We are back today with more advice! This week we’re hearing from our special guests about what they think is great advice for people who are just venturing into the wonderful world of sewing. The answers they gave cover all aspects like fabric, tools, and, most important, how you can mentally prepare for sewing. I have to say in my years of sewing there have been many a tear shed. But! With each tear comes a new understanding or the realization of what not to do 😉 If you missed Monday’s installment, you can catch it here. Let’s forge on with today’s group and see what they think!
Kim, Late Night Stitchery: Yes, congrats on learning to sew! It’s such a wonderful thing to be able to sew and make your own clothing and home-wares. I think my advice would be to take it easy on yourself when things don’t turn out as perfect as you had hoped. It can be very frustrating, but everything looks better with a fresh set of eyes. When something isn’t turning out the way I hoped and frustration is starting to set it, that’s when I put whatever I am sewing away for another time or go to sleep and try again the next day.
Meg, Colette Patterns, Communications Manager: Try anything and everything. Do the instructions explicitly tell you to avoid that fabric? No? Then do it, and have fun doing it your way.
Allie, AllieJ: There are so many resources out there. Even if it’s a little bit beyond you, go for that big project–but don’t try to do it in a vacuum. Look for help online (and in your local sewing shop, too!) and don’t be afraid to ask questions. I love getting emails from readers asking about how I did certain projects, and I think that goes for most sewing bloggers. I send this type of email all the time too, like, how exactly did you do xyz and was it hard?
Morgan, Thread Theory: My advice to new sewers is to jump in there and make a mess! Go to the thrift store and buy yourself an old sheet or some cheap fabric so that you can experiment and practice without the intimidation of cutting into your ‘real’ fabric. While it is very useful to read books and blogs detailing sewing techniques, it is even more useful to try out what works or doesn’t work for you. The more you work with your sewing machine and tools, the more confident you will be and the better you will be able to understand any reading you do on technique.
Heather, Closet Case Files: Don’t be scared. It’s just fabric. Sewing is supposed to be fun, so don’t beat yourself up if your plan doesn’t work out. Each mistake is a learning opportunity, and you need to fail sometimes in order to get better.
Autumn, Colette Patterns, Sample Seamstress: Taking the time to set up your workspace really pays off.
Mary, See Mary Quilt: The Internet! Everything is on there. Want to learn to knit Continental? There’s a video on YouTube. Or confused by a step in a pattern? Someone’s probably written a blog post about it. How did people make anything before the Internet?! And find your people. I never would have moved away from knitting scarves if I hadn’t joined a Stitch n’ Bitch group and seen people knitting sweaters like it was no big thing. And it’s always more fun to craft with a crowd.
Thanks, guys! I agree with Kim, it is always better to put something away when it starts to frustrate you. It will only get worse if you don’t take a break—trust me!
This week we have two more bonus answers. We’re hearing from Meg, of Colette patterns, who is in charge of communications (she answers all sorts of my crazy questions!) and has her own closet full of awesome handmades, and Kim, from Late Night Stitchery, a local gal who has an eye for apparel, quilting AND knitting! Let’s see what they have to say.
What advice do you wish someone had given you before you started sewing?
Meg, Colette Patterns, Communications Manager: I wish someone had told me to let go of expectations and enjoy the learning process. It’s what I’m doing now, and it feels great.
What is your favorite thing you have ever sewn?
Kim, Late Night Stitchery: Some of my favorite things I have ever sewn were for my children. I’ve made my daughter so many little dresses and outfits and jackets, pants and shorts for my son. Two of my favorites are the Quick-Change-Trousers and the Baby-in-the-Hood-Jacket from Anna Maria Horner’s book Handmade Beginnings. I absolutely LOVE when my children wear my handmade clothes. I love to sew for them because I am putting so much love into their clothing. I picture them wearing each item and how cute they are. It makes me really happy to sew for them. I have saved everything that they outgrow, so someday they can pull out their old handmade-by-mama clothes and show their own children and know that they are loved.