Need Ideas: beginner sewing projects
www.sewingmamas.com has great FREE downloads. Lots of easy projects there.
Reusable totes would be a great beginner project :) As would some small wipes/washies for use around the house. For those, you would cut the fabric (flannel would be best) to the size you'd like. I'd suggest 10"x10". Take two pieces and put the right sides together so you can see the wrong sides on the outside. (If it's a print that would go to the inside, if it's a solid, don't worry so much. Most flannel is double napped and without a print it's hard to tell right/wrong side!) Then you would stitch 1/4" to 1/2" (you decide! Smaller harder...larger easier.) from the edge all around, but leave a 2-3" space in the middle of one of the sides. Trim the seam allowance on any spots that look overly wide and around the corners. Then turn it 'right side out' by pulling through that hole you left. Use a knitting needle or dowel to 'poke' the corners out well. Use your fingers to press it all out nice and flat (or iron if you wish). Then topstitch about 1/4" from the edge all around the outside closing the hole where you turned it :) It's a little 'fussy' for 'just' wipes, but this is a great practice sewing project for cheap! Make a few dozen and you'll know your machine better and be able to sew straight lines better as well :)
Making cloth napkins is a great beginner project. Here is a well done tutorial:
I made a bunch of cloth napkins in fun fabrics when I first started sewing, & we still use them every night for dinner. They add some color to the dinner table, & we save some trees!
Bean bags are an easy project for you to make for your little one too. 18 mos is a good age for those. There are a ton of games to play, or just simply putting them in a bowl and dumping them out again.