Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Top tips to start sewing

I'm not claiming to be a professional sewer but I enjoy spending some quality time with my sewing machine, and in my books there's nothing better than being able to proudly show off your homemade goodies. The hardest aspect for me was actually getting started. I was lucky my mum who also wanted to start sewing, so we were able to help each other out. But If I had been riding solo I probably wouldn't have had the motivation to get started. So here are my top tips for starting a sewing habit (be warned, it's addictive).

1. DON'T go and buy a sewing machine. As tempting as it may be to run out and buy a shiny new sewing machine with lots of wonderful buttons , don't. As committed as you may be to starting a new hobby, sometimes even the best laid plans don't go as they should. Instead I would suggest borrowing one from a family member (a nan or aunt is bound to have a sewing machine) or scouring the charity shops for a cheap alternative. Lots of sewing shops also offer reconditioned machines which are absolutely perfect for beginners. And although an old/borrowed machine may not have 234 different stitches available, it will do the job and gives you a chance to test out your new hobby without spending a fortune. 

2. Look for a local sewing club or night school. Starting sewing without any support can be a little bit scary. Even with my nan's sewing machine at my disposal I was too afraid to start by myself in case I broke the needle/threaded the bobbin incorrectly (I wasn't even too sure what a bobbin was...). I was lucky to find a cheap night class that I could join, and this gave me the confidence to go home and sew by myself. Being around like minded people who also want to learn is a really confidence boost, and it means there's always someone on hand to help if you can't quite work out why your machine is sewing backwards. 

3. Make what you want to make. This sounds very silly but decide what you want to make and stick to your guns. Don't worry about starting small, but start with something you are interested in. If you're not motivated to make it, chances are you won't finish your project. 

4. Look in your wardrobe. If you fancy making clothes then look in your wardrobe before you start. As much as you enjoy lusting after 1960's style dresses, if your wardrobe is full of collared tops and jeans then it's pointless making one. Why? Because however much you like it, chances are you'll never wear it. Think about what shapes suit you, patterns you wear most and the garments that you're most likely to wear. This is a great starting point for making a piece that you'll really love. 

5. Choose your pattern wisely. There are thousands of modern patterns on the market, and there's also a high probability of finding some amazing vintage patterns in charity shops. However be cautious, If patterns are older they may be harder to follow with extremely complicated language! Brands I would recommend are Cynthia Rowley, New Look and McCalls. Ebay is a great place to start for patterns, just type in these brands and see what takes your fancy. Starting sewing can be intimidating due to all the complicated lingo, but these patterns offer the most straightforward instructions out there. 

6. Use your local resources. I laaaav material and I'm sure I'm not the only one guilty of wandering around John Lewis' material department wanting to buy everything my eyes land on. However tempting it is to buy an expensive Cath Kidston print, restrain yourself. Chances are there will be a sewing shop somewhere near you which will offer the same materials that can be found in a large department store for a fraction of the price. So pop into any teeny weeny material shops you spy, you'll probably pick up a bargain. 

7. Don't give up! It sounds silly but persistence is the key. If you're following a pattern and come across a word that looks foreign, don't let it put you off! There are plenty of you tubers that cover sewing techniques, many that offer advice and tips to make your sewing experience much easier. Practice makes perfect, and the more you sew the easier it will become. 

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