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Topic: scared of sewing!  (Read 1509 times)
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« on: June 22, 2005 10:48:56 AM »

hey all,
i do not know how to sew Sad
in fact, i'm quite intimidated by it.  how long did it take y'all to learn to use your machine and actually make things?  i have the fear that i am craft-impaired.  knitting didn't work out.  crocheting didn't work out.  luckily i can embroider!  i'd like to start trying new things, like making curtains and bags and skirts, but again, there's the fear.  any words of wisdom?


we are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars - oscar wilde
« Reply #1 on: June 22, 2005 12:58:31 PM »

My strong advice is to take a course or get someone to teach you.  I know that many people are self taught - and they make some amazing, funky items.  But if you want finished clothes that look as if you bought them, you've got to learn the basics.  If you can't get help, get a couple of very basic sewing books (maybe from the library) and go one step at a time. 

For instance, the first thing is measuring and selecting a size (very different from ready made sizes.)  Read this section of one or two books, look at a couple of web sites, then do it.  Next is selecting a pattern - you'll want one marked easy.  Picking out fabric is daunting, but if you check your books and ask the salespeople for help, you should be able to come up with inexpensive fabric that is appropriate for your pattern.

You have to go through the same kind of learning to:
    layout and pin the pattern
    cut our the fabric
    pin it and check the fit
    make adjustments
    sew it according to directions.  This could include learning about facings, zippers, sleeves, lining, etc.
    finish hems and details

Everyone who sews has lots of hints - the way they do things.  For instance, I press every seam as soon as I sew it, then press it open if that's what it needs. 

Also, if you haven't done it yet, play with your sewing machine before you start working on garments.  Try different stitch lengths, fancy stitches, different thicknesses.  Learn to control it.  You can even sew on paper for practice.  You'll need to sew seams 5/8" most of the time, so measure that distance from your needle and see if there's a guide on your machine.  If not, you may want to use a piece of tape to mark it. 

There's a lot to it.  It's hard to know where to start.  I hope you have an auntie or granny who can help.


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« Reply #2 on: June 22, 2005 01:07:19 PM »

First thing, don't be scared.  Wink  Check out your local community center, and learning annex for sewing classes. Also Hancock and Joann's Fabric stores hold classes on basic sewing.  And by all means have fun with sewing don't take it too serious. If a project doesn't turn out right, you can always cut out a new piece of fabric and start over. Smiley

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« Reply #3 on: June 22, 2005 01:11:11 PM »

That's great advice from LRS. I think taking a class or having someone guide you can be very helpful.

I'd like to ad since you sound so nervous, just sit down and start sewing a little. Maybe get some fabric from the rag bin or 25 whatnots from your local thrift. You could just start sewing till making a stitch feels ok. Who knows maybe you could stuff your creation and embroider some monster features on.

Good luck, everybody can be crafty.
« Reply #4 on: June 22, 2005 01:19:40 PM »

thanks!  i'll definitely check out classes at local craft stores.  i'm always so inspired and in awe of people who make their own clothes and accessories.

i think this weekend i'll dust off the old machine i inherited and play around with it.  i might need to invest in a newer, smaller machine b/c of my space limits, but we'll see.

thanks for the feedback.  i'm looking forward to learning!

we are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars - oscar wilde
« Reply #5 on: June 22, 2005 01:23:34 PM »

Hey, don't be scared or intimidated by the machine!
I won't say it's super easy if you want to sew garments that actually fit right, but it's not that kind of difficult either!

First of, do you have access to a sewing machine? Perhaps some relative or friend?
When I started I borrowed one from my mum's friend and when I was sure that it interested me more I brought my own machine.

This way you could try out without paying for a course or such!
I would say start with just making straight lines and trying out the different stitches. Once you feel familiar with them, I would suggest sewing a pillow case that overlaps at the back.
Atleast that's what I did Wink

And than if you feel like you want to finally start sewing something more wearable, go for a sewing course!
Really, there are a couple of things you've got to pay attention to if you want your garments to look good. I learned that the harder way...but I improved after my first course(I might start another one in fall).

And don't forget to have fun!

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« Reply #6 on: June 22, 2005 01:30:31 PM »

if i were you, i'd just get some scrap material and just play around. you know, get a feel for the foot pedal and the stiching and stuff. i've never had lessons or anything offical like that, but i have had people show me and let me do it under supervisation. i highly recommend that.  good luck!

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« Reply #7 on: June 22, 2005 01:52:21 PM »

I had one sewing lesson when I was little, I didnt learn too much from it, maybe because the people teaching it were teaching like we already knew every thing. Make sure the class is taught from a beginners point of view.
But aside from my one class, years and years ago, I just picked up my moms sewing machine and visioned what I wanted to make and made it. I know that sounds weird, but I wanted to make a simple A line skirt, so I took one that fitted well, without pleats or darts or anything weird, and just made it up as I went along. Once you get use to improvising or doing some projects without patterns, sewing becomes much much easier. The patterns can be somewhat confusing, especially to start with.

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« Reply #8 on: June 22, 2005 02:15:02 PM »

A book I just found that is super super easy, explains every little detail, and comes with 3 super easy patterns for a pillow, a purse, and a skirt, is Sew Fast Sew easy. I'd check that out.

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« Reply #9 on: June 25, 2005 01:31:41 PM »

One way to practice straight lines is to get a piece of notebook paper and "sew" along the lines with the needle unthreaded. Not quite like fabric, but it might help.

Try something super-easy at first. A pillow, small sachets for your lingerie drawer, or a sewing machine cover (if your machine doesn't have one) all make good first projects. Other possibilities: a kerchief, an apron, cafe curtains, a very simple bag, an old-fashioned rag doll.   

I know it's been said already, but it bears repeating: use cheap or recycled fabric at first. You'll feel much more free to make mistakes.

If "real" sewing books are too intimidating, look in the juvenile section of your public library. There were some fun children's sewing books put out in the late '60s to mid-'70s. Very non-intimidating, and some of the seventies projects look retro-contemporary.

"An old cloak makes a new jerkin..." (Wm Shakespeare, recycling and DIY enthusiast)
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