Learn to Sew

Build skills in a step-by-step sequence

I think learning to sew needs determination. There are so many little skills to learn, and each project can be a little different. So there are always little issues to deal with, though the rewards can be huge. But for a timid learner like me, I need to learn the skills in a guided progression.

Most of the posts in this blog are links to good technique advice, from complete beginner to lower intermediate level.
But there are also posts which suggest a sequence of projects for learning to sew.
(Most of my posts on fit, and on finding your personal style, are at Sewingplums – see menu at top right there to access groups of posts on specific topics.)

Here’s a post on assessing your level of sewing ability.

The links on this page are nearly all to posts in this blog.
There are more links to courses for beginners in the right side menu.

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Complete Beginners

Learning to use your machine, the basic skills :
1. learn to control speed and direction, by stitching on paper.
2. thread the machine, stitch on fabric.

Building up to making first projects
First makes : 1. tools.
First makes 2 : basic skills needed.
First makes 3 : first projects for learning the skills.

Beginner Sewing 1 : first projects.
Beginner Sewing 2 : first garments.

Pattern books – complete beginners.
Pattern books – near beginners.

In The Folds pattern company has a list of tips for beginners.
That’s a good list, but to my taste they’ve left out the most important :
– when learning something new, build up from basics to major processes (here’s a list of the basic skills. There’s an example of combining them into a more complex skill in the facings post).
– repeat until you feel confident. If anything dents your confidence, back track to something you find easier, and work more slowly up to the difficulty.
– celebrate what you can do, and that includes that you managed to repeat, even if there’s not yet much improvement in what you’ve made, or in your confidence 😀
– make as many items using your new skill as you want to, before moving on (for example, see from starter skills to first makes followed by building up a wardrobe).

Sewing is a hobby, a treat activity, an escape from the difficulties of everyday life. So there are no ‘oughts’. Follow where your spirit leads 👍👍
I focus here on the least anxiety-inducing routes to learning, as that is what I need. But if you are someone who wants to make your wedding dress, or a tailored blazer, as your first ever garment – then good for you 😀

♥️ 👍 ♥️ Make Treasures ♥️ 👍 ♥️

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Advanced Beginners

Understand a pattern

The next links are to my latest series of posts on making clothes for Beginners. This started as a single post, I think it has just about stopped expanding 😀

1. Start on the path to learning to sew :
1A. Pattern lines which teach.
1B. Some big ‘learn to sew’ courses.
2. Some shorter courses.

3. Make making easier – levels of difficulty, suggestions for practising.

Moving on from the basics

4. Variations :
Variations A : change style elements.
Variations B : from pullover to open front.
Variations C : using your fibre-arts skills.

5. Become aware of your many styles.

6a. Beginner wardrobe A : add skills as you make clothes.
6b. Beginner wardrobe B : some possible outfits/ capsules from specific pattern lines.

These are posts on specific easy-make garment styles :

Cut-on sleeve tops – group of five posts :
1. The pattern.

2A. Reasons to make a test garment.
2B. Making a test garment, and adjusting for fit and preferences.
2C. An example of a changed pattern, plus how to revise your pattern.

3. Making a cut-on sleeve top.

Peasant-style tops – with gathered necklines and raglan sleeves.
More easy tops.

Elastic-waist skirts.
Elastic-waist pants.

Robe style jackets.

Simplest pattern changes to make a different style or look, see also Variations above.

Learning to sew knit fabrics.
Using a serger/ overlocker.

Books and pattern companies which suggest sequences for learning to sew.

Pattern books, advanced beginners.

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Techniques :
Darts – see Techniques A-G page.
Sleeves into armholes.
waistbands/ sleeve cuffs – nothing here yet, some tips in casings post.

Use fabrics beyond stable plain weaves and double knit interlock – perhaps stripes and plaids, denim, sheers, double gauze, taffeta, velvet, viscose crepe, viscose jersey, voile, and many more (see Sandra Betzina Fabric Savvy).
Add embellishment/ textural manipulation of fabrics, see Embellishment on the Techniques A-G page, and links about using an embroidery machine below.

Intermediate classic styles : shirt, jeans, blazer.

If you would like an on-line course to develop your Intermediate skills, here are some possibilities :
Curated by In the Folds, very detailed monthly projects covering some aspect of technique.
Later courses in the Sew Liberated series.
Video masterclasses on making classics from Sew Over It.
Not a complete garment but individual techniques, from Sew Sew Guild.

While if you’d prefer a book with many photos there’s Alison Smith. Download pdf patterns, body bust 32″-47″. 31 projects in all, some include simple pattern hacking. Projects are not labelled with difficulty, but individual techniques are. If you follow the sequence of patterns, you work up from skirts to jackets, using good quality techniques.
UK edition called The Dressmaking Book.
US edition, called Sew your own Wardrobe, appears otherwise to be exactly the same book.
Claims to be for a ‘complete wardrobe’ but does not include any knits/fleeces or casual styles made from them.

Using an Embroidery machine

Moving on from the basics :
More techniques, using designs from the internet.
Editing designs.

If you’d like to go for the ultimate in quality – for Advanced couture techniques, readily available sources of teaching are :
Vogue patterns from Claire Shaeffer,
and video courses from Susan Khalje.

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😀 😀 😀 En-Joy 😀 😀 😀

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