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#1 of 31 Old 07-22-2007, 05:05 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I've been teaching myself to sew a little at a time for a while now.This definately is not the best method for learning to sew.Especially since it's all trial and error.

So,I'm just wondering...how did you learn to sew?

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#2 of 31 Old 07-22-2007, 05:49 PM
 
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My mom sews, and we had sewing classes in jr high.
there are lots of books on amazon about sewing.

what are you having trouble with? I still don't match stripes or plaids, too much work. I don't do much that is complicated because I'm impatient.

There are some books on alterations that can be helpful if you are hard to fit. Also, remember if you wear a size 8 at the store, you don't wear a size 8 pattern! Check the pieces against your body. Buy multi sized patterns so you can adjust. If you can find the 'fitting shell' patterns (I think mccalls and simplicity have them) it may be a good idea to get one.

I still only make very simple things, rarely do zippers, and in a pinch I will pay an alterations shop to do my buttonholes or blind hems if I don't like the way my machine does them. I had a machine once that had 'funny looking' buttonholes. eventually I got rid of it, but that was my stopgap solution.

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#3 of 31 Old 07-22-2007, 10:36 PM
 
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Mostly by watching Sewing With Nancy on PBS.

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#4 of 31 Old 07-22-2007, 10:39 PM
 
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My grandmother was a fabulous sewer and made dresses for us when we were growing up. She was always an inspiration, but she didn't teach me. My first "lesson" was a Stretch & Sew class at a local fabric store (which may give away my age because this was the fad in the 1970's). From that point on, I taught myself by trial and error, just like you. Now I sew professionally, as well as for fun.

Sewing clothes really isn't the best place to start -- it's too complicated. I suggest home dec projects like throw pillows, pillow cases for the kids, curtains, simple gifts, hair scrunchies, craft projects (things that don't require precision). After you feel comfortable with those types of projects and want to make clothes, try pajama pants or a nightgown. Because you'll be wearing them in the dark, they don't have to be perfect!

Good luck!

~ Kathryn
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#5 of 31 Old 07-22-2007, 10:39 PM
 
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I guess you could say self taught with instruction, lol. I've taken out alot of books and read alot online. But otherwise, I've just gone ahead and hoped for the best. I dont know anybody who sews - I only have the ladies here to answer questions for me.
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#6 of 31 Old 07-22-2007, 10:43 PM
 
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my sister is teaching me...it's going a little slow but I like it.

Mom to Iris and Henry
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#7 of 31 Old 07-22-2007, 11:10 PM
 
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My mom sews. She supported us for a while doing wedding parties (bride, bridesmaids, flower girls, mother of the bride, christening gowns, etc) and such. She made most of my and my sister's clothes for years, as well as our doll clothes (anybody else have My Friend dolls? they had patterns galore!). I did my first hand sewing at six and had my first machine at seven, basically so I'd let my mom sew in peace while I was workin on my own stuff.

In jr.high we had to take a home ec class, half of which was sewing. I finished the project in the first week, and then worked on something from home, or helped classmates wind bobbins and etc to keep them going.

I'm glad that I learned young, as now, when I have time, I can do a lot of what my mom did. I make my kids' jammies, my dd's dresses and pants/shorts...it's nice to have the skill!

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#8 of 31 Old 07-23-2007, 11:27 AM
 
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I've taken a few classes, but mostly It's been from trial and error. My mom doesn't sew, but I never hesitate to look online, watch a good tv show on sewig or get a book from the library. I say pick up a pattern and some inexpensive fabric and go from there.

Sabrina , mom to 4 fab kids!

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#9 of 31 Old 07-23-2007, 01:28 PM
 
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My mom taught me, when I was 5 or 6. Both my sister and I sewed clothes for ourselves when we were kids, though Mom did the "hard" stuff, at least for me. And there's still a lot of trial and error. I like reading Threads magazine for technique; I also learn a lot by following pattern instructions to the letter. This is not as much as a d'oh as it seems: in learning style, I'm one of the plow ahead without reading the manual kind of people. So it's a very conscious thing to slow it down and do everything according to the rules.

Back when I had the time, I would go shopping just to try on different styles of things, as a means of making pattern selection less of a trial and error deal. I also tend to choose patterns that are forgiving--not a lot of fussy fitting (hard to do for oneself) and lots of extra room where I need it.

Mom of two girls.
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#10 of 31 Old 07-23-2007, 07:09 PM
 
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Read the book 100 times, then took them machine out of the box, then tried, and learned how to use the seam ripper very well. I'm much better with it now.
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#11 of 31 Old 07-23-2007, 07:55 PM
 
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I started sewing when I was around 10 with my mom. I also watched my Grandma sew.

Then, when I was 12, I took my first home ec class that had a sewing unit. A wrap skirt was my first garment project.

I continued to take home ec classes every year (8th grade, 9th grade, 10th grade, 11th grade, 12th grade) and even took a few classes that were exclusively dressmaking.

For me, being able to watch someone else sew was the key. I can follow written instructions pretty well, but I learn better hands-on.
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#12 of 31 Old 07-23-2007, 11:21 PM
 
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i took a series of classes in 3rd grade called "Kids Can Sew". it was in a sewing shop that had lots of machines and 2 surgers. it was a blast. we made several outfits and modeled them in a style show at the end of the season. it was amazing the outfits that we made. i still can't believe that i made them that young. i would love for dd to learn to sew at a young age.

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#13 of 31 Old 07-23-2007, 11:25 PM
 
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I started learning from my mom when I was a little girl, (she is a professional quilter.)
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#14 of 31 Old 07-24-2007, 02:51 AM
 
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Although I took sewing badges in Girl Guides, and two units of Sewing classes in high school, I was never interested or particularly good at sewing until I was 20 (11 years ago). That's the summer I decided I wanted to make a black satin skirt. The sister and mother of my boyfriend at the time were both avid sewers, so I had them supervise me on my first project. Since then I've been mostly self-taught, taking on progressively more difficult patterns until now I am confident in my ability to sew pretty much anything.

I read Threads magazine fairly regularly. I also attended some workshops at a Sewing trade show which helped me learn a lot about zippers, pockets, lining and a number of other technical issues. Those workshops have been great and I look forward to taking more. I've learned about fitting from reading a lot of library books, and also from trial and error.
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#15 of 31 Old 07-24-2007, 10:37 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Wow!Thanks for all your stories.It's very interesting to me.I think it's a shame that I was able to graduate high school with skills in algerbra but I can't sew myself a simple outfit or change my spark plugs.I'm all for bringing home ec and auto shop back.

So far I've made some easier things like pillows and small simple quilts.Some felt foods and little doll/creatures.But I realize that I've probably been doing some things the hard way since I don't really know what's out there.I need to start reading some books.And once I get the language down I'm going to try a pattern.

Thanks for the tips!

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#16 of 31 Old 07-24-2007, 11:36 AM
 
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I agree with a pp who said grab any pattern and just go!

I admit thats what I did *before* I took out the how-to books. I found a kids pants pattern that was rated easy or beginner and picked up some fabric remnants and then went full speed ahead. You can just imagine what they looked like!

But it was fun playing around with the machine and trying to cut fabric.
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#17 of 31 Old 07-24-2007, 03:16 PM
 
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My aunt taught me how to hand sew, my mom taught me how to sew using a machine. My maternal grandparents owned a drapery shop (mom has it now), so all of us learned basic sewing.

My paternal grandmother was an amazing seamstress, and I inherited a lot of her sewing books when she passed, but by the time I was ready to learn, she was unable to teach me.
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#18 of 31 Old 07-25-2007, 08:11 AM
 
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Middle school home ec class. It's a shame most schools don't teach that stuff anymore. (We also had woodshop and metalshop. Most of what I needed to know to build my house was based in those woodshop classes!)

I've gotten a lot better at sewing with practice, trial and error, and reading. I'm a teach-myself kind of person with most things.
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#19 of 31 Old 07-30-2007, 12:00 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rere View Post
I've been teaching myself to sew a little at a time for a while now.This definately is not the best method for learning to sew.Especially since it's all trial and error.

So,I'm just wondering...how did you learn to sew?
Handcock Fabrics and JoAnn Fabrics have sewing classes and I will take one as soon as dd (13mo) is Ok being left without me.

My mom gave me some lessons that helped me get through my Waldorf baby dress, but mom lives in another state so not the best way to get help.

"It should be a rule in all prophylactic work that no harm should ever be unnecessarily inflicted on a healthy person (Sir Graham Wilson, The Hazards of Immunization, 1967)."
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#20 of 31 Old 07-30-2007, 01:20 PM
 
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My mother taught me.

I use Singer books to help me when I get stuck, now. Sewing with Nancy is/was a really great show. I think it still comes on. Even my mom used to watch her and my mom started sewing when she was 12.

Yes, yes.  I'm fabulous. loveeyes.gif  Moving on...

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#21 of 31 Old 08-01-2007, 08:17 PM
 
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My mother showed me how to thread the machine, then I taught myself with books and online techniques. I did a lot of trial and error (like with bias trim) but finally realized you can learn the easy and best way to do just about anything by Google-ing it. Also, if you follow a pattern very closely, it will really teach you a lot. Like my mom said after showing me how to thread the machine - "There is the pattern, do what it says."
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#22 of 31 Old 08-01-2007, 08:35 PM
 
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I took classes at a really funky sewing school in NYC, sew fast sew easy.
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#23 of 31 Old 08-12-2007, 07:48 PM
 
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my grandmother sewed and i was always bugging her to let me use her machine and all the scraps she had left over from projects.i think the first thing i made was a doll i was about 5 so i was pretty little,by the time i got into highschool and took clothing design i was better than the teacher!
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#24 of 31 Old 08-12-2007, 07:52 PM
 
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From my mom.
She also taught me to crochet and embroider.
I self-taught knitting.

Katreena, peace.gif 39 year old Alaskan treehugger.gif Mama to 1 hearts.gif and 1 lady.gif gd.gif
 
 
 
 

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#25 of 31 Old 08-12-2007, 08:15 PM
 
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I made tube dresses for my barbies by hand then my mom showed me how to use the machine and I made more tube dresses for them, think polyester that stretches and 1 seam up the back, you could change the length or the fabric, it was fun and what I wanted to do at the time.

curtains came next, simple hem line to insert a rod or rope, trial and error

a wrap-around skirt with pattern came next, that turned out nice, still have it too and it still fits (that's the cool thing with wrap arounds...)

kids toys and things for around the house came next, some were silly but I made them so they were pretty in my eyes.

then I wanted to quilt so I read read read, no TV so couldn't watch programs, later we got a TV and now the puter so can get more knowledge there

I sewed a shirt for Father's day this year, button up and down collered, no cuffs, turned out pretty good!

you will get the hang of it, I think the quilting helped me alot, I learned how to sew a straight line and use my machines with that so when I did the shirt this last time it was soooo much easier, think I will do more clothing in the future, will still quilt since there are a thousand patterns I wnt to try!
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#26 of 31 Old 08-12-2007, 08:22 PM
 
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Reader's Digest Guide to Sewing....

looked things up as I went along....
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#27 of 31 Old 08-13-2007, 12:57 AM
 
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Mom sewed. Then I took Home Ec in Junior High.

There are some books out there that teach the very basics; look in the crafts section of a bookstore or ask at your library.

"What will you do once you know?"
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#28 of 31 Old 08-17-2007, 07:43 PM
 
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Thanks for the Sewing With Nancy idea, I am looking her up online.

My friend and I are taking classes for free from a local place. I get adult education class catalogs in the mail and there are SO many useful classes there for free or fairly cheap.

We bought the book Sewing for Dummies, and we're keeping our eyes open for other ways to learn more. We both know only bare basics and while she made some baby clothes 10 years ago, it wasn't great quality and she didn't care much then. We would really like (and need) to do great things.

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#29 of 31 Old 08-18-2007, 12:05 PM
 
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I'm mostly self taught. I did take home ec in jr. high and high school. My high school home ec teacher was awesome, but had high expectations. We made a pair of jeans!?!?! She created the pattern herself and tailored it to each of us, I made clam diggers that were so skin tight, ewwww! I was way to preppy to wear them. The one "head banger" in our class saw me throwing them away and asked if she could have them.

My Dad bought me a sewing machine for a wedding present. He used to sew all of his own clothes, has done some costume design/sewing, and made my wedding dress. He wasn't around when I was growing up though and my mother was reasonably talented, but not at teaching. Once I got that sewing machine I just started plugging away, ripped a lot of seams, decided it was much easier to sew for children and made my niece's a lot of dresses. I'm still not very successful at sewing for myself. I'd like to learn though and I really want to make a ductape dummy for myself.

I saw someone mention these classes:

http://www.kidscansew.com/

That looks so cool! I really want to teach my kids to sew, we homeschool, but I want them to learn proper skills, not just what I've figured out for myself, kwim?
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#30 of 31 Old 08-18-2007, 12:12 PM
 
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So, taking a quick look at the site I posted a link too, is it me or are they geared to girls??? My son is 8, I'd love to teach him to sew too, but blouses? Skirts? I know I can teach him to sew regardless of what they offer, but why would they call themselves *kid*sew, when what they mean is *girl*sew, kwim? :
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