This week we are talking about the big leap from the realm of a beginner. If you missed Monday’s answers, you can read them here. They were a mix from formal training to deciding for yourself when you are beyond beginner. It is a tricky question to answer for some, not so much for others. For some sewers it is a precise moment, for others it was a slow realization that happened over time. Regardless of how it happens, it is different for all of us. Read on to hear from our Wednesday group about their journey.
At what point do you think you graduated from the realm of a beginner sewer?
Heather, Closet Case Files: The first time I sewed with chiffon. I was still very much a beginner but I think tackling materials or techniques that intimidate you is the first step towards really developing your skills.
Kim, Late Night Stitchery: I started sewing when I was 9. I would have to say when I was in my 20’s and I got into sewing my own clothing. That’s when I started to feel comfortable reading a pattern and not feeling overwhelmed by it. That said, not everything I made was always flattering or fit right, but the more I sewed, I found my own style and every garment got better and better.
Meg, Colette Patterns, Communications Manager: I’m still learning, and I don’t feel limited by the idea of being a beginner with projects that are new to me. Part of growing skills is confidence and increasing your awareness of the sewing process as whole.
Allie, AllieJ: I think the concept of being a beginner sewer is a tricky one. I feel like I’m pretty experienced in certain things, like making myself little vintage dresses, but there’s always something new to try at which I’ll be a total beginner. I’ve just dipped my toes into the realms of swimwear and lingerie, and I’m a disaster–I need a lot more practice! I’m fairly new to knits in general, and then I see these people who have been making perfectly fitting tee shirts forever, but who have never used a woven fabric. I made myself a silk and lace wedding dress from a vintage pattern and felt fairly competent, but struggle with a knit top. It just depends on what your skill set is.
Autumn, Colette Patterns, Sample Seamstress: I feel that I transitioned out of the realm of beginning sewing when I began to understand garment construction theory.
Morgan, Thread Theory: I graduated from a beginner sewer to an intermediate sewer when I took an evening class at a local art college. We learned all manner of seam finishes and worked all of them into the creation of a very ornate apron. Even though I had attempted most of the techniques on my own previously, the course gave me a lot of confidence to improvise with and improve on existing pattern instructions. I graduated from intermediate to advanced when I took a fashion design program several years ago to prepare for the launch of our pattern company. It was a wonderful chance to immerse myself in every aspect of sewing and I learned so much! I find it helpful to take at least one course a year in something textiles related to continue to advance my knowledge, expand my creativity and (probably most importantly) increase my confidence in my sewing capabilities.
Mary, See Mary Quilt: I usually still feel like a beginner because I’m always trying new things and techniques. I make it up all the time. I suppose I felt less like a beginner when I started really going for new things about a year or two ago. Instead of seeing a beautiful, crazy project like the La Passacaglia Quilt and feeling like I could never do that, I just jump right in and figure it out along the way.
Another great round of answers across the spectrum! I think that sewing (and any craft or hobby for that matter) is always a learning process; even the most talented can learn something new. I love that Morgan takes a class every year, but if you can’t do that (time, location, etc.) I think that trying a pattern or project that you think you might not be able to do can be just as much of a learning experience. Youtube, your local sewing shop, or even any of these bloggers/designers are a great resource for any questions or problems that might arise. Chances are, someone has run into the same problem! So, go get in there! 🙂
We have one bonus answer from Morgan of Thread Theory. It is hard to find men’s sewing patterns in general, and what is out there mainstream (the big 4 companies) is usually not so great. Thread Theory’s line of men’s patterns is amazing. Their range of garments, stylish design lines (that can be at home in rural or urban settings), and great instructions make these a beacon of light in a very dark corner of the sewing world.
What is your favorite thing you have ever sewn?
Morgan, Thread Theory: My favorite sewing project to date is our newest pattern – a men’s button-up shirt. I sewed so many samples while testing the pattern and each one was my favorite sewing project of all time as soon as I finished sewing it! I love when my family members wear their shirts proudly and am always amazed how often my husband selects his homemade plaid shirt over all of the other garments in his closet.
We hope you enjoyed today’s responses! Thank you to everyone who responded. We can’t wait to show you what they thought of next week’s question. We will have one more day for this question on Friday. See you then!