Anytime I write a post like this, or show a non-sewing friend something I've made, I often get the same wide-eyed response: "Oh, I could NEVER do that." Or, "I wish I could sew."
Here's the thing: YOU CAN.
Sewing is a hobby that appears incredibly daunting to those not already doing it. I know--I've been there. My mom sewed my whole childhood, and I have many memories of sitting next to her sewing table, talking with her as she worked (usually on something for me). I was glad she enjoyed it, but I didn't have much interest in learning to do it myself.
It wasn't until after I was married that the sewing bug bit me. For some reason, I just decided it was time to learn. I've never looked back.
I tell you all this to encourage you that if you're thinking of learning to sew, please know that it is a skill that can be learned. Rather easily. By someone as impatient and clumsy as I am.
Before I started, I thought seamstresses (I would say "sewer", but ew!) were these perfectly meticulous people who hunched over sewing machines, doing and re-doing until they got it just right.
And the truth is? The good ones are. I'm just not one of the good ones. But I'm good enough. You DO NOT have to be painstakingly precise to learn to sew. Just like in cooking, you improvise and find short cuts that work for you.
Maybe you have no interest in making clothes. That's okay, I don't either. I sew for my daughter sometimes, and I make pajama pants for my boys. As a whole, though, apparel sewing is not my favorite. But craft sewing? I could eat it up. If you haven't flipped through a pattern book recently, you'll be surprised to find out how many fun things there are inside! There's home decor like this and this. Purses? Easy, like this. Craft sewing like this and this and this (which is actually what I plan to tackle next, when I clear off my current stash of projects). That's just a taste--there are hundreds more patterns like this. It's an endless supply of Christmas/birthday presents and teacher gifts.
Here are a few other points in my effort to convince you:
- You can buy a brand new, perfectly adequate sewing machine for $75-$150 at a store like Wal Mart or Target. It has every feature a beginner would need. Don't start with an expensive machine--wait until you know if you love it.
- Yes, patterns and fabric can be expensive. They can also be cheap. Most fabric stores put their patterns (normally $10-$20 each) on sale for $1-$2 each every couple of months. I always go to these sales and stock up. I haven't paid full price for a pattern in years. Fabric, too, goes on sale, and finding great fabric bargains is one of my favorite parts of the whole process.
- Every pattern contains detailed instructions. Really, you just need to learn the basic terminology in order to follow one. Find a sewing friend who might be willing to show you, or better yet, take an inexpensive (sometimes free!) course. The most basic information is all you need to follow a simple pattern.
- Plan to feel like a fish out of water at first. It's okay. The best way to learn is to jump in, plow through, and mess up a few projects at first. Every accomplished seamstress could tell you horror stories about her first couple of creations. Stick with it.
There are many book resources out there, too. I haven't personally used any of them, but I've heard that this one and this one are good. (Any other recommendations? Please leave them in the comments section below.)
I would love to hear more thoughts on this from you other sewing lovers--beginner through experienced! What helped you learn? Why do you stay with it? What's your favorite part of this hobby? Help me try to perpetuate the addiction in a whole new batch of "converts"! ;)