7 Easy First Sewing Project Ideas for Adults *TESTED*

Last summer, I spent 2 days teaching my cousin how to sew. She had never used a sewing machine before.

Here are 7 first sewing project ideas for adults. I would genuinely recommend all of these to beginners like my cousin.

I tested every single idea on this list to make sure it was easy enough.

  • You can make all of these using only a basic sewing machine and tools.
  • They all involve only a few lines of stitching.
  • They all use easy-to-sew fabrics.
7+ first sewing project ideas for beginners

Ps. if you’re not sure how to use a sewing machine yet, here’s a step-by-step tutorial with pictures: how to use any sewing machine in 8 steps. It includes instructions for basic and computerized machines.

And here’s how to prepare fabric for sewing.

I also send 1 free sewing pattern to people on my email list every Thursday! A sewing pattern is a printable template that you use to cut fabric. It’s a fun way to get sewing ideas every week. You can join here to get my emails about free patterns 🙂

Easy pillowcases for your bed

My first tutorial is an ‘envelope’ pillowcase. This means it has an inner flap that hides your pillow insert.

This tutorial is based on the design and measurements that many stores use.

This sewing project involves:

  • Cut and sew 2 rectangles together.
  • 5 lines of straight stitches and 3 lines of zig zag or ‘overcast’ stitches.
a diy red check pillowcase on a bed

My second pillowcase design has an inner flap and ‘french seams’.

French seams are a simple sewing technique to hide the raw edges of fabric. It creates a super neat finish. There will be NO messy raw edges in your pillow.

This sewing project involves:

  • Cut and sew 2 rectangles together.
  • 4 lines of straight stitches. That’s it!
a diy blue check pillowcase on a bed
a hand opening an envelope pillowcase

Easy scrunchies

This sewing project involves:

  • Cut and sew 1 rectangle of fabric.
  • (Optional) cut and sew 1 bow.
  • Just sew 2-3 lines of straight stitches for the scrunchie. And 3 lines of straight stitches for the bow. You’ll learn how to sew curves if you make the bow.

Here’s my tutorial for diy scrunchies using hair ties (also known as ponytail holders). I included a video to make it even easier to follow.

a blue gingham scrunchie, a hair tie, and blue gingham fabric.
I made this scrunchie using an old hair tie.

I used the seamless scrunchie method for the 2 below. This is nice if you don’t want your stitching to show on the outside. A video tutorial is also included.

a hand holding a black plaid DIY scrunchie
black scrunchie with bow tail

I have a printable sewing template to help you make these scrunchies. It’s available to download from my resource library and it’s free.

Easy cloth napkins

Custom napkins are great for holiday dinner parties. Here’s my sewing tutorial for simple napkins.

This sewing project involves:

  • Cut 1 square of fabric for 1 napkin.
  • Fold each edge twice and sew. So that’s 4 lines of straight stitches and you’re done!
a diy navy napkin and placemat on a table with cutlery and plates.

**One Free Sewing Pattern. Every Thursday. Join the Email List 🙂**

Unlined tote bags

Tote bags are a good entry into sewing with thicker fabrics.

The first bag sewn in this tutorial is great for beginners. It’s a straightforward unlined tote bag.

The cutting measurements are: cut 1 piece of fabric 16″ x 36″ (40.5cm x 91.5cm). And cut 2 cotton canvas twill tapes 27″ long (68.5cm).

Your fabric should be medium or heavy weight. For example, quilting cotton is medium weight and cotton canvas is heavy weight. Cotton canvas will give you a stronger and more structured tote bag.

Easy headbands using stretchy fabric

This sewing project involves:

  • Cut 2 rectangles of stretchy knit fabric.
  • 6 lines of stitching. 4 are straight stitches and the other 2 are zig zag stitches. There are no curves to sew.

This is a nice step-up after you get used to sewing non-stretch fabrics. You’ll learn how to use narrow zig zag stitches to make projects that stretch. Headbands are small projects that only need short lines of stitching, so I recommend them for your first knit fabric project.

This sewing tutorial shows you how to make a flat headband. The finish is nice and neat. It’s based on the construction method that many stores use. I studied 7 professional headbands to learn this.

a female mannequin wearing a grey wide headband, and 3 diy wide headbands on a table.

This sewing tutorial shows you how to make a twisted headband. There are a few more steps involved to make the twist, so I would start with the flat headband and then move onto this. 9 lines of stitching are needed for this.

a female mannequin wearing a purple twist headband, and a diy twist headband on a table.

Ps. both of the tutorials include a free PDF pattern. You print this out and use it to cut your fabric. Cutting measurements are also provided if you don’t have a printer.

Simple skirt with an elastic waistband

An easy clothing project idea is pull-on skirts with elastic. You just cut and sew 1 or 2 rectangles at the sides. Fold over the top edge twice to create a casing, leaving a small gap to insert your elastic. Sew the gap closed. Then fold the hem twice to hide the raw edges.

Here’s a sewing tutorial that shows you this:

**I Find the Best Free Sewing Patterns and Share Them Every Thursday. Don’t miss out. Join the Email List :)**

Simple aprons

Half-aprons are a really simple option. They’re often just made from 2 or 3 rectangles of fabric.

For aprons with full-body coverage, check out my post on sewing patterns for aprons.

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