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Forum > Beginner's Forum > Let's have happy beginners. ( Moderated by EleanorSews)

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Let's have happy beginners.
jadamo00
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jadamo00
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Date: 2/4/12 11:38 PM

There have been a few posts lately from beginners who have made several wadders, are frustrated, want to give up. I thought we could post some things that will help them have more FUN.

Sewing should be making you happeeee. Absolutely giddy with joy. So excited that you can't wait to get back to it. Here are my suggestions.

-- sew easy things: there are so many gorgeous easy patterns! Go get 'em!

-- sew fast things: give yisself a break. Fast patterns may be simple in construction, BUT that gives you the opportunity to use wild fashion fabric colors and patterns, and finish your garments with stand-out notions.

-- sew with wovens: cotton, linen and similar blends. Wovens are easy to pin, easy to cut, easy to sew.

-- don't buy terribly expensive fabric. I've been sewing since the stone age and I get racked with anxiety when I'm sewing with a $25 a yard goods. Cotton, $6 a yard. Relax.

-- sew it again! When you sew up a pattern without pain, sew that pattern again. right away, just different! Go get some fabric and, now, the second time, try some new techniques: piping, contrast sleeves, topstitching, patch pockets.

-- explore the vast universe of trims. Treat yourself to great buttons, beaded fringe, ribbons that make you smile. The variety is incredible!

-- copy design ideas. $10 gets you a year subscription to Harpers Bazaar on Amazon. Get two folders: red for hot weather spring/summer; blue for cold weather: fall/winter. Every month, rip out any pictures you like and put them in ya "look book folders". (heck, I don't even read the freaking ARTICLES!) So, maybe you see a denim jacket with a white cotton collar and chains around the armholes. You could do that!

I would never have thought you could mix black and navy. But I saw it come down the catwalk in Bazaar and I copied the color way!

-- In your living room, where you watch TV. Or in your bedroom. Install a cup hook somewhere inconspicuous. But put it somewhere YOU can see it. When you finish a garment, hang it there so you can enjoy looking at it for awhile. Like art.

j.

















-- Edited on 2/7/12 6:39 PM --

jynclr
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Subject: Lets have happy beginners. Date: 2/5/12 1:31 AM

Great ideas!

I just recently tried a knit pattern. ugh!!! I need a walking foot. lol

I'm one of those that if I do something once, I get bored and want to go on to do the next thing, the next level up.

Sewing, for the first time ever, got me thinking, maybe just do one thing several times and get good at it. It's the first thing in my life that I'm trying to get good by doing things again and again, rather than constantly moving forward with trying yet a different technique, something I've done with other things in my life.

Great suggestions! I'll take these to heart and do them too.

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Evelyn: Pfaff Creative Performance
Helen V: Babylock Companion BL1550

marec
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Date: 2/5/12 2:23 AM

These are terrific suggestions. I also have 2 really important suggestions/hints: 1) Saw this on a poster "Comparison is the thief of joy" and 2) Keep a record of your projects with notes, fabric swatches and your reaction to wearing the garment. If at all possible, write reviews of what you sew. Everyone enjoys sharing in your learning and success.

Not one member here has ever made me feel embarrassed or bad about my sewing. I have had nothing but praise and constructive criticism. Gotta love the vibe here at PR

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Sewing through my pattern stash-145
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Subject: Lets have happy beginners. Date: 2/5/12 9:31 AM

I def agree on "sew easy things"!

I recently took on a project that is a bit advanced for me, the Taffy Blouse from Colette patterns...
Bought a pretty chiffon to make it in.... nope. Not happening. I was getting so frustrated with it. The fabric is just too difficult for me to work with... at the moment. I'm putting it aside in favor of something a bit easier to do and I'll come back to it when I'm a bit more experienced. It was starting to me make me discouraged. :(

jynclr
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In reply to marec


Date: 2/5/12 9:32 AM

Your post brought to mind two projects. I was able to successfully sew McCall's 5550 - Santa suit (view c coat - bottom right) successfully, even modifying it some with some godets at the sleeves and at the front bottom.

So I got brave and decided to try Simplicity 2322 - It's sew easy Misses' tops. What a complete and utter failure. I also tried Butterick B5466 6 Sew Easy skirts. This one was great! Success! But one thing I learned from both of these is that sewing pattern sizes are based off of body measurements. You mean, REALITY??? I really like that. So.. the shirt and skirt are too small.I'm actually a much larger size "number" when it comes to patterns. I'm alright with that.

Then this past Christmas I made a steampunk outfit, (Steampunk styled Mrs. Santa Clause) using Simplicity 2207 - Misses Costume (while at the same time making McCall's 4698 - Misses cape for the beau's sister) and considering my sewing skill level, I think I did amazingly well. This gave me courage and confidence, especially when I saw someone else with this same costume but hers didn't come out as nice as mine did (some folks thought I BOUGHT my costume). I had not found the PR forums yet, but I gave myself time to work on this outfit and thanks to YouTube I was able to figure some things out.

I'm encouraged now. And I have some sewing ideas for eReader covers too. I can make vinyl skins (my Etsy shop was successful) and I want to add to my product line with eReader covers. So right now I'm just trying to practice. I've recently purchased a slew of patterns for $.99 - ( one of which was the knit pattern I mentioned above Simplicity 2852 - Misses Knit Tunic - the hem is a hot mess right now) to practice.

I love the suggestions because I plan on using these patterns as a "base" for a wardrobe as I would like to eventually make my own clothes. It's a process to be sure.

And with that... I know I have some reviews to go write. LOL

(ETA spelling! ugh!)


-- Edited on 2/5/12 9:35 AM --

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Evelyn: Pfaff Creative Performance
Helen V: Babylock Companion BL1550

Sewnsewmom
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In reply to jadamo00
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Date: 2/5/12 2:29 PM

Thank you so much for taking the time to post this. Just the other day I had to throw a top that I was working on away. It was a definite wadder. I was a little discouraged. Especially because I had just finished some items that were a success. I know that I can't let some "bad" items get me down. Just look to the accomplishments.

Thank you again. I appreciate it!
-- Edited on 2/5/12 2:30 PM --

ShantiSeamstressing
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Date: 2/5/12 2:58 PM

(1.) I completely agree: sew easy things.

This is not a cop-out any more than a 5 year old learning to print versus starting with calligraphy.

I began with an easy (albeit knit) nursing dress + curtains (just rectangles that you have to hem neatly) + other simple home dec items.

(2.) I also never assumed "I can't understand this;" rather, "This isn't explained well - I'll have to search my sewing books or online to find a better description and explanation, maybe visuals." That sounds like semantics, maybe, but I think it's crucial that a beginner see the challenge as being outside of herself not originating from self. (Also note the word "challenge." I never have sewing "problems." That word carries such a negative connotation I think. Nope, just challenges or, another favorite of mine: "an interesting twist to this pattern.")

(3.) Also - - never stop reading about sewing - magazines or books or online. It's almost like absorbing a lot of wonderful information by osmosis! It springs to mind just when you need it, while working on a project!

pkoller
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Date: 2/5/12 4:26 PM

I would like to add a couple of suggestions:

1. Don't be afraid of your sewing machine. Read the manual. Use scrap fabric and explore all the stitches. Experiment with different widths and lengths on the stitches. Note which ones you really like. You can also mark and keep the scrap fabric. Write down the tension, width and stitch length you used.

2. Use your camera. Don't be afraid to photograph yourself. Photos can help show you things you can't see in your mirror. And don't be afraid to post the photos here on PR. This is a great group of friendly people. You will not be judged and will have the help you need to fix whatever issues you are having.

Speaking of cheap fabric - I use old sheets for muslins a lot. I have PJ pants made from sheets. They are the most comfortable PJ pants I have ever owned.

Enjoy the process and keep trying.

Patricia

heathergwo
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Date: 2/5/12 4:58 PM

Being a fairly new sewer myself, I would like to add something else.

GO TO CLASSES!! Most are fairly inexpensive. I started with a Sewing 101 at my local Joann's which taught me about my machine, how to read a pattern, how to press, but we didn't actually make anything. I spent about $20 on that class as I got it at half price... that was the best $20 investment ever!!!

Now 7/8 months later I'm taking more advanced classes and enjoying the process. But a lot of what i learned, I either read it, studied it, guessed, sewed it, ripped out the stitches and tried again. Also, Youtube videos have been GREAT at showing me how to do something new.

I LOVE SEWING!!!

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Brother Innovis 1250D
Babylock Enlighten
Singer Curvy 8763
Brother 1034D
Janome 385.19606
Brother 2340CV

solosmocker
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Subject: Lets have happy beginners. Date: 2/5/12 9:00 PM

I want to second that hint about taking pictures of yourself. You will see fit issues so much better. Have some one else take the pics or use a self timer so there is no distortion from holding the camera.

I suggest simple designs to begin with also. Take a look at Very Easy, Very Vogue patterns. The don't have more than five pieces, have lots of panache, and are very simple to use.

Remember that Rome wasn't built in a day and it will take time to get your skills up to snuff. Start simple but with each garment add one new technique, like a buttonhole, or an elastic waist or just some new little detail that you haven't tried before. This will build your skills quickly.

Also take any class you can. There are some great ones right here on PR. Good luck with your sewing journey.
-- Edited on 2/5/12 9:00 PM --

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