Member since 1/30/08
Date: 3/8/10 12:49 PM
Hello All! I am so excited - I just ordered my very first sewing machine. My hubby got it for me for my 40th Birthday this weekend. It's the one thing I have always wanted to learn, so I think turning 40 gave me a bit of a push. I have been watching sewing classes on youtube.com, but I need so much more instruction to learn all that I want to learn. I checked with the local JoAnn Fabric stores and no one offers classes, neither does any of the vo-tech schools in the area so this is really my only option. I am posting today (not only because I am excited but...) to ask for advice.
1.) The machine I bought is the SINGER Fully Electronic 80 Stitch Function Sewing Machine - is this a good starter machine?
2.) Does anyone know if anywhere online that I could get some FREE downloadable patterns to practice with?
3.) Does anyone have any suggestions for a newbie???
My goal is to make matching Easter outfits for my little girls. Maybe a challenging task considering the time, but I am up for it!
Thank you everyone and happy sewing!
Member since 11/4/05
Date: 3/8/10 1:51 PM
Yes, that's a challenging goal - you might be able to do it, but probably only if you have a lot of time to dedicate to this between now and then - and with little ones, that can be hard.
I would focus on finding some patterns with excellent instructions. Kwik Sew patterns are good for this. I don't know if there are any appropriate patterns for this available free online, although I'm sure you can find some of the "first project" type which would help you get your feet wet.
I would also choose a type of garment that you want to work on and stick with that one type for a while. (After you have done enough of the early playing-around type project: pillow cases and such, if that's where you start.) If what excites you most is dresses for your girls, then start there. (Also decide whether you prefer knit or woven.) Buy a pattern that is easy, but that you like (check out reviews on this website), buy an inexpensive fabric (enough for only one dress the first time, I'd say!), and try it out. You'll learn a lot.
I recommend buying enough fabric for only one dress because one of the things you might learn is that you bought the wrong sort of fabric, so it's a good idea not to buy too far ahead at this point. Get some more fabric and repeat the process until you know what you're doing. :)
I recommend checking out reviews because some patterns, especially the "easy" ones, don't always turn out well. You want to know what you can expect before you start.
My mistake, as a beginner, was to jump around too much. You CAN learn this way (I did), but it takes longer to master anything if the first project is a dress with a zipper, and the second one is a sleeveless top with buttons, and the third one is a skirt with an elastic waist, and the fourth one is a knit top without a closure, and the fifth one is a pair of pants with a fly zipper, and the sixth one.... Now (even though I have much more experience), when I'm rusty I like to make a number of similar garments close together, so that I don't have to re-learn how to insert a zipper so many times, or re-study how my machine makes buttonholes, or things like that. I think it will help me master these things long-term too.
Sewing can be fabulous fun, and you can turn out good stuff fairly early if you tackle reasonable projects, take your time, rip seams out when needed, and do your research. But don't expect too much of yourself! Sewing is also an extremely deep skill: after twenty years, you'll still be learning and improving.
I hope you have fun!
Member since 12/28/09
Date: 3/8/10 4:59 PM
I am also a complete beginner but I am taking sewing classes offered through the city's Adult Education Center. You might check to see if such an association exists in your area. Also, PR has some beginner classes that look like they will be really helpful but they either start or run past Easter. In my class we are learning to sew with a pattern but the teacher made sure there wasn't anything more complicated than a zipper (sounds hard to me!!) involved, including gathers, pleats, too many panels, etc. Go to the library and check out some books on sewing. Pillows was my first project which helped me get used to my machine without fear of wasting too much money. Be sure and choose very simple things to try first otherwise you will get frustrated and possibly quit before you've given it a fair shot. It isn't easy and can be completely overwhelming but also very rewarding. Good luck!
Member since 5/17/05
Date: 3/8/10 6:23 PM
Welcome to Pattern Review, and to sewing!
Get yourself a comprehensive sewing manual such as the Reader's Digest Complete Guide to Sewing (the earlier editions are very inexpensive i.e. thrift stores and Amazon, and IMHO better/more info than the new ones), or the Vogue sewing book. Singer also has a great selection of sewing books, many filled with pictures! Check your local library first so you can browse and find the books you like.
Are there community colleges or universities in your area that have fashion design programs? I learned most of what I know by auditing fashion design classes at a community college. There is no doubt one can self-teach themselves how to sew, but having someone with you who can show you things makes it incredibly helpful!
I also high recommend Julie Parker's books on fabric, the All About Wools/Cottons/Silks series. They are pricey but have so much information on the different kinds of fabric and weaves out there.
Enjoy your new hobby and PR! The members here are so helpful and encouraging, it's a great online community.
I'm finally a blogger!