Hello 2016! Where did you come from?
It’s so hard to believe that another New Year has been and gone; and- once again- I’m sitting writing resolutions; looking back on the ones I didn’t quite get round to in 2015. This year, one of my resolutions is to start cooking more, and with the purchase of the Lean in 15 cookbook, I am well on my way to cooking up a storm!
Over the festive period, I was contacted by a few people asking how to get into sewing; and for some advice for beginners taking the plunge with newly purchased sewing machines.
This got me thinking: What do I wish someone had told me when I had those moments of wanting to launch my machine out the window?
So guys, I have done you a solid and put together my top 5 bits of advice to help keep you sane in those beginner days, and beyond!
1.) Invest in some basic equipment.
Investing in some quality equipment will really make your life so much easier. When it comes to sewing machines, I have always had really positive experiences with both Singer and Janome brands, so will always highly recommend them. But remember: they might not be for you- read up and research a variety of different brands before you make that big purchase! You don’t have to have the most high tech of machines when starting out; but the quality really makes a difference when you become more advanced and want to try more difficult techniques. Your sewing machine is for life;not just for Christmas, so take your time when choosing your baby.
Last year, I wrote a blog post about what is in my sewing kit. This post gives the run down of all the little bits and pieces I use all the time when I sew. For a beginner starting out I recommend the follow 3 things to get you going:
Don’t you dare use kitchen scissors to cut your fabric!! There are many reputable brands out there you can go to for some fabric shears. Fiskars shears are probably most widely used by seamstresses and you can pick up a pair here from Remnant Kings, Glasgow!
No matter how good you are with the sewing machine, you will always need to finish a garment with some hand sewing. Love it or loathe it, you’ll need to do it at some point. So make sure you have a pack some nice, sharp needles on hand!
Trust me, you’ll need it! So just do it.
Click on the headings for links.
2.) Read / watch some online tutorials.
YouTube is an amazing resource. From trying to thread your machine to learning to insert a zip- you will lose endless hours of your life watching video after video. My favourite sewing YouTuber is Annika from The Pineneedle Collective. Her videos are just awesome: she has definitely got me through some dark sewing days!
She is definitely where I aspire to be one day! *Swoon*
The Colette blog is also a great resource to tap into. When I first started I purchased the Colette sewing handbook, but most of that is online now. I really enjoyed the Wardrobe Architect series they published back in 2014. This series helped me define my personal style and become more confident in deciding what shapes do and don’t suit my body. It definitely makes for a great read!
3.) Don’t be afraid to make mistakes.
Remember that seam ripper I told you about? It will be your most used piece of equipment in your sewing box.
We ALL make mistakes. Many a time I have sewn sleeves on back to front; ripped them out; then made the same mistake again…and again. For me, making mistakes is part of the learning process and even though it is a pain in the back side, finally perfecting that technique will be all the more glorious when it happens!
So, keep the mistakes happening- believe me: you will learn from them. Maybe not the first time- but at least by the fifth or sixth time!
Oh, and btw, it is totally normal to sew yourself to things…Just sayin’.
4.) Have patience, young padawan.
You aren’t going to become a fully fledged seamstress overnight. It takes time, effort and dedication to improve your sewing. I was and, to a certain degree, still am really good at picking patterns too advanced for my skills set and ending up with badly sewn, half made, ill fitting garments. There is nothing more frustrating than this. While I am all for challenging yourself , just remember: walk before you can run.
But on the subject of simple projects: Did you see my last tutorial? 😉
5.) The maverick way is sometimes the only way.
Sometimes the only way to get the job done is to make it up as you go along. The pattern is a set of guidelines to be followed, or swiftly abandoned. As long as you are happy with your final garment, who cares how you got there!
When it comes to fitting a garment, I find there is no right or wrong way to do it. I make it up as I go along- as you can probably tell from my Christmas dress post! By going with the flow, I find I get a better fit and I have developed a better understanding of how to manipulate and alter patterns for my body shape. Books are great reference points but ultimately every alteration is going to be personal to your measurements!
So there you have it, my top 5 tips to get you on your way to becoming a budding seamstress. I really hope you enjoyed this MAMMOTH post and I would love to hear your feedback!
Will you be taking up sewing this year?