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Forum > Beginner's Forum > Sewing at the Feet of the Master? Or is experience the best teacher? ( Moderated by EleanorSews)

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Sewing at the Feet of the Master? Or is experience the best teacher?
If you were a beginner in San Francisco...
Tailypo
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Tailypo
California USA
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Date: 5/26/05 2:47 PM

I am in San Francisco, so I could easily sign up for classes at The Sewing Workshop, or Stone Mountain and Daughter. I could not so easily pay for such classes - which seem to run between $200 and $1000. But come on, Fred Bloebaum, Susan Khalje, Kenneth King... they are about 40 blocks from my house, teaching away. But I am poor, and have easy access to 99 cent a yard fabric, and already own about 70 patterns. But I screw up so often, over things like not knowing to change stitch length, and stuff like that. But for $35 a year, I can check in with you guys... I keep going back and forth. All you experienced sewing geniuses, looking back, if you were in my shoes and a beginner what would you do? I don't want to become a couture seamstress, just a good sewer. Advise please!

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messymethodsewing.wordpress.com

Debbie Cook
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Debbie Cook
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Date: 5/26/05 3:04 PM

1. Read. Get all the books and magazines you can from the library, even via interlibrary loan.

2. Practice. Sewing is one skill where you definitely learn from mistakes and get better with each new project.

3. Videos. Either from the library, or buy a few -- cheaper than those classes.

4. Join your local ASG. They will probably have a library of good (free) reference materials you can borrow too. And most chapters put on great classes & seminars from time to time for cheap!

5. Take cheaper classes at sewing machine dealers. You don't have to take a class from a "celebrity" to learn about sewing.

6. Check your PBS listings for sewing shows and watch/record them.

7. Keep asking questions here.

Forgot to add -- I've not taken any $$$ classes and I think I'm doing pretty well. But, my mom sewed all of my life (still does) and so I know I learned a lot from her. Maybe you can hook up with a sewing mentor from the ASG??

Also forgot ... take *any* affordable classes from a local dealer whether or not you care about the project. You will learn things just from the idle conversation of the other class members and/or the instructor.


-- Edited on 5/26/05 4:10 PM --

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"I base my fashion sense on what doesn't itch." ó Gilda Radner
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PhyllisC
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PhyllisC
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Massachusetts USA
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In reply to Tailypo


Date: 5/26/05 3:35 PM

Quote: Tailypo
But come on, Fred Bloebaum, Susan Khalje, Kenneth King... they are about 40 blocks from my house, teaching away.

Well I'll beg to differ with Debbie on this one - I think most people will never get to a truly advanced level of anything without class instruction and if you think you need that then you probably do. Iím not a total proponent of strict DYI.

The importance of class instruction doesnít apply just to sewing: it also applies sports, music, art - few of us are so naturally talented that we don't need teachers. There just ain't that many of us who are Picasso, Einstein or Coco Chanel.

The three teachers you mention are in the elite level of sewing teachers, and that explains the cost of their programs. They know so much, and are so very skilled, that you almost can't help but learn from them, regardless of what skill level you have.

I've taken Kenneth King's interactive soft bag class here on PR - it's less than $50 for FOPR and I loved it ! - he's an *excellent* teacher and his instructions virtually guarantee a great result. I loved it so much I also signed up for his rigid bag class.

So there are ways to learn from them before you might ever decide whether to take an in-person class.

Phyllis



-- Edited on 5/26/05 4:37 PM --

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Sewing = Fashion
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Luck happens when preparation meets opportunity.

Debbie Cook
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Debbie Cook
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In reply to PhyllisC


Date: 5/26/05 3:52 PM

Quote: PhyllisC
Well I'll beg to differ with Debbie on this one - I think most people will never get to a truly advanced level of anything without class instruction and if you think you need that then you probably do.

No, we agree.

I was just giving other options besides a multi-hundred dollar class. I *do* think class instruction is important but it doesn't have to be with one of the "masters" to still learn many valuable skills.

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--
"I base my fashion sense on what doesn't itch." ó Gilda Radner
http://stitchesandseams.blogspot.com

PhyllisC
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PhyllisC
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Massachusetts USA
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In reply to Debbie Cook


Date: 5/26/05 4:00 PM

Agreed ! - there are lots of ways to learn.

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Sewing = Fashion
http://coudremode.com/

Luck happens when preparation meets opportunity.

AnneM
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AnneM  Friend of PR
Intermediate
Massachusetts USA
Member since 7/30/02
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Date: 5/26/05 5:09 PM

I highly recommend a sewing class. I think that it will get you going, and once you take a few you will be able to get more from the books and other resources.

I highly discourage you from taking classes from a celebrity. Those are better once you are more advanced. As Debbie suggested, check out your local sewing machine shop or fabric store to see what they offer for classes.

I think having an instructor in a semi-private setting (6 or fewer people) can be a great benefit. That is what I did to start sewing. My instructor had recommended projects for the level I was at, although she would let you do anything if you wanted to. I no longer take sewing classes, but really feel it was a great help. She wasn't a celebrity, just an accomplished sew-er.

Your instructor will be able to help you past your "blocks", whatever items you are finding particularly difficult to get your arms around.

Once you feel a little more comfortable, then it might be worth checking out the celebrities. And Phyllis' suggestion of the on-line courses is good also.


(I want to clarify that it isn't that I don't think the classes from a celebrity aren't worth what they cost; they might easily be. But from your post, it sounds like you will get more from a regular, reasonably priced sewing class. I went once a week.)



-- Edited on 5/26/05 6:12 PM --

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With a great wardrobe that's still in the flat-fabric stage.

Nickle
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Nickle
Intermediate
Michigan USA
Member since 10/31/04
Posts: 997
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Date: 5/26/05 5:25 PM

If I was having problems with fit- I would take a class. Since you don't want to do coutour, I'd spend the money on books, videos, sewing shop classes, online classes, and then of couse you have this wonderful board to ask questions on. There are a lot of good books out there and I like having a library of sewing books and magazines.

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Penny

Fabric Mart Bundle Fabric sewn- 10.5 yds

Nickle
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Nickle
Intermediate
Michigan USA
Member since 10/31/04
Posts: 997
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Date: 5/26/05 5:26 PM

Sorry- accidently posted twice.
-- Edited on 5/26/05 6:28 PM --

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Penny

Fabric Mart Bundle Fabric sewn- 10.5 yds

GorgeousFabrics
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GorgeousFabrics
Expert/Couture
USA
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Date: 5/26/05 8:06 PM

Personally, I have the philosophy of "you can learn something from everyone". I hope to take a (live) class with Kenneth King soon.

Oh, and speaking of Mr. King, he moved from San Fran to NYC. Hence the reason his classes might now be doable for me.

-Ann

Everyday Sewist
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Everyday Sewist
Advanced Beginner
USA
Member since 9/14/02
Posts: 2707
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Date: 5/26/05 9:15 PM

I'm a firm believer that you can get better at anything as long as you do it frequently and consistently.

I'm finding I learn things better if I make a similar project over & over again. This year I've made 5-6 t-shirts in a row and I feel like I learn something new (and it gets much easier) each time. I'm getting a better fit, trying out different finishes, and really learning how to streamline the whole process so I can sew faster.




-- Edited on 5/26/05 10:16 PM --

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