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How do I learn how to sew??

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
I'm trying to learn new things.I've always thought it would be neat to make dresses for my girls,but dont have a sewing machine,anyone who knows how to sew or any idea how to start.Any ideas??? TIA
post #2 of 8
Well, if you're going to buy a sewing machine, be prepared for sticker shock. I saw one the other day that cost $6000. On the other hand, the really cheap machines are junky and will frustrate you to no end. Medium grade machines like the one I have cost about $700. Could you borrow one from someone for a while? Or maybe you have a friend or aunt or your mom who would let you come over and use hers. You could also look for a used one, but I had no luck with that. Of course, you could sew by hand, but that takes forever.

Before you even get your hands on a machine, go to the library and get a couple of books about the basics of sewing. Then you could buy a simple pattern like an A-line jumper or sundress and give it a go. Don't let your first project be one that requires a knit fabric, or one that calls for something slippery or very thick fabric like denim. Knits are tricky. I've been sewing since I was 6 years old and I still avoid knits. Another route you could take is to sign up for a class at a local fabric store. The smaller, locally owned stores often hold classes. Generally, you pay a fee for the class, and sometimes you get a discount if you buy the materials you need at the store.

Also, when you do attempt your first project, pay careful attention to the instructions, and don't skip steps like ironing your seams. And always prewash your fabric! Good luck.
post #3 of 8
Hi Saige
I love sewing. I posted under Mssgrl's thread called "sewing bafoon looking for help" about selecting a sewing machine. I love my viking that I got used for $275. Those things just never die! PM me if you have more ?s
post #4 of 8
I bought a new machine around Halloween... a Janome for $400 and I LOVE IT!!! It runs very smoothly and is very simple to use. I bought it from a dealer, instead of a fabric store and really enjoy the support I get from the store. I also took a basic sewing class through the community college that was taught by the lady that owns the dealership. It was a blast! We made a pillow and learned some really great short cuts for things that look hard like gathering and cording.

I've found that Simplicity patterns are really easy to follow for the most part. I made my daughter's halloween costume and her Christmas outfit and curtains for my home. All without needing any outside help. Clothes for myself are a little trickier.

The best advice I got (and didn't follow because I needed a machine the week before Halloween) was go to several dealers and test drive as many machines as you can. This way you'll get an idea for how helpful the people are and how much support they will give you.

Good luck!
post #5 of 8

Some sewing advice:

I agree with all the stuff I've heard so far, especially about the knits. Polar fleece, however, is EASY EASY to sew with and you might want to try that for a first project.

1. Buy a machine at a store that also has classes, like a quilting store. A lot of them throw in a class on how to use your machine and all the cool pieces it comes with -- even if you don't know how to wind a bobbin or thread a machine, they'll teach you.

2. If something isn't working on the machine, don't get frustrated! Sometimes it's really hard to figure out what's going wrong and a simple phone call to the store can help you fix it. ie. thread tension, correctly lining up bobbin etc.

3. Get an all-mechanical machine. This way you can learn on a simple system and get to know how a sewing machine works. I sew A LOT and have a 4 year old Bernina all-mechanical and LOVE IT. It doesn't have anything super-fancy on it, just the simple stitches that work really well. I bought it 2 years ago for $400.

Happy sewing! I've made all my diaper covers on my machine as well as other very cute baby stuff and my own clothes, as well as, as might be obvious by my name, many quilts.
post #6 of 8
I am about to buy a machine, I looked in the phone book and found a store that sells them and offers classes....I am going to take an intro to sewing class for $35.00 and then she recommended that I wait until after the class to buy my machine...they have basic starter machines that they teach with. She said after the class I will have a better idea about how much to spend and where I want to go with sewing which made sense to me.........Stephanie
post #7 of 8
I do NOT quilt, but I can sew just about anything. I second the ideas of taking a basic class. Our area has adult continuing education classes by the local school districts, JoAnns has classes, the sewing machine dealers have classes, etc. I have what sounds like jjquilters machine: a basic Bernina which can do everything I need--it just doesn't have anything computerized. I also have a professional grade serger, which is also Bernina, really excellent. It will take me years before I learn all the techniques that I can with that thing!

I learned on a Singer, but they don't make them like they used to (i.e., like my mom's almost 30 yo still going machine). OTOH, you can get a Pfaff, Viking, Bernina, and I recently became aware of Jerome (not sure if spelled right) that are all amazing machines that just go and go. It's worth the money you might pay, but you have to choose quality vs. usage, etc.
post #8 of 8


Hi Saige,
I just wanted to check back in and find out how it is going. Have you made a decision? Or are you still out shopping? I am just curious.
Oh, and for a great pattern book, I highly recommend Kwik-Sew Sewing For... books. I have heard lots of beginning sewers tell me they were easy. I love them because there is endless design possibilities. Totally worth the price of a book!
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