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Forum > Beginner's Forum > How long is it going to take to see sewing success? ( Moderated by EleanorSews)

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How long is it going to take to see sewing success?
Sewing Mistakes
charid dawn
charid dawn
Beginner
Member since 1/3/13
Posts: 24
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Date: 1/12/13 8:40 PM

*Sigh

I just finished my basic top and basic skirt that was part of my goals/plans for this month. I don't want to be a negative nancy but not one thing I have sewed has turned out to my liking, whether it be to ill fit, bad fabric match, or the fact that the garment doesn't "lay" right. I'm so frustated already.

Here is my list of failures.

1st project - patternless skirt 1 - too small
2nd project - retro dress - too small
retry cause I assumed I cut wrong - too small
3rd project - top with yoke - fabric see through and seams are wavy
4th project - peplum top - loved the fabric in the store, on my top, BLUGH, big around the shoulders and above chest.
5th project - knit top - TOO BIG and bad fabric choice (i'm going to fix this one, that's my new goal - finish all projects whether you love them or not)
6th project - cotton skirt - fits at waist but so much material on bottom I think it's actually too big

Is it just me or is this how it goes when learning to sew? Just wondering when I will start seeing some success with my projects. As it is, I'm feeling very disappointed/frustrated/saddish. I'm going to keep trying but gosh, this is an expensive hobby even when using cheap fabric. I don't want to keep messing up.

KathySews
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KathySews  Friend of PR
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Michigan USA
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Date: 1/12/13 9:07 PM

First of all, I see you recently joined PR, so welcome. You will find a lot of information and support here. Relax, take a deep breath and spend some time here.

Are you new to sewing? A few tips, check the reviews for patterns that are good for beginners and/or to see if others have problems with your pattern. Another thought is to spend some time learning fit by browsing topics here. My rude awakening was that there are no perfect patterns out of the envelope. No one can sew a garment by just cutting it out and sewing it up. Meaning you will need to learn your measurements and how to adjust a pattern to work with your measurements.

Patterns - most are made for B cup so if you are larger than that, check out FBA (full bust adjustment) or look for patterns with multiple cup sizes.

Get a good how to sew book. Patterns tell you how to assemble but do not provide much information about how to sew. Like if I am sewing a collar, I refer to instructions outside the pattern for methods.

I also struggle with selecting the appropriate fabric for a pattern, even with the fabric suggestions on the pattern.

Hang in here, I am sure others are going to have some great suggestions, and be sure to ask questions, we love helping and getting help.

sings2high
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sings2high  Friend of PR
Expert/Couture
USA
Member since 11/25/11
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Date: 1/12/13 9:12 PM

All of the problems with fit suggest to me that you are not measuring correctly or that you are choosing pattern size based on ready-to-wear sizing. Sewing pattern sizing is very different from ready-to-wear sizing and you have to read every envelope because they can also vary from manufacturer to manufacturer or even designer to designer within a pattern maker. Also, be aware that you always need fitting ease in any piece - if your hips are 38" around, even a fitted skirt needs to be at least 40" around or you won't be able to sit down or walk in it.
But first you need to measure and that is a learned skill too. If you know an experienced sewist, ask them to take your measurements at first. Or spend a dollar at a thrift store or used book store and pick up a sewing book like The Vogue Sewing Book or The Readers Digest Guide to Sewing. I have both of those books, from various time periods. The older books may have dated photos and their sizing charts may not match what is used today, but the older books also are a wealth of detail and sewing knowledge that you won't find easily in one place in modern books. I still regularly consult my Readers Digest Guide to Sewing, 30 years after I bought it.

Here is one more suggestion to help you build your skills at less cost - find someone in your life who has an 18-inch doll or bear that needs clothing. American Girl dolls come to mind immediately, and patterns are available from the Big 4 makers. You can cut those patterns out of scraps left over from your own sewing and the skills learned from sewing those clothes will transfer directly to sewing your own. The advantage, of course, is that sewing for dolls is much faster and cheaper than sewing for people, and they rarely tell you they don't like the way something fits, LOL.

------
Measure twice, cut once. While this saying is useful in many ways, I have no qualms about editing my posts.

UFOs completed in 2014: 1 - woohoo! finished my oldest UFO - an apron cut out in the mid-80s with a pattern from the mid-40s! and the bias binding promptly disintegrated in the wash! Ok, it was from my Great-Grandmother's stash, which means it was bought anytime from the 1910's to 1970's.
Projects started recently completed in 2014: 4
New Projects started in 2014: 5
Stash:
sewn in 2014: 5
bought in 2014: 17.25

I know...I'm procrastinating.

Ruth C
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Ruth C  Friend of PR
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Oregon USA
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Date: 1/12/13 9:22 PM

It sounds to me like you are having 2 problems: Choosing fabric and fitting a pattern.
For choosing fabric I suggest looking at ready-to-wear, particularly better quality. Visit Nordstorms and just look at what kind of fabric things are made out of. Then for getting the size right, I really suggest you make a muslin before you cut into your good fabric. A muslin is the pattern made up of cheap fabric (old sheets work well) with only the basic seams sewn--don't worry about pockets, cuffs, collars, etc. Use the muslin to see if the pattern will fit correctly or if you need to adjust the pattern. It is very rare for a pattern to fit me correctly just out of the envelope. Making a muslin takes time, but it does pay off in the end.

clotheshorse
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clotheshorse  Friend of PR
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British Columbia CANADA
Member since 3/24/10
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In reply to charid dawn <<
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Date: 1/12/13 9:39 PM

Welcome to PR! I understand your frustrations, I think we all feel that way about our sewing projects from time to time, I know I do anyway :). I agree with the other posters, a good reference book for sewing techniques is a must and making a test garment before you cut into your "good" fabric is always a good idea. Sandra Betzina's book Fast Fit might be one for you to look at, it gives a good explanation of how to measure yourself and choose a pattern size. I have found it a useful one in my sewing book library. Hang in there and good luck!

------
Viking D1, 1+, Pfaff 7570, Singer 503 Rocketeer, 66, 15-91, 301, Featherweight 6 Flock, Babylock Enlighten & CS and Pfaff Creative Performance

Nancy1955
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Nancy1955  Friend of PR
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Date: 1/12/13 10:04 PM

I can certainly relate to your post as I've had similar issues. It looks like you've tried a number of different items, skirts, dresses, tops...

You need to take accurate measurements on yourself and choose the right size pattern. A skirt is fairly easy to make. After you cut out the pattern pieces, take one of your skirts that fits well and lay the pattern pieces on top to compare the pattern to your garment.

This will help you understand how big the pattern pieces should be. You might want to also cut out the pattern so you have one inch seam allowances. Start by basting the pieces together using contrasting thread and see how it fits.

You might need to rip out the basting stitches to get the fit right but be patient! Choose a nice fabric that you'll enjoy wearing!

HDWen
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HDWen  Friend of PR
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Arizona USA
Member since 12/26/11
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Date: 1/12/13 10:13 PM

Oh my, very few were born with knowing how to sew!! It does take alot of practice which sounds like what you are doing.

Cotton -- This works much easier than knits when beginning :-)

Practice just sewing seam allowances. If it says 5/8th, check your machine and watch that spot as you go along. That takes practice too! And don't try to pedal to the metal :-) It is so easy to get discouraged and frustrated! But, we all learned slowly and you will too.

So glad you joined and poke around the various forums and Reviews of patterns you like, Before you buy are a god send! someone made that before and write how good or bad the instructions were, how the fit was on them compared to what the Envelope says... That's my first place to go when trying to get ideas to sew.

Hang in there baby :-)

------
I have a great enthusium for sewing, but lack talent to be great.

2013

Tbird

Tbird
Expert/Couture
California USA
Member since 8/8/05
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Date: 1/12/13 11:50 PM

Did you learn through lessons or are you flying solo? It doesn't sound like there is anything wrong with your sewing skills but that you need a little guidance with fit and fabric choices.

If it fits into your schedule a lot of community colleges offer sewing classes for beginners through their fashion department often during the day and at nights.

One thing I suggest trying is to do a "knockoff" of your favorite t shirt. I'll dig up the instructions for you. Thats the first project that they had us do when I took the above mentioned classes (it was a prereq no matter how many years you had sewn for) I think you might find once you take the fit factor out of the equation that your actually a lot better than you think.


-- Edited on 1/12/13 11:53 PM --

------
http://sewunnecessary.blogspot.com

Vivienne
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Vivienne
Intermediate
British Columbia CANADA
Member since 6/29/04
Posts: 1101
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In reply to charid dawn <<
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Date: 1/13/13 0:19 AM

Your stuff looks great!

I looked at your reviews and it looks like you've been sewing only New Look? My experience is these do not typically work for me either - the fit is just not suitable for my body. Maybe trying a different pattern brand might revitalize you?

My watershed moment was the first time I tried a more expensive fabric, a lightweight wool, and a vogue pattern....and it worked out great!

Good luck!

------
Cheap fabrics, like cheap shoes, are a false economy.

Vivienne
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Vivienne
Intermediate
British Columbia CANADA
Member since 6/29/04
Posts: 1101
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In reply to charid dawn <<
thumbsup 1 member likes this.


Date: 1/13/13 0:19 AM

Your stuff looks great!

I looked at your reviews and it looks like you've been sewing only New Look? My experience is these do not typically work for me either - the fit is just not suitable for my body. Maybe trying a different pattern brand might revitalize you?

My watershed moment was the first time I tried a more expensive fabric, a lightweight wool, and a vogue pattern....and it worked out great!

Good luck!

------
Cheap fabrics, like cheap shoes, are a false economy.

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