Often as experienced sewers we either volunteer or are asked to help teach someone to sew. When you’ve been sewing for many, many years it’s easy to forget the very basic things that a newbie needs to know. The sewing.org Guidelines series is a great place to start. Guidelines are one- and two-page educational articles in pdf format that can be downloaded and used in your education sessions.
There are also lots of books for beginners, but three I’ve read recently seem extremely apropos. The New Handmade, by Cassie Barden, focuses on easy projects that appeal to young and old. Look for totes, place mats, a zippered bag, apron and oven mitt amongst the colorful offerings. All offer great styling and only require beginner skill levels to complete.
For clothing afficianados, Start with a Sweatshirt, by Nancie Wiseman, showcases five different designs all on a sweatshirt base. Piecing and surface design accents add interest to the fashionable offerings, and you’d never know that they began with a humble sweatshirt.
If your beginning sewer is a bit more craft oriented, check out Jean Therapy, by Scatha Allison. This spiral-bound tome is all about “deconstructing” denim and giving it new life. The edgy fashions will entice beginners with a penchant for the unusual and avante garde. In addition to the projects, there is a designer gallery as well.
When your beginner “graduates,” a perfect gift would be The Dressmaker’s Technique Bible, by Lorna Knight. This handy spiral-bound book is a concise reference for almost any sewing technique you could imagine. It’s well illustrated and precisely indexed for ease finding just what you need. It’s a great refresher book for experienced sewers as well as a wonderful reference for beginners.