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Where to start?
Hit by inertia...overwhelmed by information
Wooshka
Wooshka
Beginner
AUSTRALIA
Member since 11/21/11
Posts: 9
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Date: 11/21/11 10:59 AM

Hi everyone.

I'm a new member having embarked on a little journey towards learning how to sew. I have an old Singer machine which works, a few books, some material and time.

My aim is to be able to make clothes for my little one.

The internet is jam packed full of information but the thing is, I've found myself stuck in the middle of it and don't know where to start!

Is there a logical pathway for newbies?

Thanks.

Liz92B
Liz92B
Advanced
Alberta CANADA
Member since 12/21/09
Posts: 157
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Date: 11/21/11 11:20 AM

you might try about.com 's Sewing 101 online "classes":
http://sewing.about.com/od/beginner1/bb/sewing101.htm
-- Edited on 11/21/11 11:21 AM --

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Liz / Calgary

nancy2001
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nancy2001  Friend of PR
Advanced
Alabama USA
Member since 12/3/05
Posts: 6441
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In reply to Wooshka


Date: 11/21/11 11:49 AM

Welcome, Wooshka. Take a deep breath relax and start on a very simple project like a pillow case or a place mat. Don't use expensive fabric or attempt anything too ambitious right now. Remember that you will learn as much from the projects that don't work out as the ones that do. The important thing isn't how your project turns out, it's just that you begin. We are all learners when it comes to sewing.

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No sewing project is ever a complete success nor a total failure.

marec
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marec  Friend of PR
Intermediate
Member since 5/11/08
Posts: 4359
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In reply to Wooshka


Date: 11/21/11 12:37 PM

Hi Wooshka, and welcome! For me, I began with something I could wear, or use daily, and was inexpensive to make. I assumed that it would not be perfect and I used fabrics which I recycled from older clothing, or Red Tag fabrics from JA. Not only do you have to learn terminology, but also techniques and muscle memory when doing the actual sewing. It just takes time. I made some really interesting things the first year! :-)

Quote:
The internet is jam packed full of information but the thing is, I've found myself stuck in the middle of it and don't know where to start!

I feel like this often and limit my surfing time. It is too easy to start wanting to make everything you see. Here is what I do:
1. Decide what I NEED. ex:knit tee or baby romper or ????
2. Look at what I have in stash for fabric and pattern.
3. Choose a pattern, and get the appropriate fabric, but don't worry too much about a perfect match. Buy or use stash.
4. Research on PR or other sites for tips on that pattern.
5. Get notions, put everything together in a bag, and sew when I have time. When I am sewing a project, I do not look at PR or other sites as then I'll second guess myself. I move on and just complete the project.
6. Share and celebrate here when done. :-)

HTH and do you know how to search the reviews? That is very helpful when deciding on a pattern to use.

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my blog: http://kf-biblioblog.blogspot.com/
Sewing through my pattern stash-145
completed.

seeshellsew
seeshellsew
Beginner
Kansas USA
Member since 7/14/10
Posts: 21
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In reply to Wooshka


Date: 11/21/11 5:12 PM

Welcome Wooshka!

I agree that the internet can be overwhelming when trying to start/learn a new hobby! My advice is pretty much what I do since I still consider myself a beginner!

I would suggest finding 2 or 3 simple patterns that interest you, maybe a skirt if you're sewing for a little girl? Do as the previous commenter suggested and research those patterns here on PR. Pick one based off the reviews and then get your supplies.

A lot of people recommend reading a pattern before you get started and I agree with this, but try not to study them too hard either. I've passed on a couple patterns because I thought they sounded too hard, but once I forced myself to sit down and try one, once I got to the difficult steps, they made sense when I could actually play with the fabric and see it three-dimensionally.

Then while you're reading the pattern, and working through each step, every time you come across a something you don't know how to do, either look it up online or ask someone here.

If you try to keep your internet searches to very narrow aspects of this broad topic, I think you'll feel a lot less overwhelmed.

I hope that helped!

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seashellsew.wordpress.com

Kemish
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Kemish  Friend of PR
Intermediate
California USA
Member since 4/24/06
Posts: 283
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Date: 11/21/11 5:50 PM

One piece of advice I was given when I started sewing was to keep a sewing journal. This was, of course, before the internet age . In this journal each project was listed on a page with the pattern number, the size I was sewing, the type of fabric and any pertinent information about the project that I may need to know. This way, when life got in the way of sewing, I could pick up a project that I had started months before and look at my sewing journal and see where I had left off. Essentially, my sewing journal became a project road map that I had left for myself. Also, at the end of the year, I could flip through the pages and see all that I had accomplished and, of course, those projects I didn't quite finish and I can gauge my progress in the number of garments I have sewn and the complexity of those garments. A sewing journal ultimately keeps me focused on my sewing project(s).

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Kemish

hazelnut
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hazelnut  Friend of PR
Beginner
USA
Member since 1/7/09
Posts: 2310
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In reply to Wooshka


Date: 11/21/11 7:29 PM

Hi Wooshka, and welcome Are you familiar with using your older Singer? If not, in addition to all the helpful advice already given, I would also suggest that you start familiarizing yourself with how to operate it - make sure it's in good working condition, try out various stitches with various fabrics, and have enough of the correct sized needles (I broke many in the beginning) etc.

My sewing got off to a *very* slow and rocky start because I really wasn't as familiar with my vintage SM as I thought I was. I broke a part on the first SM, eventually gave up trying to find that part, then purchased a 2nd one (also vintage but different brand) that I had no idea how to use. The 2nd one had a burr on the plate somewhere that caused numerous frustration and sewing problems until it was finally found and fixed by the 2nd repair shop I took it to - and all in all, a good 6 months or more of learning to sew were lost because of this. So make sure your SM is in good working order and you know how to use it - this too can save you a bit of beginner's grief.

The internet can be very overwhelming! I tend to come here and query the boards for information and links...and there are many very knowledgeable and helpful people here (I'm not one of the knowledgeable however, lol). Good luck on your quest!

edited to change bur to burr
-- Edited on 11/21/11 7:50 PM --

Sew4Fun
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Sew4Fun
Advanced
AUSTRALIA
Member since 6/23/04
Posts: 4876
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In reply to Wooshka


Date: 11/21/11 8:29 PM

Firstly welcome to sewing! It's a geat hobby and very helpful in clothing little ones when RTW is difficult to buy.

As you want to sew for your kids may I suggest a Kwik Sew pattern for your daughter or son? Kwik Sew have the best sewing instructions. So good you can learn to sew just from using their patterns. They also have lots of kid's patterns suitable for beginners. Most are suitable in fact. I'd suggest starting with something simple like a pair of pull-on pants or leggings, a basic t-shirt, and/or an elastic waist skirt. Pyjamas are also good practice for a beginner. The Kwik Sew instructions include all the information you need to sew.

Kwik Sew toddler patterns

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Belinda. Melbourne, Australia
http://sew-4-fun.blogspot.com/

GoSewGirl
GoSewGirl  Friend of PR
Advanced
New York USA
Member since 4/14/04
Posts: 465
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Date: 11/21/11 8:40 PM

I completely agree with Sew4Fun about using a KwikSew pattern to start as they do have the best instructions of all the pattern companies. I wish they had been available to me when I was a beginner!

I initially learned to sew from my mother and grandmother, who learned just from using patterns and trial and error. I didn't have any reference books or the internet, but I did have those 2 more experienced seamstresses around. You mentioned you had a couple of books, which will be good when you have questions, but just start with a simple pattern and work from there.

You don't need to know *everything* to get started, and you're right, the amount of information out there can be overwhelming. Pick a pattern, get the materials you need for it, and go for it!

Happy sewing!

------
Liz

Vintage Joan
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Vintage Joan
Intermediate
Ontario Canada
Member since 7/16/07
Posts: 10667
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In reply to Wooshka


Date: 11/21/11 8:57 PM

Welcome. I think the logical pathway for newbies is probably to start with something that has the simplest construction and work up from there. When I learned to sew one of the first items we made was a basic apron. The first garment I made (other than the apron) was a simple A-line skirt -- it had a zipper, but if your little one is a girl, you could make a little skirt with an elastic waist. Start small and build up confidence -- add to your skill set a bit at a time, and don't worry if it takes time to master some things.




-- Edited on 11/21/11 8:58 PM --

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my shield and my very great reward ~ Gen. 15:1

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