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Wanting to sew but not knowing how to start

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  • Wanting to sew but not knowing how to start

    I've been given a cheapo sewing machine and I'd like to learn how to sew. So many questions that I don't have an answer to. Did you go to sewing classes? If so, were they worth it? Do I just buy one of those patterns at spotlight and go from there? Is it mostly winging it? I'm kind of worried that I'm going to throw away heaps of $ worth of fabric because I can't sew a straight line or will screw it up right the end if I get a curve wrong etc.

    I don't know what I'm doing.. It's all dutch to me. But I like cute little outfits and want to make some for DS.

    All advice is welcome!
    I am not an early bird or a night owl.
    I am some form of permanently exhausted pigeon.

  • #2
    My grandmother taught me to sew plus what little we did in home ec at school. Other than that I’ve just used patterns and/or done my own thing.

    I’d suggest going to somewhere like spotlight or even an op shop and buying some offcuts or cheap bits of clothing you can practice on to start with. Just practice the different stitches, starting and finishing, getting a straight line, turning corners etc etc

    Once you’ve got the feel of how to do the basics and how the machine works, get a few basic patterns and ease your way into it. Don’t try anything too fancy to start with or you’ll get frustrated and disappointed.

    Use good old you tube too for hints and tips on how to do different things. Good luck! [emoji4]


    • #3
      I didn't have lessons and I started out with pdf patterns bought online.


      • #4
        i’d start with getting to know your machine. what model is it? boring as it sounds (and i hate doing this kind of thing too lol), see if you can find an instructional dvd or youtube videos for getting your machine set up for the basics. can you thread it? can you get thread on the bobbin? can you put your bobbin in etc. my sewing intro was year 9 home ec classes at school so when i got my machine, i had to revisit all the basics as it’d been a while. start with really basic sewing projects to get to know your machine, make a simple sewing bag or a basic pillow case, just learning to sew in a straight line. once you’re happy with this, find a basic pattern and like [MENTION=70698]Mamasupial[/MENTION] suggested, do the pdf version. i’d start super simple and stick with woven fabrics (cotton, poplin etc). a lot of kids clothes are cute with knit fabrics but they can be tricky to sew with for a newbie.

        i personally don’t think there’s any need for lessons but if you can afford it and have the time, sure why not. i prefer self taught through trial and error, as i find i make a mistake that’s time costly and i learn from it immediately. good luck! and pop your head in the sewing thread, lots of inspiration and chat and help on offer from those across many different skill levels.


        • #5
          I started at school at age 12 and my mum has been sewing for 55 years so she has taught me a fair bit. In more recent years I’ve mainly been using PDF patterns that I got online.

          Paper patterns from Spotlight can be confusing for a beginner as they assume a certain level of knowledge.

          I’d recommend going to a pattern site like Tadah and getting a basic pattern and following their instructions.

          YouTube is also a great resource if you’re stuck with a certain technique.


          • #6
            tadah and brindille & twig are great resources for cute patterns as they have different skill levels. tadah is aussie which i prefer slightly over b&t but i prefer b&t range of patterns. i find tadah a bit limited and skewed towards girls.


            • #7
              To teach my DD to sew, first I drew some straight lines on paper and made her sew those. It got her used to the feel and movement of the machine. Then some wavy lines to get the feel for how to do curves. Paper is much easier to work with and see. Then I gave her scrap woven fabric to work with.

              First sewing project was a simple bag, all straight lines! As PP mentioned, I wouldn't start with the sort of patterns you get at spotlight as a lot of the terminology needs explanation/a base level of knowledge.

              For your first sewing projects, stick to cotton/poly woven fabrics. Things about the same weight as shirt fabric. Avoid heavy or very thing fabrics, stretch/knits or anything shiny until you get used to the basics of sewing.


              • #8
                Lots of great responses and information here - thank you lovely ladies! I will start with paper as suggested, then move onto cheap woven fabrics for a few beginner projects. I fear there will be a lot of haphazardly sewn pillow cases roaming around our place in the near future lol!

                Will also check out tadah once I have straight lines and curves mastered.

                The machine from memory is a Janome 216 I believe. Very basic beginner style and kind of light and smallish.
                I am not an early bird or a night owl.
                I am some form of permanently exhausted pigeon.


                • #9
                  keep us posted with your progress! i also think the simpler machines are better for beginners, less bells and whistles to confuse you so you can just focus on the basis of sewing. good luck!


                  • #10
                    I agree with everything that has been said above. I love the clearance table at spotlight and also check if there is a bin nearby with remnants (my spotlight rolls them up into a ball with tape and plastic wrap then write how much they are on outside.) They are under a metre but that’s often all you need for kids stuff anyway. I often pick up pieces for $1-2 and can do a project from it.

                    If you’re looking for a good beginner project Id suggest messenger bags, you could make one for your ds and it’s mostly just straight lines. I like the free zaaberry messenger bag tutorial and have made it heaps of times for gifts.


                    • #11
                      Oh and op shop sheets are great for practicing on if you don’t want to use expensive fabric to test stuff on.