Thursday, October 28, 2010

Sew with Confidence - Where do I start?

About a week ago, Dana left me a comment in which she asked me this question: ". . . I have visited you from time to time and was wondering if you have any sites/tutorials that would be good for me as a beginning sew-er to look at. My daughter (11) is anxious for me to make the very simple skirt I bought the pattern for. I know some things and have sewn some straight line things (curtains, bags). Any suggestions?"

First of all, Dana, I'm sorry I didn't respond to you more quickly. Time somehow gets away from me these days. Second, I thought this might be a topic that others might be interested in as well, and so, I decided to answer as a post.

I have taught my two daughters to sew when they were younger, and several of their friends, as well as a few adults. Several of them are becoming quite accomplished, steadily progressing in the difficulty of patterns they use.

My first suggestion is this: Always set yourself up for success. Start on projects that have only straight seams, perhaps casing and elastic waistband.. Progress to gentle curves in the next project. Perhaps gathering in the next. You want to walk away from each project with a sense of accomplishment that gives you confidence to do the next step. (I find that one of the biggest discouragements that causes someone (especially adults) to try one sewing project and never, ever try again is choosing a style they love, but the pattern is too difficult for them. They become discouraged and decide sewing is something they don't have the "talent" for. In truth they simply never learned the basics that allow them to eventually tackle a more difficult style.) ALL THAT TO SAY THIS -- START SIMPLE, WORK UP.

My second suggestion is this: A book rather than a tutorial. Why? Because a book is more portable, it can be taking right to the sewing machine. It's more easily referenced.

The book that I suggest is Sew with Confidence by Nancy Zieman. I have bought this soft covered book for my own daughters and also for a couple of their friends. It is a beginner's guide to basic sewing with lots of clear insructions and illustrations. It's a great reference book. The ISBN # is 0-87349-811-9. Here's a picture of the cover.


Nancy Zieman, learned to sew through 4-H when she was younger, and has now written the manual that is used by young girls in 4-H. However, this book is great for any beginner -- young or old. This and your sewing machine manual can get you started on your road to sewing well. I've always felt that she explained things simply and understandably in her books.


In the back of this book their are a few very simple projects such as the one shown above. There are also one for gift bags (good project with Christmas closing in).

I hope these suggestions have been helpful to you. If you have further questions, just comment and I'll try to answer them for you.

1 comment:

Dana said...

Thank you! Thank you!
I will probably be back with more questions :)

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