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Topic: Sewing questions for all you sewing gurus :)  (Read 1167 times)
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« on: September 30, 2007 06:36:14 AM »

Ok, so the sweing experience I have is from home ec classes in elementary school (about 15+ yrs ago). I did fairly well there, but after being bit by the knitting bug, I want to pick this sewing business back up, too. So here are my questions (and think of me as brand new to this, but I do learn quickly):

If I find that my sewing machine does NOT work, can I do the sewing by hand? Someone gave me the sewing machine, but I have yet to try it out.

Would it be immensly difficult for me to follow, say a Vogue pattern (e.g. a pattern bought at JoAnn)?

Would it be wishful thinking for me to think that I can alterate my existing clothing?

I'm probably more interested in making dresses and skirts in the beginning, but may branch out once I get the hang of it. And I do have a slight tendency for biting off more than I can chew - I'm working on that one, though.  Grin

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« Reply #1 on: September 30, 2007 06:46:04 AM »

In order -

Yes, you can sew by hand.  Women did it for centuries (millennia?) before the sewing machine was invented. In fact, the neatness and regularity of a woman's stitching was a pride point ---- makes those Victorian hoop skirts look a lot different when you realize they were put together a hand-stitch at a time.

As to patterns - just like with knitting, there are easy sewing patterns and hard sewing patterns.  The key is to get an easy one first until you get the knack of the notations and putting pieces together. Vogue is often one of the more difficult ones (because they often do the more interesting things Smiley ).  Simplicity and McCalls are *generally* easier to start with.

Altering existing clothing may actually be easier if you are forced to hand sew since much of the basic seam lines will already be done. A lot of the success there is in being able to envision the finished product and playing with the fabric to get it there.  My daughter is (and my mother was) MUCH better at this than I am.

You go girl - just remember to have fun with it, and also remember that with knitting you didn't start out as an expert.  There will be slow going and failed attempts but that is how you learn.
« Reply #2 on: September 30, 2007 06:58:26 AM »

Excellent! Hehe - I actually did mean to put Simplicity or McCalls as the example, but the names escaped me. I did see that they had difficulty levels on the patterns, and was thinking of obeying their suggestions..hehe.

I want to be able to make simple, yet classic work clothes etc., so I guess that's to my advantage when starting out, right?

I forgot to ask this; if my sewing machine doesn't work - what's recommended for a beginner (but that will last into higher skill levels)? I saw the Hello Kitty one, which also has great reviews...?

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« Reply #3 on: September 30, 2007 07:13:12 AM »

I have had my Kenmore for years and love it.  It is nothing fancy but rock solid.
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« Reply #4 on: September 30, 2007 10:09:54 AM »

REMINDER:  Please do a search for sewing machine recommendations.  This is a topic that has come up repeatedly in this thread.  You might also try the Products Recommendation area of the site.

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« Reply #5 on: September 30, 2007 11:07:17 AM »

I have heard the Hello Kitty machine is too weak for regular sewing.  I have a Viking and love it but it was $500; some of their newer machines are a lot cheaper though.  You will probably want a sewing machine because handsewing is very tedious and will likely not produce the results you want. 

I have found that Simplicity and New Look have the easiest patterns to follow.  Pick something with relatively few lines and practice, practice, practice. 

I have altered existing clothing but relatively few of them have come out the way I want.  You have to have a good eye for that kind of thing (or a larger tolerance for mistakes than I have). 

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« Reply #6 on: October 01, 2007 01:43:35 AM »

I would also suggest that, in the beginning, you get patterns that are 3 or 4 hour patterns - they're usually labelled as such by the pattern makers.  They're simpler designs, easier to sew, and a great way to get your feet wet without wanting to tear your hair out or cause bodily harm to someone.  Cheesy  You'll still learn a lot by using those initially without being overwhelmed.

Good luck!

« Reply #7 on: October 01, 2007 06:07:43 AM »

Thanks everyone! (Keep tips coming, if possible) Grin I can completely identify with that last post...hehe. I'll just have to dig out my current machine and see if it works ok, and take it from there. I do know that hand sewing is an option, I was just concerned with the tedious/slow aspect. Wink  I wanted to ask you guys about all this, before I go completely crazy in a fabric store, only to realize I can't make it happen. Wink

« Reply #8 on: October 01, 2007 06:11:02 AM »

Oh, and one last question:

Has anyone here ever taken a favorite piece of clothing, be it pants, jacket, dress, or whatever, and sewn 'clones' of that piece? I've been wondering how hard that would be (since you don't have a pattern w/instructions, etc)....

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« Reply #9 on: October 01, 2007 06:40:19 AM »

Has anyone here ever taken a favorite piece of clothing, be it pants, jacket, dress, or whatever, and sewn 'clones' of that piece?

This can be a really successful way of making clothes. I've done it with really easy shapes (stretch t-shirts and dresses), but I've also done it with jeans and trousers.

You need to be very patient and trace each piece carefully (remembering that the front and back are often different), and add seam allowances. The only tricky bit can be getting the grain in the right place - this can make a huge difference in the hang of the final garment.

But as always, just get in there and experiment!

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