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Topic: New Sewer - Overwhelmed :-/  (Read 6697 times)
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« on: January 07, 2011 03:44:11 AM »

Hi everyone I'm pretty new to sewing... I did sewing for home ec in high school, but that's about it. Always been really interested in it, but hand sewing frustrates me to no end, and I've never had access to a sewing machine growing up, so havn't ever really done it. The other day I bought a basic sewing machine, I can sew in a straight line and stuff, and I've made a little pincushion, a wheat pack and a softie, but I am pretty keen to start making clothes.

I know to start off small, with things like PJ pants and simple skirts, but I am just feeling like I'll never get anywhere with this, like I don't know how I am ever going to get to the point where I can sew with confidence. Basically I am just overwhelmed. I borrowed some books from the library that teach you how to do pretty much everything... Some of the things in there, I just think "How in the world do people do this" Lol... Does everyone feel this way at the start? I guess there is alot to learn, but how long do you think it takes most people to get a good idea of how to do most things? I feel like it's going to take me a couple of decades just to learn how to make a blouse from a pattern!
« Reply #1 on: January 07, 2011 04:31:02 AM »

I still feel that way sometimes, and have been sewing for over 20 years! Grin

Chances are, if you can sew a straight line on your machine, you could make a simple blouse. Think something like a tunic top, a tank top, something like that. Just don't try collars or fitted cuffs just yet. It shouldn't take long at all from there.

« Reply #2 on: January 07, 2011 11:08:03 AM »

I am new to sewing as well. I just bought my first sewing machine and only started using it two days ago. Most importantly, read the instructions. Keep them on your lap as you sew. Sewing machines are incredibly complicated and there are a lot of things to learn and re-learn as you go on. It also helped a lot that my machine came with a DVD, since some of the pics in the instructions are unclear.

The first thing I made was a pillowcase for throw pillows. Since it's just sewing straight lines, you can experiment with pressures, stiches, etc and really focus on techniques rather than details. I just bought a 20X20in pillow from IKEA (for the low low price of $3.99) and used a duck cloth on sale at the fabric store. Here's the tutorial I used: http://cottagemagpie.com/projects/accessories/pillows/how-to-sew-pillow-cover/ If you're feeling saucy you can buy some felt and sew on some sort of artsy thing before you sew the front and back together (I did a mitochondria, since I'm super nerdy).

Hope that helps! I got super frustrated when my machine jammed, but it helps a lot to take a deep breath, put the fabric aside, make a cup of tea and rethread to try again. If something goes wrong, just step away for a while, read the instructions, and when all else fails just rethread and try again.

Happy sewing!

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« Reply #3 on: January 07, 2011 02:51:58 PM »

I would recommend taking a class at your local Joann's or sewing store. Mine has several different levels of classes so you can move up as you get more experienced. Or if you have a friend or family member than can mentor you, as great as books and videos are, it's nice to work with someone in person.

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« Reply #4 on: January 07, 2011 06:59:18 PM »

There's a book I really like -- it's Stitch by Stitch: Learning to Sew, One Project at a Time by Deborah Moebes. You could probably check your local library for it if you don't want to buy it.

She gives a lot of info. about fabrics, sewing tools, techniques, etc. The cool thing is that you can work through the projects and learn techniques as you go. They start simple, and by the end of the book, you're making a blouse and an a-line skirt. I own the book and, even though I haven't made any of the projects yet, I've used it as a reference several times when I needed to know what some sewing term meant or how to do a particular technique. She gives good directions and step-by-step photos. Smiley
« Reply #5 on: January 08, 2011 06:49:16 PM »

I was the same, only sewed at school, but I had a sewing machine and hardly ever used it!  But two years ago I decided I wanted to try it out and since then I have been making lots of things, and by trial and error have taught myself.  I have a number of friends IRL that I chat to and ask lots of questions which helps.  I have only just found this site and it would have been much easier if I had two years ago.

But I have learnt that pretty much everything can be fixed when sewing, just takes time and a lot of unpicking when I make a mistake!

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« Reply #6 on: January 11, 2011 08:38:50 AM »

I was pretty overwhelmed at first too... But don't be afraid to try some easy commercial patterns.  Most companies have their patterns rated by difficulty, and you'll learn a bunch of new techniques by following the instructions in the pattern.  There's also a great video section on the Threads magazine website that shows a bunch of different clothing construction techniques...

« Reply #7 on: January 11, 2011 12:31:16 PM »

*pat pat pat*

I bought my very own sewing machine 4 years ago and have been using the internet and library books to learn every little thing I can. I'm only just barely willing to call myself "approaching intermediate" skill level. I'm sure if I was looking at myself from 4 years ago, my eyes would be bugging out, but anyway Tongue

I actually started with mending, mostly. Hemming pants, resewing seams on cheap made in China shirts that came apart in the wash, and a "cloak" for my boyfriend that would be made COMPLETELY differently were I to do it now. And in way less time. Eventually I moved on to shirts using BurdaStyle's Lydia as a basis (back when it was still free *grumble*), using colour blocking, making puff sleeves, adding bibs and whatnot. Now I'm working on my "advanced" pattern drafting and using woven fabrics.

The Threads Magazine video library is where I learned how to put a neckband on a shirt, and I've recommended that particular video on here a few times, too. Super clear directions, and that minty green is so calming Tongue

As a new sewer, I'll recommend using fabrics you love for those "simple" skirts, and you'll get way more enjoyment out of them than if you use cheap fabrics that you have no emotional attachment to. You'll want to "save" your fabric, hopefully making you double-check before you cut and take your time to do each step slowly and carefully. Good motivation, in my mind Cheesy I also whole-heartedly agree in making a cup of something and stepping away from anything frustrating you. It won't change in a half hour, but your state of mind might.

« Reply #8 on: January 11, 2011 04:32:57 PM »

Great sewing advice here...definately try to stay patient, pick up a book or two, and check on classes...

But the biggest advice is PRACTICE...one of the things that helps me is buy cheap fabric that you won't mind screwing up.  I try to catch sales at JoAnn's and my local fabric store.  Some of the fabric is hideous but you would be amazed how comfortable you get on the 10th or 11th attempt on your sewing project.  Grin
« Reply #9 on: January 14, 2011 08:31:24 AM »

The manufacturer of the sewing machine you bought, do they have a website? If they do, maybe they have some basic exercises and how-tos on sewing with their product, in addition to an online manual...

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