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so how hard is learning to sew?

18 replies to this topic

#1 strawberrycakes

Posted 30 November 2012 - 02:40 PM

Thinking of teaching myself to sew especially since my DD does dancing & I have just spent over $100 getting her costumes made & they haven't been fully completed & one has a big rip in it sad.gif

Are patterns easy to follow?

Whats the best beguinner sewing machine?

Is it hard?

#2 noi'mnot

Posted 30 November 2012 - 02:46 PM

A lot of sewing machine shops will give you a couple of lessons with the machine to help you learn how to use it. This will show you what the machine can do, but not necessarily how to sew. Many shops have sewing lessons too, though.

Many neighbourhood houses have lessons which are great. Also look at tafes and adult education centres.

There are heaps of patterns which are easy to use for a beginner, it kind of depends on your willingness to "wing it" and have a few mistakes and such.

I taught myself to sew, having had maybe a year of really basic sewing lessons in year 8, and no other lessons apart from that. I kind of just looked at super easy patterns and figured out how they worked and went from there. It's not that hard. The most complicated thing I've made would probably be my wedding dress (including over 60 meters of fabric and tulle...).

I've never tried dance costume type things, though, they might be a whole other kettle of fish - I'm not sure if they're beginner level or not.

#3 HRH Countrymel

Posted 30 November 2012 - 02:51 PM

Do an adult ed. course.

I didn't do sewing in high school but really wanted to learn so I went and did an adult ed. course at the age of 14 (I don't think it was strictly legal?) it was great!

They aren't that expensive and you will meet some great people (hopefully some whom will be there in the future to help you with costuming!!)

#4 baxlaika

Posted 30 November 2012 - 03:32 PM

I'm sort of learning at the moment, mum is teaching me. I have only sewn easy stuff, with no buttons, darts, zips, gather etc I think they might be a bit hard??

Some patterns are easier to follow than others, I have found Kwik Sew easier to follow than butterick for example, but that might just be me. There is a bit of assumed knowledge.

Go talk to your local sewing machine shop - they are usually really helpful. There are lots of courses around, I'd recommend you do one of them and see how you go after that.

#5 Shadowess

Posted 30 November 2012 - 03:38 PM

It's not hard, as long as you have someone to show you, but the most important but is patience... My mother taught me that trick with sewing! It'll all come together if you're patient...

#6 bambiigrrl

Posted 30 November 2012 - 03:46 PM

oh wow, sewing used to seem sooo hard to me, and now I can make a jacket! I started slow, just buying a sewing machine and learning (from the manual) to use all of its functions is a great start, also helpful is utube!! You can learn so easily from u tube!

I always wanted to sew but it always seemed too hard, but once i started, with cushions and sheet sets etc, i found i could take on more and more complicated patterns which is so exciting and challenging! I am now starting my own online store selling my creations and am always tackling new projects, for instance my next big project is to make a belly dancing costume for 30th birthday party! I cant wait to get stuck in!!

I say go for it!! Its fun and very satisfying!!

#7 bambiigrrl

Posted 30 November 2012 - 03:56 PM

QUOTE (baxlaika @ 30/11/2012, 03:32 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I'm sort of learning at the moment, mum is teaching me. I have only sewn easy stuff, with no buttons, darts, zips, gather etc I think they might be a bit hard??

That stuff is not hard, just seems more complicated then it is really. As i said, the more you learn, the more your confidence grows! just start with the easy stuff and work your way up! I used scrap material to practice doing zips, button holes etc, and the manual explains clearly how all the functions work and how to use them, what situations they apply etc. Also the library has a lot of great books you can learn from too.

my sewing machine was only $100 and it does the job great, I would love a $1000 sewing machine but thats just not in our budget right now! Lol!
p.s - op I could make a dance costume for probaly $20!!

Edited by bambiigrrl, 30 November 2012 - 04:00 PM.

#8 Mootmoot

Posted 30 November 2012 - 03:57 PM

I'm just learning too, after knowing some basics from school & Mum as a teenager.

I borrowed a couple of "learn to sew" type books from the library and they're good - they tell you about how to read patterns and sew different things (i.e. zips) and after that it's experimenting.  They had patterns, too, that you could copy.  However, I also had Mum with me for my first big project and I'm so glad I did - I would have cut things wrong on the material and been very confused - so on that basis I recommend a sewing course to help start you off.

You may also have to sew some different materials with costumes, like stretchy material and netting and sequins and things.  As the materials can be expensive (I was in a material shop the other day and a lady was buying netting for her primary-school aged daughter's costume - the pattern said 6 meters and the stuff wasn't cheap!), so it's worth being able to not ruin them!

ETA - also some community groups have sewing groups - there's a multicultural women's sewing group near me in inner North Melbourne, for example, so you can go along and help people learn english and they can help you sew!

Edited by Joey11, 30 November 2012 - 03:58 PM.

#9 Schmig

Posted 30 November 2012 - 03:59 PM

I learnt to sew about 6 months ago. My mum showed me how to read a pattern and a few basic things and I taught myself from there. I have made lots of different things since then from skirts and dresses for my daughter to dresses and jackets for me. I even altered some curtains for the spare room.

You can get lots of great patterns that basically teach you to sew. I never thought I would enjoy it as much as I do. I make something every week now.

#10 JustOneMorePlease

Posted 30 November 2012 - 04:12 PM

Sorry to hijack but can anyone recommend a good, cheap machine for a beginner?

#11 Babie88

Posted 07 December 2012 - 03:00 PM

I'd like to know about machines too please

#12 Z-girls rock

Posted 07 December 2012 - 03:09 PM

I have a jenome it is really good.

I am not a great sewer. I just make little toys and things: http://mysleepyfamily.wordpress.com/category/crafty/

I dont know how good they are but I was at Ikea the other day and they had a sewing machine for something crazy like $70. It might be totally cr*p. But it might be ok? dunno.

#13 Z-girls rock

Posted 07 December 2012 - 03:11 PM

oh, and here is a blog that has lots of great, simple tutorials about sewing.


you can find lots of free patterns and tutorials online.

many of them measure things in inches which is a pain but if you have a tape measure that says both or use an online converter it is ok.

#14 Mootmoot

Posted 07 December 2012 - 03:23 PM

I'd stick to known brands like Janome, Singer or Brother.  The basic models will do all you need.  I had a cheap no-name one from Target but it was awful - the material always got caught up and the stitches would skip or break the thread.  I had to go out and buy a better one just to do basic sewing.

Lincraft have a Singer 1409 for $169 from $329.

If you go to a sewing machine shop they can help with the extras you'll need (like different feet and needles) and usually offer free lessons.

#15 ednaboo

Posted 07 December 2012 - 04:06 PM

You can't go wrong with a Janome.  I have an elna which was made by Janome, plus a Janome overlocker.  if I was buying nw, I'd get a Janome.  Just get whatever you can afford.

#16 JaneLane

Posted 07 December 2012 - 04:16 PM

I would love to be good at sewing clothes!  I hardly ever sew but have been OK with the few things I have made.  My parents bought me a machine in high school when I chose textiles as an elective in year 11.  I ended up making a corset out of PVC for my assessment which was hard but somehow managed to complete.  

The only thing stopping me from getting into it more are my kids who are young and make it very hard for me to set the machine up and attempt sewing anything.  

I need to learn to be good at it as I am good at designing but not the sewing and can never find just what I want at the shops, so making my own clothes would be fantastic. I am also a makeup artist and photographer, so being able to sew outfits for my models would be awesome as I can't afford to purchase them for specific looks all the time.

Edited by blue4me, 07 December 2012 - 04:17 PM.

#17 belindarama

Posted 07 December 2012 - 05:00 PM

I have just started sewing again after a long break. I used to make the odd thing here and there.

My mum and grandmother taught me basics in high school.

I was surprised at how well I can sew! It's really not hard if you choose a pattern rated as easy. The McCalls ones have good explanations of the terms and simple instructions.

I got a new Singer and I am really happy with it. It is the Singer Simple and it really is simple. It was $130. It has only knobs and dials as I wanted something easy to use and less likely to break with expensive parts like LCD screens and computer chips. It came with a quite good DVD explaining what different stitches are and when to use, when to use different feet and needles etc.

The main thing with sewing is your preparation before you actually sew anything.  Careful pinning of the pattern before cutting, careful measuring and pinning of the pieces. A few minutes spent making it right before you stitch anything makes a world of difference to the result.

Shiny, stretchy fabrics are harder to work with than cotton so you might want to make some simple kids' dresses etc before you try costumes just to get the hang of things. It might be a bit discouraging otherwise.

#18 mallowpuff

Posted 07 December 2012 - 05:17 PM

I learnt the basics at school and sewed the odd thing here and there but didn't really get into it until a year ago. It's very satisfying to be making trousers and tops for my DS! I recommend a simple machine from a well known brand - I got a simple Elna from Spotlight for about 160 and it does the job. Start simple and use the Internet for help - YouTube and home sewer blogs are brilliant. Try to pick up cheap fabric (there's a shop down the road where everything is $3 per metre) so that you aren't too worried about making mistakes. Enjoy!

#19 ~shannon~

Posted 27 December 2012 - 09:16 PM

QUOTE (noi'mnot @ 30/11/2012, 02:46 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I taught myself to sew, having had maybe a year of really basic sewing lessons in year 8, and no other lessons apart from that. I kind of just looked at super easy patterns and figured out how they worked and went from there. It's not that hard.

Same here. For Mother's Day in 2007, DH bought me a Bernina Bernette for about $400 brand new which I absolutely love (I picked the machine, he just paid for it!). I'm sure you could find a secondhand machine in good condition for much less, or basic machines at Spotlight as others have recommended.

I started with the most basic patterns I could find (no buttons, zips, etc) and just went from there. Lots of it is trial and error, and gradually you learn about sewing with various fabrics (always start sewing with regular cotton before trying stretchy lycra), different presser feet, different needles, doing button holes and zips, etc. The only thing I found at the beginning was that some brands of patterns were harder to read than others, so if you know someone who sews, it's good to call on them for back up if you get stuck.

I bought a cheap pattern to make tutus for my daughters, but I still haven't gotten around to making them... after five years on the machine now, I'm still a bit scared of lycra! The thing to do is jump straight in and give it a go!

And I agree with others who have said that the internet is a wonderful resource! There are heaps of online tutorials on blogs and on youtube. I have gotten right into patchwork and quilting and everything I have learnt has come from the internet (mainly due to the fact I live in the bush, so there's no sewing groups or classes anywhere near here). It is incredibly rewarding so I say go for it!

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