Sunday, September 10, 2017

Sewing Tips for New Sewers - It's National Sewing Month!

September is National Sewing Month! Can't sew, you say?

It can be disheartening to be a beginner at anything. Your eyes and taste are far above your skill set. You want that killer bombshell cocktail dress. For beginners, many patterns are too difficult. Recognize that your ability is limited but will improve.

Nowadays we have the internet where many blogs, tutorials and sew-alongs are available.  Pattern companies also offer help - the last time I was at a pattern store, I noticed the Simplicity help sign. To start with, pick a simple project, such as a pillow. Back when girls had to take Home Ec, their project was an apron. Both are easy to make and you don't need a pattern.

Make it your goal to learn at least one new skill with your projects. If your pillow seams are not straight, practice again.  Each completed project will give you confidence to add a new skill. It can be discouraging at first. If you find yourself in over your head, don't give up. The old adage "practice makes perfect" truly does apply. You need to be realistic and accept some failures.

Use those failures as a stepping stone to your goal - that bombshell dress! Until you reach that level, select "Easy-to-Sew" patterns. Bear in mind that many, if not most, vintage patterns assumed our grandmothers and great-grandmothers knew how to sew and to sew well. Beginning about 1950 - 1960, companies began to include more simplified instructions with more diagrams. Also, a great many vintage patterns are made of pre-cut, plain tissue with letters or piece names punched into each piece. This can be overwhelming to new sewer. Add this goal to your list.

I overhead an excellent tip at an estate sale recently. A mother and her teenage daughter were browsing the sewing items and the mom reached for a large bag of sewing notions. She turned to her daughter, who had an armload of fabric, and told her that she should use some of the zippers and oddly cut pieces of fabric as practice. What a thrifty idea - bags of sewing notions and fabric (usually not vintage) are easy to find at sales as well as at thrift stores and are generally low priced.

Fabric panels are often easy to sew. At back to school time, many early childhood teachers buy school-themed fabric and make chair covers for their students. These covers are rectangles and again, require no pattern. Seasonal panels are also available. Make a door decoration, wall hanging, banner or holiday pillow. As your skill improves, graduate to other panels. Christmas panels are already out at Hobby Lobby. Most of these contain easy to follow directions.

By taking incremental steps, you can teach yourself to sew. Think of it as going to school - you build on prior knowledge as you pass through the grades. Remember to use the vast resources of the internet to help you if you have no seamstress to call upon.

The Pattern Patter Team on offers a wide variety of patterns for beginners to experienced sewers.

Here is a small sampling of the many Easy-to-Sew patterns offered by our Professional Pattern Sellers. All of the patterns we offer have been checked for completeness so you may shop with confidence.

To see more information about these patterns, please click on the shop name below the collage.

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HeathersSewingStoreWitsEndDesigns; VogueVixens; sandritocat

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  1. Great article! I already knew how to sew when I took home ec, and drove the teacher crazy!

  2. It's too bad that back in the day, boys didn't have to take home ec class. It's a good skill for boys and girls both to learn. Everyone can enjoy it too.

  3. Great ideas for beginners...nice for beginners to try garments as many folks never get past pillows/napkins/aprons! Cute choices here...

  4. Great article and fabulous collection of learn to sew patterns! I'm not a beginner sewer but I love using simple to sew/learn to sew patterns. Generally the kind of styles I like anyway - clean lines. As I gained experience, I added little details and used fantastic fabrics. The vintage (and maybe the new) sewing books are a great resource too. Full of tips and diagrams.

  5. Great read! I love hearing about young people sewing. Nice collection of patterns.

  6. Simple sewing patterns allow a new sewer to add a little of their own character without complicated lines ... just think colour, fabric, embellishments ... Every project is an adventure ... much like learning how to bake ... not everything works out but you learn something new each time you work on a sewing project .... endless creative fun!