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Teaching ones self how to sew....


tootie04
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I taught myself, as a teenager, without a book, so it can be done. (LOL) Actually, I did sew a plain skirt in a Home Ec class in junior high shool, but didn't really learn much until I learned at home by trial and error. Do your practicing first on cheap material.

What do you plan to sew.....simple styles or more advanced, fancy, complicated styles? Then you will know what kind of options you want on the sewing machine you purchase.

I use to make a lot of my clothes years ago...don't have time now to do anything but sewing busted seams or hemming...have to hem almost everything I buy, since I'm only 5'2". Patterns and materials are so expensive now, that it's almost cheaper to buy an outfit and a whole lot less trouble. Not nearly as many people sew clothes for themselves as they used to, except to hem or "take up" seams. When buying your clothes, at least you can try them on first and will know how it looks on you before spending any money.

I also have the Baby Lock machine that trims and does the seam edging like most clothes you purchase are done. If you never plan to do anything fancy, then you won't need a machine with a lot of stitching designs. Choose the machine that has all the options you need for a beginner and for your future plans. When I first started, I bought mine from Sears (Kenmore brand), so I'm not up-to-date on the latest. Walmart has a decent selection in sewing machines for the average seamstress. Tell us what you have in mind to sew, now and later, and someone else might be able to chime in and give you better advice on the best machine for your needs. You might check with a good-will store or consignment store if you have any in your area for a cheap sewing machine to learn on.

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Get a good quality, but BASIC machine. You don't need a billion bells and whistles. You need a good straight stitch, and zigzag stitich and a buttonholer (God's gift to sewers). An even feed foot is a real help.

There are learn-to-sew patterns available from most pattern companies. They all have websites now, so spend some time browsing on the web before you spend hours in a store. If you have a sewing and/or fabric store in your area, they will likely help you, but I would suggest not showing up looking for free help when you've bought your fabric at Walmart. If you have a good and helpful store, the little bit extra you spend there on fabric will be well worth the free help you will get.

Cotton is the easiest fabric to sew on, bar none. Not poly cotton, which is much cheaper, but cotton. Neither I nor any of my machines like poly cotton and therefore I seldom buy it. Save your sanity and don't start off on a project which involve knits, velvet, satin, or fake fur. Find youself a nice easy pattern that involves cotton, and you should be fine.

Once you get going, make sure you have a good supply of needles in different sizes. The slightest nick on a needle, or a blunt needle, can make you want to hurl yourself and the machine out of the nearest window. Often, just changing the needle will clear up all the problems.

DO WHAT THE PATTERN TELLS YOU! I've known people curse the pattern, the machine etc etc, and then when you take a look, you see that the pattern says to use a certain fabric, and the person with the problem decided to use something else. Patterns are made for certain fabrics and notions, and you can't always substitute. Use the correct needle and thread, and make sure your machine is cleaned and maintained on a regular basis.

I can't recommend a good machine, my favourite is a Kenmore that is now about 18 years old. It does an amazing satin stitch (I do a lot of machine applique). My other machine is a heavy-duty Singer. I've heard that a lot of the cheaper machines are mostly plastic inside, and will not hold up, so be careful. If a machine is really cheap, there is likely a reason.

Good luck and have fun!

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I kind of did too.

The basic home ec sewing classes helped some but just jumping in and doing it was the best thing for me.

One of my best friends in high school made a lot of her clothes...her sister was a home economics teacher and the clothes she made were gorgeous. I envied her so decided to make a basic skirt and vest...and it turned out so well that I could actually wear it. LOL

My first machine was a Singer and I made clothes for myself and our daughter. I found out the hard way...take your time and do it right...ripping out seams is not fun.

I started working at a small construction company and the man's wife had a sewing business in their basement. She had racks of children's clothing for sale...and so again I got back into sewing. When work was slow I was allowed to sew on her machine. The job didn't last a year...I was sewing more than working in the office...his construction business was very slow.

My machine was out of date so my hubby bought me a good one for Christmas and I started making stuffed dolls...and I started a quilt but never finished it. My mother was dying of cancer and lived with us so I didn't have much time to sew since I was taking care of her.

I have several boxes of patterns and fabric...all bought JUST before I started pouring candles. My goal is...after Christmas get back to sewing because I love to sew.

Good luck...and have fun. Another addiction........:D

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I'm pretty much like the other ladies here-had home ec but pretty much learned at home. My mom was a good seamstress and I ended up making my little sister school dresses while I was still in school myself. One thing I remember was the home ec teacher had us learn the basics while stitching on paper without thread in the machine. Sounds crazy but stitching on the lined paper gets you the feel of the machine and how to sew a straight line without messing up any fabric. Start with something simple like a pillow for your first real project.

Glo

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I love to sew, but can't use a pattern for nothing. I don't make clothes though....I just do stuff for around the house, like curtains, table skirts, shower curtains. Believe me...if I can sew without a pattern...you can do it with one. I grew up with a stepmother who is a genius at the sewing machine. She could make anything and still does. She used to make us girls pin the pattern to the material for her...I hated that. I hated pinning that stuff LOL.

Here is a shower curtain I made for our bathroom. Just a very basic one.

111_1136.jpg

And I made these for the living dining room...although...the green sheers are no longer hanging. It's not designer work....but it works for us lol.

113_1342.jpg

I have a very basic machine. I bought a basic one because I don't use it often enough to justify spending alot on it right now. In the future I'll likely upgrade, but for now...it does the job.

Good luck :)

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Yep, it certainly can be done. I taught myself when I was a teenager. My mom knew how, but even then you still have to get the feel of it your self. Start with a basic pattern. Lots of them out there. I just recently started back into it. I hadn't bought a pattern in ten years. Holy crap they are expensive. Also I agree with another poster about cost of fabric and supplies, they are not inexpensive. So - if you are going to think you are going to save money on sewing your own clothes, it probably won't happen. I just made my six grandchilren blanket sleepers for Christmas. I did have enough fabric left over to dress each of them a teddy bear to match their sleeper. But I still could have bought them cheaper. I did get some good closeout fabric at Walmart to make the girls sundresses for next summer. But all in all, it is kind of expensive. I do save by making my own curtains and placemats and stuff like that, that I want to coordinate for house decor. HTH

Judy

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My sewing machine is a treadle-honest....and it works! :laugh2:

OMG...I used to love to sew doll clothes on my mother's treadle machine. And my grandmother had one too...but my dad was a genious LOL and figured out how to attach a motor for her since...in her later years...she had circulation problems in her legs. My mother ended up getting a really nice Kenmore machine in a cabinet from her brother when his wife died unexpectedly.

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I am gonna learn to make the welder hats....there is a HUGE market for them here. But I also want to make stuff for around the house mainly and crafty like stuff.

I am not interested in making clothes.

Can ya sew a quilt?? If so maybe make some quilts....for gifts. I need something to do after candle season and for summer since in AZ you are INSIDE for the summer!!

tootie

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I am gonna learn to make the welder hats....there is a HUGE market for them here. But I also want to make stuff for around the house mainly and crafty like stuff.

I am not interested in making clothes.

Can ya sew a quilt?? If so maybe make some quilts....for gifts. I need something to do after candle season and for summer since in AZ you are INSIDE for the summer!!

tootie

I got to where I actually hated making welding hats. I use to make welding shirts with hats to match.

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OMG...I used to love to sew doll clothes on my mother's treadle machine. And my grandmother had one too...but my dad was a genious LOL and figured out how to attach a motor for her since...in her later years...she had circulation problems in her legs. My mother ended up getting a really nice Kenmore machine in a cabinet from her brother when his wife died unexpectedly.

:grin2: :grin2: I remember when I was small, my mother had a treadle machine (we just called it a peddle machine-LOL).

My brother who was a tinkerer, decided to put an electric motor on it, got it going so fast, he blew it up and it never worked again. Hehehe! That's when she bought herself an electric machine. The treadle ended up in the dumpster and she never let him touch her new one.

ETA: An idea for practicing is to make pillow cases. You won't need a pattern, they're easy to make....just measure one you have and cut the material to size. Pillow cases you can always use. I change my pillow cases more often than my bedsheets, so always need extra ones.

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I love to sew and can't wait until we get into our new house, my sewing room is already set up just waiting. I am going to sit this afternoon and cut out some patterns and fabric to make clothes for my daughter's american girl doll for christmas. Both of my kids (son age 13 and daughter age 10) have their own simple sewing machines and have learned the basics. My son for christmas one year made everyone fleece blankets. He was the only one in his health class who raised his hand when the teacher asked if anyone knew how to sew. I thought he'd be embarassed but he said no mom 'cause the teacher explained to us how expensive it is to have someone hem something for us. Anyway, there is a lot of help online. I saw a couple of places had basic sewing machines on sale reasonable on Black Friday. I have a few machines, mostly bought at auctions but aspire to buying a good one, one of these days. Mostly have fun.

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I am gonna learn to make the welder hats....there is a HUGE market for them here. But I also want to make stuff for around the house mainly and crafty like stuff.

I am not interested in making clothes.

Can ya sew a quilt?? If so maybe make some quilts....for gifts. I need something to do after candle season and for summer since in AZ you are INSIDE for the summer!!

tootie

I found this online...since I didn't know what a welder hat was. LOL

http://www.blueroseweb.com/welding_cap_patterns.php

Yep...you can sew quilts. I started one back in 1999 and I've never finished it. I was working on it when my mother found out that her cancer that had been in remission had spread...and well it was a very rough time...since she lived with us and I took care of her. My computer/sewing room is beside her bedroom and I would sew while she was in bed. Needless to say...every time I look at that quilt it brings back bad memories.

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My grandmother had one of those old sewing machines....but i was not interested in sewing when she was alive. I wish I had learned from her. She made my dresses and stuff when I was little.

I think I will hunt a sewing store and start with a basic machine and if I like it I will upgrade then.

Thanks for all the advice!!;) I found the Simplicity sewing book on Amazon used for less than 10 bucks so I bought that.

I want to make some dog clothes too....I cant see paying those high prices in PetSmart for t-shirts for little dogs.

tootie

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I taught myself too. I got my first sewing machine at walmart. I got the middle of the line priced - as long as it had lots of different stitches etc I was set - cause I figured that I would need the great versions as I learned what I was doing. I still cant figure out patterns. I have tried - and its hard! LOL. But I can sew - I even made my own scrub tops - they turned out good too - but I still had trouble with the pattern. Just take a day and learn the machine and what it can do - from there you will be set! enjoy - its fun to make your own things!

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I taught myself on an old singer treadle machine. They are actually the best sewing machines. I miss that machine but my sister got it when my grandma died.

You can buy them in the antique stores pretty cheap-usually not much more than $100.00.

Y'all can laugh... the reason I love it is that the electric ones go too fast and I darn near stiched my finger right into the garment. The treadle only goes as fast as my feet... :highfive:

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My best friend taught me when I was pregnant with my first child.

Simple patterns with few pieces (avoid Vogue like the plague for a beginner).

McCalls, Simplicity and Butterick are good ones to start with.

Follow instructions to a "T" and you should be fine.

If you purchase a sewing machine, a lot of places offer free beginner classes for learning about your machine.

If not you can easily sign up for a class, they are not expensive.

I am sure if you google "beginner sewing instructions" you will get a lot of hits.

Read a pattern a couple of times before you start any project, until the methods make sense. Visualize as you go.

I know that sounds simplistic, but it works.

Use your pins, some don't like to use them, but starting off one should.

Keeps stuff in place, but don't run over them, it wrecks your needle and your pins if you do.

Just slip them out before they hit the edge of your presser foot.

Sew at slow speed to begin with, as you feel more secure and your seams are consistently even, ramp it up a little bit.

Most of all have fun.

Don't stress.

This can be such a fun past-time and a wonderful creative outlet.

Keep a seam ripper handy, it is inevitable, even accomplished seamstresses occasionally have to take out stitches and re-do.

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I was stunned to realize that the stuff they crammed into my head in Home Ec 20+ years ago actually stuck with me, so picking it up wasn't quite as impossible as I had feared.

But my biggest and most useful revelation came from a neighbor who told me you can make most anything (aside from shirts) very easily out of a sheet - with most of the work already done for you! Curtains - BAM! Comforter - BAM BAM!! Comforter COVER - BAM BAM BAM (flannel sheets work beautifully for this)!!!

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Yes, you can self teach yourself to sew. I taught myself and I did have a couple books but they didn't really help me but then I learn by hands on activities. The internet has some great tutorials and lessons and look on youtube also.

The only way to learn is to just start making things and even if you make mistakes that is how you learn.

For my very first project I bought one of those panels that come with the instructions on it and you cut and piece it together. I made a stuffed animal for my first project. Walmart use to sell some great panels and I even made my dd a dress from one too.

Don't forget you have us to help you along. Good luck and have fun.

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