I am being asked questions this past week about what a newbie needs to get started so I wanted to cover most of those questions in this post but first let's start with a little Q&A
1. Do you sew for other people?
No. I use to do so and on very rare occasions I might if its a friend, special occasion etc. but I am a selfish seamstress all the way :-) The good news is that you can learn to sew and reap the rewards of turning a flat piece of fabric into something fantastic that you can wear.
2. Did you teach yourself or go to school?
Both, I learned to sew when I was 12 by watching my aunt who was an amazing seamstress and I fell in love. I started teaching myself to cut, sew and copy items I had in my closet and I haven't looked back. In my 20's I decided to go to "Fashion Design" school and after the first year I hadn't learned anything I hadn't already taught myself so I decided that for me the tuition was not worth it and went back to self teaching.
3.Do you think anyone can sew?
Yes. I am a true believer in that you can do whatever you want to do as long as you apply yourself. It takes, time and PATIENCE because sewing can be quite frustrating sometimes, lol.
4. How long did it take you to get to the level of sewer you are today?
I have been sewing since I was 12 years old but it was only within the last 9 years that it really became my "all I can think about" hobby and TRUST ME when I say that I had moments when I cried, yelled, and wanted to chuck my damn machine out the window from frustration and bad fitting garments but with time you start to learn your body and what works. You learn to measure yourself properly and how to pick patterns that are at your level. I have thrown out so many #fail projects it's not even funny but I also had moments of sheer happiness when I was done with a dress and it looked great and I knew that I had made it MYSELF, there is something really special about that.
It took me a long time before I could make things that I knew NO ONE could tell I had made it on my bedroom floor, lol and so can you! Now I hear things like "I don't think you made that, it doesn't look homemade" LOL that is the point right?
What do I need to get started?
1. Imagination and Creativity
2. Patience and more patience
3. A Sewing Machine
5. Seam Ripper, Tape Measure, Marking Pen
6. Pattern or Idea of Project
Now that I have given you a list of the bare basics, here are are a few details:
I have heard some people say that they want to learn to sew but can't afford to buy a sewing machine. This may have been the case back in the day *side eye* but now you can get a great starter machine for less then $200. One of the first machines I purchased for myself was a brother, it cost me $299 and it lasted me for YEARS! I have listed a few machines that I know first hand are solid machines for a newbie.
a. Brother CS6000i Sew Advance Sew Affordable Computerized Sewing Machine $159.00
c. Janome 8077 30-Stitch Computerized Sewing Machine $299.99
Patterns, Projects and More:
There are so many online tutorials (mine included) for simple and easy projects that you can use to get started without a huge investment. Sign up for pinterest and have a good time looking up DIY's that peek your interest.
There are also patterns made by the Big 4 geared toward newbies. Simplicity has a "sew simple" pattern collection, Butterick has the "See & Sew" collection, McCalls has the "Stitch & Save" collection and Vogue has "Very Easy Vogue" If I were a complete newbie I would stay away from Vogue until you have become comfortable with your sewing abilities. Vogue is fantastic but even their "easy" patterns are not so easy if you are not at least an intermediate seamstress.
This is the most important part of learning to sew because the more you know the better you will get.
We have the luxury of learning ANYTHING online so why not take advantage of that. Here is a list of books to read and websites to visit.
Threads Magazine is a great online and print recourse, the have great articles, tips, tricks and videos.
Pattern Review Top 10 Patterns for Beginners
Sewing Tips and Info
Don't start with stretchy knits, it will frustrate you at the very beginning. Don't start with Silks, it will slip and slide and you don't want to ruin perfectly good silk. Start with cotton fabric and non stretchy knits like matte jersey, these fabrics are more stable and easier to work with. I purchase fabric from many different sources but a good place to start would be www.fabric.com
google and youtube will become your very best friends and I am always here to help. I hope this helps you get motivated!