Sewing is an art that can be perfected through practice and dedication. If you have never picked up a needle or used a sewing machine before, it can be hard to find a starting point. After all, the sewing machine can look quite intimidating to those who have never used it before.

As it turns out, Chicago, like New York and Philadelphia, is a great city to start your sewing journey as there are many courses available. With enough patience, dedication, and practice, you can take your sewing skills from beginner to the seasoned pro.

Black and white image of person using a sewing machine.
Learning how to use the sewing machine is an important part of sewing. (Source:

Basic Sewing Terms for Beginners

Like with every art, sewing has many vocabularies that can seem confusing to those who are just starting to sew. Some of these terms can seem straightforward, like sewing scissors while others remain an enigma to the humble beginner. This makes it important to get an understanding of some basic sewing terms before you start.

Spools of thread are used to put into the sewing machine to thread the machine’s sewing needle. You can get them in various colors to match the fabric you are working with.

You can learn how to thread a sewing machine in your very first beginner’s sewing class, as it is an essential component of learning to sew.

A straight stitch is one of the easiest stitches you can make on the sewing machine. It involves simply running the sewing machine down in a straight line. You can also hand sew a straight stitch as it is one of the easiest techniques to learn.

A seam ripper is a tool you can use to rip out any stitches you have made. It is good for correcting mistakes as well as taking apart old clothes that you want to repurpose as fabric for your other sewing projects.

Bobbins are another tool designed for use on sewing machines. Like the spool of thread, the bobbin also feeds thread into the sewing machine. But instead of coming from the top of the machine like the spool of thread, the bobbin is placed at the bottom of the machine where it stays hidden.

Sewing pins, buttons, thread, and bobbins on a measuring board.
Having the right supplies is a good starting point in your sewing journey. (Source:

Sewing Lessons in Chicago

There are many opportunities for you to learn sewing in the city of Chicago. A quick online search for sewing classes near you can yield many results. Being a major metropolis like Los Angeles and Houston, you can look up and join hobby groups run by one of Chicago's numerous sewing shops. What better way to dip your toes into the world of sewing than making some sewing friends you can talk to and share any sewing tips?

Sew Crafty Studio

Come to the Sew Craft Studio for your one-stop shop where both kids and adults can have their sewing fun! Private lessons are offered for those interested in one-on-one tuition. Parties and summer camp options are also available for those looking to make basic sewing a recreational group activity.

A popular class you can take is called Machine Sewing Basics. It is a 90-minute class where you are taught the basics of using a sewing machine as well as how to maintain it.

Open studio sessions are also available in 90-minute blocks where you can come in and socialize with other sewing enthusiasts as well as share each other’s tips on sewing.

Lillstreet Art Centre

The Lillstreet Art Center has been educating future artists of all ages in Chicago since 1975. Sewing enthusiasts can enroll in fabric classes to be part of the Lillstreet Textile Arts community. A newly renovated studio is available with plenty of space for sewing machines and serger machines for both professionals and beginners.

Some classes you can take here include the First Time Embroidery class which is great for beginners. It is a five-week course where you can practice skills such as chain stitch, bullion know, and complete a sampler of your work by the end of five weeks.

Another unique course you can take is called Zippers and Buttons where you can incorporate your knowledge of zippers and buttons into real projects.

Sew Anastasia

Named after founder Anastasia, who is a fashion designer with over 20 years of sewing experience, Sew Anastasia is a place where students can take sewing classes under the influence of Anastasia, who also works in the studio.

Private sewing lessons are available at a cost of $65 per hour while sewing parties can also be booked for those interested in having some fun times with friends. Other classes you can take are Basic Sewing, which teaches sewing for beginners like its name suggests as well as the Basics of Draping, which teaches you how to drape fabric over a dress form.

Threadline Studios

If you are interested in a workspace that’s fully equipped with all the tools you need to create costumes and custom-made clothing, come to Threadline Studios! It is designed for both independent artists and students alike, with both private workspaces as well as group workspaces where you can learn under the guidance of a mentor. All you have to do is to fill out a membership application before joining.

Safety pins, thimble, and sewing pins sitting on pink fabric.
Choose the right sewing class near you in Chicago! (Source:

Why Learn to Sew?

One reason to enroll in sewing lessons is that there are many useful things you can do with basic skills in sewing. One of these useful things is that you can mend your broken or torn clothes instead of tossing them away, hence saving the environment and the earth.

Knowing how to sew also prepares you to tailor any store-bought clothes to make them fit better. This will make you look polished in any article of clothing you own as well as save you the time, money, and energy required to go to the tailor.

Another reason to learn to sew is to make high-quality clothing for yourself instead of purchasing from a fast fashion store. As tempting as fast fashion stores can sometimes seem, with their flashy window displays and dirt cheap prices, their existence has raised many questions about how ethical production of fast fashion is and their negative impact on the environment.

As an attractive alternative, numerous people have boycotted fast fashion companies and turned into slow fashion as an alternative. This involves sourcing their own fabric and using that fabric to make their own clothes.

Despite the length it takes to learn to sew, many have found it to be a rewarding experience, giving you the added connection between you and the clothes you wear.

Sewing Materials

After finding the perfect sewing class, you have to make sure you have the right materials to improve your sewing techniques. To get started on your first sewing kit, consider getting your very own needle set with different size needles for different purposes. For example, embroidery needles are different than regular sewing needles, if you are looking to do some embroidery, consider adding them to your list of supplies.

Other sewing tools you will need are fabric and thread. Fabric can be purchased from any craft store as well as your local thrift store.

You can also upcycle any old clothes you don’t wear anymore, especially if it’s made of good fabric.

Lastly, you can consider purchasing a sewing machine, since learning how to use one is an essential part of every sewing lesson. After that, you’ll be on your way to sewing your next great piece in no time!

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Former high-school tutor with a passion for science and technology, I now work in the software industry and enjoy reading and learning about all kinds of topics.