Can you learn to sew with online sewing classes?
Yes you can learn to sew online. However I think you will advance quicker if you are able to take at least a few in person sewing lessons or a quick demo by a sewing friend, especially when it comes to pattern making, fitting and tailoring techniques.
Let me explain this a bit better, because I think it highly depends on how you like to learn, what you want to learn and how much time you have.
Here are a few examples and my thoughts on:
Want to learn basic sewing skills and techniques? I'd say, yes! You can learn this online. You can learn to sew simple bags, zippered pouches, pillows, bedding, aprons, Tsuno tie bags, reusable gift wraps. There are many step by step video tutorials for all these projects. There is probably a video out there explaining how to set up your specific sewing machine. If you buy your machine at a local shop they can often do a quick demo too. To get to know your sewing machine and slowly build your skills, these projects are great. If you are up for a challenge this can be a fun challenge!
Want to learn how to sew simple garments, loose fitting garments, or garments for kids? These are a wonderful step up once you've mastered the basics. You might have to learn to do some simple alterations like, lengthening or shortening a pattern for a better fit. For most of these you'll be able to find free and step by step videos out there. Grainline Studios is an indie pattern company with great video tutorials to accompany many their patterns!
Want to learn how to make garments from patterns fit your body perfectly? Now we are getting into the more intermediate / advanced skills. Many sewers do make it work by photographing and filming themselves to check the fit of their garments, however someone with a keen eye for fit and knowledge of pattern alterations is gold! I find this is the hardest to learn from videos, books and photos.
- Want to learn how to draft your own patterns with your own measurements? I would say doing an in person course or a few classes would be the way to go. This will give you a great foundation to build on. When I studied fashion we had to make a tailored jacket to with our own measurements, but you were paired up with another student to measure and do the fitting, because it's so hard to do it correctly on your own body. I still have the jacket and the pattern :)
So yes you can probably learn everything online, but in person classes can speed up the learning proces and make it less frustrating. You often work alongside people who are working on the same or similar projects so you get to see a different technique or different materials in action. You get help immediately when you run into a problem, it's fun and I think in person classes just work better for certain people. Even of you live in a small town, there's probably someone offering affordable sewing lessons so you can skip the overwhelm and just get started on the good stuff.
Personally I like to mix online and offline learning, but when it comes to sewing skills I learned the foundation of sewing and patternmaking during my time at the Willem de Kooning Academy where I studied fashion.
Can you learn to sew for free online?
Yes, you can definitely learn basic sewing skills for free online. There is lots of fantastic content freely available on YouTube. However, it can be very time consuming to find relevant and quality classes online. Plus I often find a lot of YouTube videos will skip over details that are important for total beginners. But it is possible to piece together a complete sewing course from free content, you'll just have to invest time to find the right videos.
If you are reading this and have a tip for a channel with solid beginner videos? please leave a comment below with a link and why we should check out that channel!
What is a good place to find paid sewing classes online?
So what if you don't have time to piece together all the information and don't mind investing some money in an online course? Online sewing courses are a great option! I've learnt so much online and I still learn something new regularly. I often take online classes because there are some great options out there. I've only had experience with Craftsy, Domestika and Skillshare.
Online courses are often project based, so you'll learn to make a bag, a dress or a jacket and pick up a few handy skills along the way for each project that you do. But there are foundational courses out there too.
If you are like me and like to do on demand classes, then I would suggest looking at Craftsy, Domestika and Skillshare. I have bought several single classes from Domestika (around $10 per class) and Craftsy. With Skillshare I pay for a yearly subscription. I'm also a teacher on Skillshare. Sadly, being a teacher doesn't earn me a free subscription, but I think it's worth the subscription fee!
Domestika let's you pay per class, and then it's yours. There is a plus membership available with a monthly credit, a discount on all classes + a selection of classes you can freely watch during limited time.
Their sewing video catalogue is limited, but there are a few that look great, like this one by Elisalex from By Hand London. I haven't taken any of their sewing classes, but I've done a few fantastic embroidery classes and water color classes.
Domestika is a curated platform with classes produced by a professional team. The platform works well and they often have nice deals on single classes or bundles where you can save considerably. Many classes are in Spanish some in English, but all have subtitles. I've watched a few Spanish classes and have to rely on the subtitles, which are not always easy to follow since they seem to be automatically generated.
Craftsy has many quality classes and you can buy a single class or use their affordable membership option (in 2022 $7,99 p//m). I just saw they have a cool feature that allows you to share your subscription with 3 friends or family members.
I have only taken embroidery classes on Craftsy, but they were well produced and inspiring, so I expect the same to be true for the sewing classes. They have some classes on fitting that have gotten praise in some of the sewing groups I'm in on Facebook.
I think Craftsy is a great and affordable option if you want access to lots of online sewing classes.
Skillshare only works with an subscription fee, you can't buy single classes. Their catalogue is a mix of Skillshare Originals, Staff Picks and regular classes. Skillshare Originals are produced by Skillshare and are well produced, high quality classes.
The rest of the classes are uploaded and filmed by the teachers, so the quality can differ, however many are good quality and the best get awarded with a Staff Pick badge. Since I have a Skillshare subscription I've watched a few sewing classes and I even uploaded my own class to Skillshare.
My favorite sewing classes on Skillshare
To be clear the Skillshare links below are affiliate links and will give you a free 30-day trial, If you decide to sign up after the trial I receive a small commission, it doesn't cost you anything extra, but it does help me make educational content, tutorials and future classes. Plus you get to watch thousands of Skillshare classes not just the sewing classes. I hope the classes I mention will help you to decide if a Skillshare membership is worth it for you.
I've made a list of a couple of my favourite Skillshare classes.
1. Sewing Basics: Make Your Own Clothing by Denise Bayron
Denise is a wonderful teacher and the class is focused on total beginners. I don't think the title is completely correct for the class. The class focuses on garment making techniques, but you will not learn to sew a garment from beginning to end in this class.
However Denise breaks down the techniques in understandable chunks so it's easy to follow along as a beginner. She's also good at mentioning the tiny details that beginners need to hear and are often skipped over in random YouTube tutorials.
The sewing techniques covered in this class will give you a decent basic knowledge of techniques you'll definitely come across in garment making. Great practice if you follow along during the class.
The total class duration is 1h 55min and includes a pdf with some additional resources. Check out the Beginner sewing class by Denise Bayron.
2. Hand Sewing Basics: Work Wonders with Fabric, Needle & Thread by Bernadette Banner, Dress Historian & Filmmaker
Join dress historian and YouTube star Bernadette Banner and go back to hand sewing basics.
My first ever sewing project was a pair of pyjama pants I sewed by hand and I made sooo many mistakes. I wish I had seen Bernadette's class then, but alas my pant sewing was pre internet era. She shares a wealth of knowledge without it getting overwhelming.
She teaches hand sewing basics for sewing fabric, how to sew on a button by hand and shares many tips and tricks along the way. Hand sewing is such a useful skill even if you have a sewing machine, sometimes you just can't get around it.
The total class duration is 1h 9m Check out Bernadette's class and a 30-day trial.
3. Sewing Fundamentals: Your First Zippered Project Made Easy
Dylan Mierzwinski, Illustrator & Lover of Flowers
Dylan is such a fun teacher! The class covers working with the dreaded zipper, which is not as difficult as it sounds. Making a zippered pouch is the perfect place to start and Dylan will take you by the hand and keep you engaged.
The total class duration is 1h 9m. The class includes a pdf with all the materials needed, doesn't include a PDF pattern because you'll make that in class. Click here for the class and a free 30 day trial to watch ALL Skillshare classes
4. Learn to Sew a Crossbody Bag With Cork Fabric a.k.a Cork Leather (Pattern Included) Charlotte Kan, Embroidery / Sewing
And lastly I'm sharing my own class. In this class by you'll learn how to sew with cork fabric to make a simple crossbody bag. If you call yourself an adventurous beginner then you should be able to handle this class, but it is more challenging because cork is different to work with compared to regular fabric. But If you are curious about how to sew with cork fabric a.k.a cork leather or vegan leather and you want to learn some basic bag making skills, this is the class for you!
When I first got interested in cork fabric, I had no idea if you could sew the material with a normal home sewing machine, what needle to use or where to find it. Turns out...yes! You can sew cork leather on a regular sewing machine and with a few handy tools it's not as hard as it looks.
The total class duration is 1h 47m. The class includes a basic PDF pattern. Click here for the class and a 30 day trial to watch ALL Skillshare classes.
"Thanks! I made it myself."
You a year from now.
Whew! that was quite the list! And I've shared only a fraction of the classes available on Skillshare So is it worth getting Skillshare? I think it's worth to take a yearly subscription it if you can find at least 15 classes in total that you would really like to take. So if you are interested in sewing, embroidery, water color and making illustrations in procreate for example, I'm sure you'll find many fantastic classes to make it worth the investment. I've had a subscription for 5 years now and I still manage to find new classes that interest me on a monthly basis. But using the 30-day free trial to take advantage of all these sewing classes is a no brainer, totally worth it!
Would love to hear about your honest experience with Skillshare, Craftsy, Domestika when it comes to learning how to sew and do chip in if you know a good YouTube channel to follow for free beginner sewing classes.
Happy sewing :)
PS: looking for a fun and free sewing project? Sign up to the newsletter for a free copy of the smallest Tsuno Tie Bag and sew up some scraps. If you sign up you also get access to the free printable swatch library, sewing project planner and a few other handy templates. You'll receive the files in your welcome mail :)