If you are just learning how to sew you want to start off with simple patterns and material that is easy to work with. You don’t want to work with materials such as satin, silk, or other slippery material until you have at least the basics down. The reason being is that silk and other slippery material is more difficult to hold in place during cutting and sewing. Also, some of these materials are easily distorted by certain sewing needles.
Other materials to avoid if you are sewing for the first time are materials that stretch or have large prints like plaids or diagonal patterns. Stretchy material is difficult to sew as the material tends to stretch out as it passes through machine, thus resulting in a distorted seam. As for large prints, they have to be lined up at seams and can be confusing and frustrating for those just learning to sew.
Furthermore, you’ll save yourself more frustration by avoiding very lightweight and heavyweight fabrics. Lightweight fabrics are likely to pucker if you’re not careful with the needle and tension. Heavyweights will not pucker, but they are more difficult to work with as they aren’t quite as manageable and might result in a bulky seams if you’re not careful. In addition, your sewing machine might not like them either especially when it comes to finishing thick seams. It’s also very easy to break your needles when using heavyweights, so it’s best not to learn on these fabrics.
Easy to sew fabrics are usually plain and medium weight. They don’t have prints that need to be aligned at the seams, they are easy to handle, generally do not bulk and your machine will thank you. Plain fabrics, such as poplin, or cotton broadcloth are great fabrics to learn with. Cotton broadcloth is a sturdy, yet soft material and can be found in many different colors and is suitable for a lot of different projects.
Natural fabrics like cotton and lightweight wools are great for the beginner because the stitches tend to easily blend into the fabrics. So if your stitches aren’t perfect it won’t matter so much because the material will help to hide some of that.
When shopping for easy to sew fabrics, look for darker prints because they will help to hide imperfect stitches better than lighter prints. Small prints are also great because they don’t have to be matched at seams.
To help you determine whether a fabric is easy to sew, fold it over as if you were to create a seam. If it’s bulky or slippery then it will be more difficult to work with. Find something that lays flat and somewhat remains in place.