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When are you no longer a beginner?
turtleandi
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turtleandi
Member since 1/29/13
Posts: 8
Skill: Advanced Beginner
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Date: 9/3/13 10:45 PM

I recently began posting pattern reviews and the comment I keep getting is "Are you sure you're a beginner?" I take this comment as a great compliment of course but I still consider myself a beginner. How do I know when I've graduated?

I've been sewing for about 9 months and have completed 16 garments. I've done several sewing techniques and learned a lot about fitting my body. I've done zippers (invisible, lapped, fly front), pockets (inseam, inseam w/ zipper, patch, welt), seam finishes (Hong Kong, french seams, lining), knits without a serger, among other things. I've found very good tutorials to help me along. As for fitting, Peggy Sagers' webcasts have help me immensely. Fit is most important to me and I believe my sewing skills will get better with time.

I have learned a lot in these 9 months but have soooo many more things I need to learn about fitting and sewing. I still think I'm a beginner but maybe I'm not giving myself enough credit. At what point can you no longer call yourself a beginner?

I see this has been asked before, most recently here http://sewing.patternreview.com/SewingDiscussions/topic/78879
-- Edited on 9/3/13 11:45 PM --
Engrmom1
Engrmom1  Friend of PR
Member since 3/3/12
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Skill: Advanced Beginner
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In reply to turtleandi

Date: 9/3/13 11:05 PM

If you've successfully completed 16 garments, including fitting, and have tackled zippers and some of the more exacting seam finishes, I definitely would not consider you a beginner. You may not have been sewing long, but it sounds like you have worked hard to gain skills.
From most of the discussions I've seen on the topic, sewing level is a matter of skill, not time.
Based on what you posted, I'd place you as advanced beginner, if not intermediate. I consider myself advanced beginner, and I haven't tackled nearly as many tricky things as you have.
As for having more to learn, many of those here who will claim the title of expert also say they have more to learn.
marec
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In reply to turtleandi

Date: 9/3/13 11:29 PM

Quote:
I've done several sewing techniques and learned a lot about fitting my body.

Fitting is something we all strive to perfect and you are to be commended for jumping in. I think I stayed with boxy stuff for a year!

Quote:
I've done zippers (invisible, lapped, fly front), pockets (inseam, inseam w/ zipper, patch, welt), seam finishes (Hong Kong, french seams, lining), knits without a serger, among other things.

These are skills I think of as beyond beginner.

Quote:
I still think I'm a beginner but maybe I'm not giving myself enough credit. At what point can you no longer call yourself a beginner?

If you are wondering, then it is probably time for you to consider re-labeling your skill level.

Isn't it fun to be so passionate about a hobby?

------
my blog: http://kf-biblioblog.blogspot.com/
Stylish 60- http://www.pinterest.com/maresea/style-evolution/

turtleandi
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turtleandi
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Date: 9/3/13 11:46 PM

I guess its time to bump up my status
SewLibra
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SewLibra  Friend of PR
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In reply to turtleandi
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Date: 9/4/13 1:08 AM

Since you have mastered all the zippers, pockets, and fitting for different types of garments in 9 months, you should at least be Advanced Beginner. But you didn't say anything about sewing different types of fabrics, like wovens, knits, silks, satins, heavy denims, velvet, corduroy, matching plaids and stripes, etc. that can take special considerations. There is only so much you can do in 9 months, right? Ask yourself if you have sewn garments with much detail, facings, beautiful topstitching, stitch in the ditch, embellishments or myriad other sewing terms? These are things you can think about and decide for yourself.

For myself, I have sewn for decades. I do not sew "couture", "avant garde", nor have I mastered draping. I have made some of my own patterns and taught myself techniques, such as welt pockets, all the zip applications, and many fitting tips, but I doubt I will ever call myself "Advanced." The main thing is you continue to learn and enjoy sewing. At some point it will occur to you that you have passed up your "label", and you can change it to whatever you feel you do. In the meantime, sew and enjoy! Most of us on PR do not care what your "label" says, we just like to see what you created. Rock on and sew on!

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turtleandi
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turtleandi
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In reply to SewLibra
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Date: 9/4/13 1:42 AM

I guess my dilemma is that I don't believe I've mastered anything but following directions. At best, I've attempted with some success. I still need instructions every time I have to insert a zipper or pocket. Every time I think I have one fitting issue ironed out, I come across a better way to handle it. I've sewn several woven and knit garments but my finishing skills definitely need work. I made a dress out of satin for a wedding I was in and it came out pretty good. I purchased a plaid fabric for a button front shirt not realizing all of the care I would have to take to line everything up. I haven't gotten the shirt to fit yet so we'll see how that goes. I've sewn light weight denim jeans but haven't touched corduroy or velvet. Even though summer is almost over, I'm still working on my summer wardrobe collection which includes silk and stripes. I bought some leather for a handbag I want to make but haven't started it yet. I love learning and have seriously been bitten by the sewing bug. I'm sure I'm not at the intermediate level yet so I changed to advanced beginner.
jilly cooper
jilly cooper
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In reply to turtleandi

Date: 9/4/13 2:40 AM

As someone else said you sure have put in a great effort to improve your skills, congrats on your sewing achievements!!!

IMO it's only a title, i prefer no titles but i am not sure how to be on PR without a sewing title.

Your achievement/skill level is to be applauded, if you make something you like and it serves a purpose why ponder on your sewing level? You have mastered more than following directions, give yourself credit - you deserve it!


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In reply to turtleandi

Date: 9/4/13 4:48 AM

Quote:
I don't believe I've mastered anything but following directions

Isn't that how we all learned to sew, whether in a class, from a book or via the computer or a friend. We weren't born with any skills, or at least I wasn't. The more you repeat and practice the better you get. As with any skill, sometimes as hard as you may try, it just doesn't work but that certainly doesn't apply to you, having looked at the garments you have made you are well on the way.

As marec said, it is fun to be so passionate about a hobby. Sometimes it can take over completely, so watch out .
Marie367
Marie367  Friend of PR
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In reply to turtleandi

Date: 9/4/13 10:13 AM

Well, mastering directions is quite an accomplishment. I seldom use directions but Big 4 pattern makers seem to go out their way to do things in the hardest way possible. If you can create garments and you developed skills like putting in zippers and pockets etc, you should definitely move up at least to advanced beginner. The labeling has been discussed in depth on here. It is somewhat subjective anyway. I list my skill as intermediate; I can sew most things and know how to do most techniques. However, I am less skilled in some things (maybe even an advance beginner in some areas) but more skilled in other areas (pushing advanced). So take your best guess as to your skill level. If you are as slow as your name implies, you could join the bale of tortoises under the Sew Along section here
Iwannasew2
Iwannasew2
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In reply to Engrmom1

Date: 9/27/13 9:00 PM

Hello. TO: Engromom1--

Just curious. Where does the number "16" come from? Is that a definite required number of "garments" one has to sew "successfully" in order to be out of the beginner's range?

Do pillows, PJ's (which are considered a garment) and other beginner projects that novice beginners are encouraged to start on "count" in the "16" number.

Please advise. I've never heard of a definite number of required garments--even from advanced seamstresses that post here and other sewing groups. Thanks so much for perhaps/possibly clarifying.
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