to attempt them. I realized just how daunting sewing can be to a true beginner.

Learn to machine sew with the Cucicucicoo FREE sewing course for beginners! Each lesson has a practical tutorial to use the new technique to make something you’ll love! #sewingcourse #sewing101

My mother taught me the basics of sewing when I was in middle school, and then I learned the rest through sewing books, tutorials and videos online, and LOTS of trial and error. It took me years to put together the bits and pieces, so I decided to give my readers all the tools they need to learn the basics all in one place, that way they could start using my sewing projects and tutorials.

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I’ve been an EFL/ESL teacher since 2000, so I know how important it is to practice, practice, practice in practical situations. The same goes for sewing. It’s important to learn the new technique, but you really learn it well when you use it for a “real-life” project. This is why I’ve organized this course with a classroom-style technical lesson, followed by a practice tutorial. That way readers can learn the technique, practice it, and then make something useful with it! (The first week of the course is the only one without a project tutorial, just to get students used to the basic tools needed.)

How to use this course

If you are an absolute beginner, I highly suggest you follow the structure of the course syllabus as it is laid out below. I have organized it so that each practical tutorial uses ONLY the techniques dealt with up to that point. If you already have some experience and know some sewing techniques, feel free to skip around, although I highly suggest reading them all, because there’s always something new to learn!

Learn to sew online with the Zero to Hero 2 week sewing challenge by Cucicucicoo! In just 14 days go from being a stranger to your machine to sewing your first me-made garment, a pair of comfy pajama pants! #learntosew #sewing101

Or, if you want quick results, sign up for my FREE “Sewing Zero to Hero” sewing challenge! I will send you an email each day for two weeks, guiding you from knowing nothing about sewing to being able to sew your very first me-made garment! Click here to find out more and sign up!

Thinking about learning to sew? Here are 10 things that you need to know to choose the best sewing machine for beginners (and why there isn’t just one!) www.cucicucicoo.com

Before you start machine sewing, you obviously need a sewing machine! If you don’t have one yet, first read this post on how to choose your first sewing machine.

Want recommendations for the best sewing supplies? This extensive list suggests the most useful notions, fabrics, machines and books for your sewing habit! www.cucicucicoo.com

Once you have a sewing machine, start with the first two lessons (Sewing Machine Anatomy and All About Fabric). You might also want to look at my series Cucicucicoo Recommends, in which I discuss the sewing supplies that I myself use and love.

I add to this course syllabus regularly, so make sure to check in every so often to see what’s new! If you don’t want to miss any of the lessons or practical tutorials in this course, sign up for the Cucicucicoo Newsletter! That way you’ll get notified of all the posts and also get free patterns and lots of other exclusive content!

If you have any questions, leave a comment below or write to me at lisa (@) cucicucicoo.com. Happy sewing!

Learn to machine sew with the Cucicucicoo FREE sewing course for beginners! Each lesson has a practical tutorial to use the new technique to make something you’ll love! #sewingcourse #sewing101
Learn to Machine Sew, Lesson 1: The Anatomy of a Sewing Machine
Lesson: The anatomy of a sewing machine
Learn all about the many different types of fabric, understand how they differ and how to best use them! A cucicucicoo.com Learn to Machine Sew lesson!
Lesson: Understanding fabric
Learn to Machine Sew online course for beginners, Lesson 3: How to Straight Stitch
Lesson: How to straight stitch
Learn to Machine Sew, Straight Stitch Practice Tutorial: Simple Quilting
Practice: Straight Stitch Quilting
Learn to Machine Sew: How to Backstitch (or Staystich) on a Sewing Machine
Lesson: How to Backstitch
Backstitch Practice Tutorial: How to Darn Jeans (a.k.a. How can I save my favorite pair of jeans?!)
Practice: How to Darn Jeans
Lesson: Sewing with seam allowance
Practice: Simple Felt Coasters
Turning and Topstitching: Learn to Machine Sew, Lesson 6. Why and how to turn and topstitch, including clipping and notching curves/corners and using a blind hem foot for close topstitching. See more at www.cucicucicoo.com
Lesson: Turning and topstitching
Free Tutorial: Easy pot holder pattern using the method Turn and Topstitch. Part of the "Learn to Machine Sew" series on www.cucicucicoo.com!
Practice: Easy Pot Holders
Learn to Machine Sew, Lesson #7: How to Sew a Perfect Hem. Learn an easy trick to make your hems perfectly even! | www.cucicucicoo.com
Lesson: Hemming
Tutorial: How to sew an envelope pillow cover. This project practices hemming, covered in the Learn to Machine Sew series for beginners on www.cucicucicoo.com.
Practice: Envelope Pillow Cover
Tutorial: How to Sew Boxed Corners in two different ways! Part of the Learn to Machine Sew series on www.cucicucicoo.com!
Lesson: Boxed Corners
Easy DIY gift bags with boxed corners. No drawstring casing necessary! Tutorial on www.cucicucicoo.com
Practice: Reusable Gift Bags
Learn to Machine Sew: How to Zig Zag Stitch | www.cucicucicoo.com
Lesson: the zig zag stitch
How to sew bathroom rugs from upcycled towels and sheets! Fast, easy and ecofriendly! | www.cucicucicoo.com
Practice: Bathroom Rugs
Learn to Sew: How to applique with a sewing machine, both symmetrical and non-symmetrical shapes | www.cucicucicoo.com
Lesson: How to Machine Appliqué
Learn to Machine Sew: How to applique a t shirt to cover logos, stains or tears. A simple trick to make your appliqué come out perfectly every time! www.cucicucicoo.com
Practice: Appliqué on T-shirts
Learn what the free arm on your sewing machine is and how to use it when joining or hemming tubular pieces in garments and other sewn items! So useful!
Lesson: How to Use the Free Arm
Kids grow out of their trousers and rip holes in the knees quickly. But don't throw those ruined clothes away! It's quick and easy to turn old pants into shorts with the help of the sewing machine free arm!
Practice: Refashion Pants to Shorts
How to sew an exposed zipper: use a zipper foot to perfectly insert and topstitch a zipper. www.cucicucicoo.com
Lesson: How to Sew a Zipper
Learn to Machine Sew practice tutorial: How to sew an easy zippered pouch for storing pencils, crochet hooks, makeup or whatever else! You can also change the dimensions and make an easy zippered pillow cover! www.cucicucicoo.com
Practice: Easy Zippered Pouch
How to sew an elastic waistband with a casing. Part of the Learn to Machine Sew series on www.cucicucicoo.com!
Lesson: How to sew a casing
Dress to skirt refashion 2
Practice: Dress to skirt refashion
Hand sewing doesn’t have to be hard! Learn how to ladder stitch (or invisible stitch), a technique essential to closing up openings easily without any visible threads! Photo + video tutorial! #handsewing #sewbyhand
Lesson: How to Ladder Stitch (by hand)
How to sew an infinity scarf in one or two fabrics: a Cucicucicoo Learn to Machine Sew tutorial | www.cucicucicoo.com
Practice: Sew an Infinity Scarf
Having trouble with wavy seams, snapped thread and holes in your homemade knit garments? These 10 tips will help you overcome problems and you'll be sewing knits perfectly in no time! Check it out at www.cucicucicoo.com
Lesson: How to sew knit fabric
Make a cool and snuggly accessory from your family’s old T-shirts, even if they’re ripped or stained! This tutorial shows how to cut up shirts and piece them together to create a colorful and unique infinity scarf! www.cucicucicoo.com
Practice: T-shirt Infinity Scarves
Sewing lesson: How to sew a buttonhole with or without a buttonhole foot on a sewing machine - www.cucicucicoo.com


Lesson: How to sew a buttonhole

Never use a plastic bag for your fruit and veggies again! Here's how to sew reusable produce bags in two different ways! www.cucicucicoo.com
Practice: Drawstring Produce Bags
How to Sew an Exposed Elastic Waistband: an easy alternative to fussy zippers and elastic casings! Learn how on www.cucicucicoo.com
Lesson: Sew an exposed elastic waistband
Free sewing pattern! How to sew a circle skirt in one or two layers. www.cucicucicoo.com
Practice: Circle Skirts (1 or 2 layers)
Sewing concave and convex curves together (or an enclosed circle) is easy once you know a little trick. Learn how with a free pattern for a curvy potholder! Part of the Learn to Machine Sew course on www.cucicucicoo.com!
Lesson: Sew concave & convex curves together
FREE sewing pattern! Get ready for school with this fully lined pencil-shaped pencil case tutorial by www.cucicucicoo.com
Practice: Pencil-shaped pencil case (with free pattern!)
Learn to sew the easiest elastic waistband ever- with no casing or twisting! www.cucicucicoo.com
Lesson: Attach elastic waistband without casing
Sew kids' pants from sleeves - a www.cucicucicoo.com tutorial
Practice: Kid pants from sweatshirt sleeves
This easy photo + video tutorial tutorial shows how to sew knits with a twin needle! Get a professional finish on your home sewn stretch garments with this special double needle! #twinneedle #doubleneedlesewingLesson: Sew with a Twin NeedleComing soon on www.cucicucicoo.com!Practice: [Coming soon!]
Become best sewing friends with your stitch unpicker tool! Learn how to use a seam ripper correctly to remove individual stitches or to quickly tear out whole lines of stitching in one go! #seamripper #sewingtoolsLesson: How to use a Seam Ripper CorrectlyComing soon on www.cucicucicoo.com!Practice: [Coming soon!]
Nicely finished seams are a sign of professional quality sewing. Learn how to sew French seams for a perfectly clean finish in just a few minutes! #sewing #frenchseams
Lesson: Sewing French Seams
No more ripped plastic bags with the One Square Tote, an easy tote bag sewing tutorial made from a single square of fabric! Simple and eco-friendly! #reusableshoppingbag #totebag
Practice: Easy Tote Bag
walking foot 1
Lesson: the walking foot
Sweater refashion tutorial: How to slim down a huge maxi cardigan... the EASY way! www.cucicucicoo.com
Practice: Resize a cardigan
How to sew PUL fabric (for waterproof layers in cloth diapers, pads, wet bags and changing mats) | www.cucicucicoo.com
Lesson: How to Sew PUL Fabric
Changing mat 1
Practice: Baby Changing Mat
Always wanted to make your own swimsuits, but are afraid to try? Here are 10 important tips and tricks that will help you learn how to sew bathing suit fabric for amazing customized DIY swimwear!
Lesson: Sew Bathing Suit Fabric
Sew your own swim gear with this FREE swim cap pattern and tutorial in four sizes, both kids and adults! A must-have for swimming in pools and open water!
Practice: Swim Cap

Bias Tape Series

Learn how to use bias tape, one of the most useful sewing notions! Find out how to make it and various ways to use it, with free projects, tutorials and patterns! #biastape

Lessons, tips, tricks and projects to learn what bias tape is, how to make it,
various ways to use it and practical project tutorials!

Extra Content

The importance of fabric drape and why you need to understand it in your sewing. A sewing lesson in the free Learn to Machine Sew course for beginners on www.cucicucicoo.comWhy fabric drape is so importantHow to shorten a zipper in less than two minutes! A mini-tutorial on www.cucicucicoo.comHow to shorten a zipper
Learn about winding a bobbin on a sewing machine. Knowing how to wind a bobbin is very important and needs to be done for every spool of thread you sew with, and can be different for every model of sewing machine. Video tutorial included! #sewing #bobbinWinding a Bobbin on a Sewing MachineLearn how to insert a bobbin in a front loading or top loading (drop-in) sewing machine. Correct bobbin insertion is crucial to successful sewing. The video and photo tutorial show all the steps to correctly load the bobbin in both types of machines. #bobbin #sewingmachineHow to Insert a Bobbin in a Sewing Machine
Got a new sewing machine? Save yourself much frustration and learn how to pull up the bobbin thread! This avoids a common beginner’s mistake that leads to tangled and broken thread! #bobbin #sewing101How to pull up the bobbin thread in a sewing machineThe new Elna Lotus is a beginner sewist’s elecronic machine, revisiting a classic piece of modern design. This tutorial on threading Elna Lotus sewing machine, with its unusual shape and thread spool position and layout, will get your ready to sew! #elnalotus #threadingsewingmachineHow to Thread an Elna Lotus Sewing Machine
How to felt wool sweaters in the washing machine: make your own boiled wool for crafting or sewing from old sweaters, cardigans, jumpers, blankets or any other thrifted wool items! www.cucicucicoo.comHow to Felt Wool Sweaters in the Washing MachineTutorial: How to sew a felted wool cover with a leaf appliqué from old sweaters. Free template included! www.cucicucicoo.comPractical Tutorial: Sew Felted Wool Pillows
Learn how to blanket stitch on felt or other fabrics for a pretty edging on your sewn projects. Video and tutorial show how to hand sew blanket stitch on one or more layers on a straight edge or round piece! #handsew #blanketstitch #embroideryLesson: How to sew the blanket stitchComing soon on www.cucicucicoo.com![More coming soon!]

Using Sewing Patterns

How to print and assemble PDF sewing patterns, to get them ready for cutting fabric! | www.cucicucicoo.comHow to print and assemble PDF sewing patternsHow to cut fabric from a pattern: a few basic rules. Part of the Learn to Machine Sew series on www.cucicucicoo.com!How to cut fabric from a pattern
How to hide sizes you don't need in PDF patterns: no more confusion with extra unnecessary lines! www.cucicucicoo.comHow to hide sizes you don’t need in PDF sewing patternsHow to cut mirrored pattern pieces when preparing fabric for sewing... two ways! www.cucicucicoo.comHow to cut mirrored pattern pieces
Learn how to adjust the crotch in pants for a perfect fit! Simple pattern alterations avoid pulled or baggy fabric along your bum or crotch curves, making you look the best you can! #patternadjustment #crotchcurveHow to adjust the crotch curve in pants patterns for a perfect fitHow to lengthen or shorten a sewing pattern for a perfect fit - www.cucicucicoo.comHow to lengthen or shorten a sewing pattern to fit perfectly
Save time and effort when repurposing fabric: how to reuse existing hems with a sewing pattern. www.cucicucicoo.comHow to reuse existing hems in repurposed fabric with sewing patternsMake your own DIY pajama pants pattern in just 10 minutes by tracing a pair of your pants that fit you correctly. This tutorial gives really useful tips for drafting the sewing pattern perfectly! #patterndrafting #diysewingpatternHow to draft your own pattern for pants with elastic waistband
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Don’t forget to Pin this course so that you’ll have it whenever you need it!

Learn to machine sew with the Cucicucicoo FREE sewing course for beginners! Each lesson has a practical tutorial to use the new technique to make something you’ll love! #sewingcourse #sewing101

*Last edited 06 March 2020

100 thoughts on “Learn to Machine Sew: free sewing course for beginners”

  1. Thank you so, so very much for sharing you knowledge and skills! I just bought my first sewing machine and am so daunted by starting…until I came across your blog!
    As I live in Saudi Arabia, there is no place/or person who offers practice lessons, so your site is helping a tremendous amount!

    Thank you thank you xxxx

    • That makes me so happy to hear, Joanne! I know that it can be daunting to start something so big as sewing, especially if you don’t have anyone to show you how to at least get started. That’s was exactly why I wanted to create this course, so that people learning can find all the skills they need in one place, plus ways to use the skills as they learn them! Good luck starting, but remember that sewing should be fun, so just enjoy it! Let me know how it goes!

  2. Oh thank God…I was directed this way from MammaNene’s page, who I found through someone else’s page, blahblahblah…looks like your course might be right up my alley, and we’ll be creating actual, useful items, not all baby clothes (which are useless to me)…thank you! Let my education begin… (*trumpet blares*)

    • No, Beth, it should last longer than that. Are you cutting something odd (not fabric) or a lot of layers at once? Or are you accidentally cutting into the edge of the ruler? I’ve ruined rotary blades by doing that.

  3. Just inherited a sewing machine. I’m new to all this. Yours was the only tutorial that explained threading and pulling up the bobbin thread properly!
    Wondering, when I cut the threads when I’m finished stitching, I seem to always have to rethread and pull the bobbin thread through. Is this normal, or am I cutting the threads incorrectly?
    Thanks so much for sharing your knowledge

    • Welcome to sewing, Karin! What an exciting time for you! I suggest you pull the fabric out from under the presser foot before cutting it. This makes the threads longer so that they won’t pull back through the needle eye or down below the needle plate. If you’re already pulling it out before cutting it, give a little extra tug to make the thread ends longer. Let me know how it goes!


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