National Sewing Month: Graduation Day, Round 3!

National Sewing Month with Pintuck & Purl

Today is the last day of answers for this week’s question! If you missed the other two days, you can catch up here and here. If you are tuning in for the first time, we are celebrating National Sewing Month during September by giving you a glimpse into the minds of our favorite designers and bloggers. This week we asked them when they thought they had graduated from the realm of beginner. And this week’s responses are just as good as the rest.

Here we go!

Sarai, Colette Patterns, CEO/Founder: I don’t think it’s a linear path. You can get really good at one sort of sewing, but still feel like a beginner in others. I think it’s more of a confidence thing, and when you feel capable enough to take on any project with a little research.

Lisa, Pattern & Branch, Pintuck & Purl Social Media Coordinator: After competing in the Refashioners Challenge on the Makery blog in 2015, I felt I had stepped over the line from beginner to the beginning side of intermediate.  For that challenge I cut up four men’s button-down shirts and made them into a lined color-blocked jacket.  I even learned how to install enclosed exposed zippers.  I felt pretty fancy at that point!

Christine Haynes, Christine Haynes Patterns: Hmmm, that’s a good question! I don’t remember a clear “moment” necessarily, but there was a point when I really started to understand the language of patterns and fabric. I think it takes time and a lot of trial and error to get a firm hold on how things are really supposed to work and fit. But it’s forever a learning game. Each time you try a new pattern or a new substrate, it’s a whole new set of lessons to learn!

Karin, Leigh Laurel Studios: Hmm. I think when I began feeling confident in and genuinely proud of my finished products. There were some pretty scary shorts I made in 6th grade that I was super excited about but probably shouldn’t have been. lol. Also, when I started sewing curves confidently!

Kali, Kali Zirkle Quilts: While I had always been messing around making little home dec/easy garments, the first year I quilted I made about ten quilts. The repetition and time spent at a sewing machine made my skills improve rapidly.

Peter Lappin, Male Pattern Boldness: I think once I truly mastered men’s shirtmaking, I knew I was no longer a beginner. Men’s shirts have to look “just so” — you can’t just stick a bow on a mistake and call it a day.  I don’t think labels like beginner or intermediate are important, however.  The only way to start is as a beginner.  If you persevere, you won’t be a beginner for long.

Sandi, Crafty Planner: I wish I could say that I graduated! 🙂 I do think I made a step forward when I tried to hack two different patterns together and made a wearable garment. Other than that, I just keep trying new patterns/classes/techniques so I can develop my skills.

There you have it! Wherever you think you are on your sewing journey, whether it be a beginner that hasn’t even gotten in front of a machine yet, or someone who has been sewing all their life, I hope that you take a moment to reflect on where you are right now. Once you spend a moment on that, think about where you want to go. If you need a little inspiration, just read these posts again. 🙂

We have another bonus question today from Christine Haynes, head of Christine Haynes Patterns, maker of my spirit-pattern, The Emery. Christine is one of my favorite designers–not that we have ever met, but I’m pretty sure that I would love the woman just as much as I love her patterns. Her creations give a fresh vintage-yet-modern vibe to the sewing world, and I think her instructions are top-notch! Her response is also something that is very important for those beginning to sew or quilt, but even if you are advanced, it is good to keep in mind. Sometimes we are our own worst critics. This is supposed to be a fun, creative and liberating hobby—so listen up!

What advice do you wish someone had said to you before you started sewing?

Christine Haynes, Christine Haynes Patterns: I had the fortune of growing up making art, so the process of trial and error and experimentation is just part of my DNA. But if it’s not part of yours, my advice to sewers just starting is to allow for mistakes! Experiment, try things, mess up, and explore! I am obsessed with perfection like many of us, but I hope that if you also have a need for perfection, you still allow yourself to try and fail and be okay with it. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself! You will get better with time, I promise.

Thank you again to our stellar list today! We will be back next Monday with a fresh new crop of answers to a shiny new Question! We hope you are all enjoying this series as much as we are. So, tell us: Will you be sewing something this weekend?? Do tell!

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