Home SPO TVBeginner's Guide to Sewing Beginner’s Guide to Sewing (Ep 4): 1st Project

Beginner’s Guide to Sewing (Ep 4): 1st Project

by Sarah

In Episode 4 we’re actually making a project! That’s right; you suffered through 3 episodes to build a strong foundation, not it’s time to have some fun.

Now, as the saying goes, there’s more than one way to skin a cat. Every sewists has his/her own special process. I’m going to teach you the way I sew, because the techniques I use just makes sense to me. However, if someone taught you differently, and it works better for you, go with that method.

We’re going to learn many techniques using this McCall’s Wacky Creatures pattern, mostly because it’s a fun beginner’s project and forces you to practice curves and corners. No better way to learn than to just throw yourself in the there. Plus, it’s a silly stuffed animal – so,  who cares if your seams are a little wonky or if you mess up? It’s suppose to look a little funky anyhow…

wacky creatures patttern

We go over A TON in this video and it can be a little overwhelming. For those whom need a bit more clarification, I’ve included more in depth instruction in this post (scroll to the bottom).

IMPORTANT: You are NOT to judge yourself and/or your sewing ability. Period. This is a learning process. If you constantly compare yourself to the Martha Stewarts of the world, you’ll end up getting frustrated. The point is to practice and be proud of yourself for learning something new!

If you don’t have the Wacky Creatures pattern, I’ve provided a similar version.

Stuffed Animal Pattern - Sewing Parts Online

The pattern is a bit different, but the techniques are the same. Download this pattern and print out. Make sure to unclick the “Fit picture to frame” box.

stuffed animal pattern printing instructions

Then, take it to Kinko’s and enlarge by 100% (or more/less if you like). Luckily, you get to skip all the “matching up notches” mumbo jumbo. However, make sure to review that process (matching notches, pattern adjustments) for future reference.

Supplies You’ll Need



Fabric (for the body)

Felt (for the face and eyes)


Hand sewing Needle

All Purpose Thread

Universal Needle 90/14

Polyfil Stuffing (1 pound is fine)

And Other Fun Embellishments you want to add

Here are the techniques you’ll learn with this 1 project:

Cutting a Pattern

Adjusting a Pattern on the Center Fold

Top Stitching

Hand Sewing a Whip Stitch

Sewing Curves

Sewing/Pivoting Corners

Stuffing with Polyfil

Hand Sewing a Slip Stitch

The hand sewing is only briefly touched on in the video. Both techniques are super easy and, remember, they don’t have to be perfect. Even my stitches are a little wonky.

Basic Whip Stitch

You literally just whip the thread around the edge. It’s a very fast and easy stitch. Simply knot your thread on the wrong side at the start and finish of your stitch.


Basic Slip Stitch 

This one requires a little more focus and takes a bit longer, but the end result is awesome. Start by hiding your knot in the fold. Then simply zigzag back and forth only catching the seam allowance. Try to aim for just under the fold.

slip stitch

When you are finished, the seam should be invisible.

slip stitch finished

As always, if you have any questions, please feel free to leave them in the comment section below!

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Ronnie Saunders October 23, 2015 - 3:41 pm

I’m a beginning sewer. Thank you for these episodes because I was ready to throw my machine out of the window! My machine was thread nesting something awful and I will use the methods you described to fix it. Again, thanks.

Sarah October 30, 2015 - 1:16 pm

I’m so glad our video helped and no sewing machines were thrown out any windows!

Catrina Byrge April 1, 2015 - 2:15 pm

Hi Sarah, I’m looking at your videos/sewing tutorials and you mentioned the pattern for the monster. Can you tell me where to find the download or am I just not seeing it because I’m on an iPhone perhaps?

Thanks again!

Sarah April 17, 2015 - 5:37 am

Hi Catrina! It might be because you are on an iphone, but if you use a computer, you can right click on the picture of the black and white pattern and “save picture as”. Then follow the steps to print on your home printer. Let me know if that works – good luck!

Liz March 4, 2015 - 4:41 am

I have a question. I have a sewing machine made by Penney model 1500 I think. I’m not sitting in front of my manual. I plate that covers the bobbin doesn’t have those markings on it to let you know the inches like 5/8, 3/4, 1/2 etc. can I purchase a plate that has the seam allowances on it so I can see where I need to be. My seams are not equal. My finish products create problems for me because my seams aren’t equal on both sides.

Sarah March 6, 2015 - 10:05 am

Hi liz! Unfortunately, there isn’t much available for Penney machines, as the maker went out of business years ago. In order to find an alternative plate, we would need you to send us a picture with the measurements of your plate. That way, we can match it up with a plate with all those nice allowances. You can email us a picture at info@sewingpartsonline.com.
If you don’t want to wait around, the best way (and something I do even with the plate measurements) is mark my seam allowances by measuring the distance from my needle (with a seam guage) to however long I want the seam allowance (ex. 5/8th). Then, I just place a piece of tape and sew along it.

Alice Smith February 28, 2015 - 2:20 pm

Nice video and a great project for beginners. Thank you for doing this video!


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