If you're thinking about taking beginner's sewing classes online, you'll find a number of options. If you're on a tight budget, take advantage of free lessons and forums. If you're looking for a structured class with lots of instructor feedback, check out some fee-based offerings. Even the free classes are well-structured, with lots of diagrams and clear explanations. Follow their suggestions for beginning projects, and you'll be finishing your first sewing project in no time.
Some things in life are free. Craft and Fabric Links (see Resources section) offers a free online sewing book for beginners. Full of diagrams and illustrations, the book begins with the basics about buying fabrics and choosing patterns in Chapter Two, and progresses to sewing darts and pleats in Chapter 10. You'll even find a glossary of hand-sewing and embroidery stitches. At the Sewing Support website (see Resources section), the free lessons begin with assembling your sewing tools and move through choosing and preparing patterns and fabrics, learning to stitch and sewing your project. Julie Culshaw offers a series of projects designed for beginners at the Sew What's New website (see Resources section) and answers questions on her Beginner Sewing Board. The first project is a pull-on skirt.
At Pattern Review (see References section), you pay a fee to order a class (beginning with Sewing Lab 101 for those who have never sewn). You receive instructions, pictures and access to a chat room where an instructor will answer questions during your class time. Classes run for four weeks and the cost is £25.90 each, as of December 2009. Sew Like a Pro (see References section) lessons begin with the basics of fabric preparation and stitching seams. The lessons are presented as PDF files, and e-mail support is available for anyone who purchases a lesson. The price of each lesson is £16 as of December 2009. Universal Class (see References section) offers a self-paced, online course in basic sewing. Choose from a certificate program for £81 or just the course for £65. These prices were in effect as of December 2009.
Sometimes you have a sewing question and nobody to ask. Sewing forums are good sites for getting answers to your questions as well as ideas for projects and sewing tips. Recent threads on The Sewing Forum (http://www.thesewingforum.co.uk/forumdisplay.php?f=39) include how to understand a pattern, the best filler material for a microwaveable warming toy, sewing different types of fabrics, advice on buying a cutting mat and using a serger.