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Message Board > Beginner's Forum > Am I all alone in this? ( Moderated by EleanorSews)

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Am I all alone in this?
Alterations vs. Basic Sewing Skills
Queendom

Queendom
Intermediate
GA USA
Member since 8/24/02
Posts: 443
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Date: 5/27/05 5:01 PM

I seem to be able to alter patterns to fit me with no trouble at all. The problem comes when I get down to sewing. I'm pretty much self taught, so some "basics" just slipped by me. In the past few years, I've started taking classes whenver I can. When I'm in a class, I'm occasionally embarassed because I do so well at altering the pattern that the teacher expects me to know more than I do about completing the project.

Am I all alone in this or does anyone else have this problem?

------
Sandra
Whatever You Can Do, or Dream You Can, Begin it, Boldness has Genious, Power and Magic in it. - Goethe

bunz
star
bunz
Intermediate
VA USA
Member since 8/24/02
Posts: 2728
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Date: 5/27/05 5:54 PM

Wish I knew your alteration-understanding secret - LOL!! I'm just the opposite. You sewing classes will definitely help -- ASK QUESTIONS!!!

Nina

Neefer
starstarstar
Neefer
Intermediate
CA USA
Member since 4/8/02
Posts: 2662
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Date: 5/27/05 6:37 PM

I think that most people don't start out sewing clothing. They quilt, do home dec, sew for their kids (technically clothing), crafts, etc. But they sew things for which there are no alterations, and that way, they develop sewing skills but not fitting skills.

Or they gave up on clothing after they found that patterns don't fit. That's what I did. I quilted for a number of years.

------
Neefer aka AgitProp and Village Churl Sewing Blog: http://www.oaktrees.org/blog/

Bonny lass, bonny lass, will you be mine?
You shall neither wash dishes nor serve the wine;
But sit on a cushion and sew a fine seam,
And feast upon strawberries, sugar, and cream.

Gus2

Gus2
Intermediate
MA USA
Member since 3/7/04
Posts: 245
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Date: 5/27/05 6:38 PM

A middle age relevation (for me anyway)
Life is about the acquisition of knowledge, never let another's expectations to derail you. Help fellow students it will make asking for help easier. After all why did you sign up for the class, not because you were already expert in the area. Good luck there is nothing to be embarrassed about.

------
Gus2

KitnRose
star
KitnRose
Intermediate
TX USA
Member since 6/18/03
Posts: 2074
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Date: 5/27/05 11:20 PM

I'm with you Sandra! My strong point is spacial ability, so it's not that hard for me to visualize something in my head and figure out how to alter the pattern to make it fit. On the other hand, a basic sewing class would probably help me tons, there's so much of the technical side of sewing I just don't get. Like hems... I've not yet made a hem I'm really happy with. One of my early projects included combining a lot of patterns to get the desired effect. A couple people told me to up my skill level to 'intermediate' - flattering but they obviously didn't see I never put a hem in the final project - I didn't want to mess it up! So I can completely sympathize with you - it's tough to have others misjudge you're experience since that makes you (well, me at least) feel silly when some very basic things take time. Hope the class goes well, despite the tall poppy syndrom that's struck you for a bit!

------
Kit
"Never underestimate the power of the right dress!" - drsue
"Hyu gots to know how to sveet tok de costumers, dollink" - Girl Genius, 11-24-08

mammabear

mammabear
Intermediate
OK USA
Member since 5/1/05
Posts: 10
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Date: 5/28/05 7:13 AM

Yeah, I'm with bunz. I'm actually jealous! Of course, my sewing skills have come from sewing for children. Yes, mostly because of frusteration in sewing for myself due to lack of fit. My sewing skills have improved over the last few years and I want to tackle sewing for myself but alterations, etc. scare me! Especially since we've moved so often recently and I don't have anyone that I can call up and say, "come help me fit a pattern." I'm actually kind of jealous that you started the other way! On the other hand, I kind of understand. I taught myself how to play the piano when I was about 10. I never liked to practice so I didn't play scales, etc. but I got really good at sight-reading. Now I can sit down and play things really well the first time--they just don't get much better with practice. I took lessons in college and it gave my piano teacher fits. I don't think she'd ever had a student working on Chopin and scales at the same time. Just keep going!

mammabear

mammabear
Intermediate
OK USA
Member since 5/1/05
Posts: 10
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Date: 5/28/05 7:14 AM

Yeah, I'm with bunz. I'm actually jealous! Of course, my sewing skills have come from sewing for children. Yes, mostly because of frusteration in sewing for myself due to lack of fit. My sewing skills have improved over the last few years and I want to tackle sewing for myself but alterations, etc. scare me! Especially since we've moved so often recently and I don't have anyone that I can call up and say, "come help me fit a pattern." On the other hand, I kind of understand. I taught myself how to play the piano when I was about 10. I never liked to practice so I didn't play scales, etc. but I got really good at sight-reading. Now I can sit down and play things really well the first time--they just don't get much better with practice. I took lessons in college and it gave my piano teacher fits. I don't think she'd ever had a student working on Chopin and scales at the same time. Just keep going!

Queendom

Queendom
Intermediate
GA USA
Member since 8/24/02
Posts: 443
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In reply to KitnRose


Date: 5/28/05 10:29 AM

Oh, sigh of relief! Thank you! Now I don't feel like such an idiot. I really do think my sewing skills will improve, I just have to keep reminding myself. The problem is, once upon a time, before I got sick and had to stop working, I was able to afford designer clothes. Once you wear them, nothing else pleases you--so, I'm determined to to learn as much as I possibly can. My theory is that I'll be happy (for now) with simple styles using elegant fabric. Wish me luck!

------
Sandra
Whatever You Can Do, or Dream You Can, Begin it, Boldness has Genious, Power and Magic in it. - Goethe

amandaschlicher
amandaschlicher
Member since 5/31/05
Posts: 8
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Date: 5/31/05 1:06 PM

I'm the same way.... I'm a professional costume designer and all my sewing was learned as i went working in the costume shop in college. The classes i took were in design and patterning, so i can design, draft, drape, and fit, but damned if i know how to put in a zipper or how to use half the feet my sewing machine came with. My sewing skills were a direct result of the needs of the play we were working on and what project was handed to me. And now that i'm working mostly for small theatres that don't have a staff, i'm doing all the sewing myself and probably learning alot, but certainly wasting alot of time taking the long way around things i don't really know how to do properly.

Kateyo
Kateyo
Beginner
NY
Member since 5/16/05
Posts: 2
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In reply to Queendom


Date: 6/1/05 8:33 AM

Sandra -- I'm jealous too. I'm just getting back into sewing. I used to make a lot of my own clothes -- before I had kids and had more time. I put it aside also because of frustrations with my sewing machine. I recently treated myself to a new one (Janome) and made a costume for my son. To be honest, my hands were shaking at the thought of having to do it -- felt a little panicky facing a deadline. My first thought was to bring the pattern and material to a local seamstress. But, I surprised myself with how well it turned out after not sewing for many years. I realize too how many of the problems may have been because of the machine rather than just me (which I thought). I had some time this weekend to sit at my machine and practice using it on scrap material -- tried the different stitches and changing the foot attachments. Even did the blind hem -- which I'll do for real over the weekend on some slacks that need hemming. What a breeze. I don't think I'll be making a lot of clothes again --who knows -- but would like to try some home decor items -- curtains, pillows, quilts

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