Sewing FAQ

Sewing FAQ

I am back from my trip to France! I have spent the weekend writing madly and I thought it was timely to enter a conversation about some questions you may have about sewing, a Sewing FAQ if you like. These are some of the questions I had when I first became interested in sewing.

Sewing FAQ: Is Sewing Difficult?

Not really. Operating a modern sewing machine is not complicated and it can be really good fun. You do need to read the instruction book in order to understand how it all works. You need a little patience to troubleshoot the machine at times. Of course, it helps having a machine that works well, you don’t want to frustrate yourself out of wanting to learn. After that, sewing is as complicated as the project you choose. And there are plenty of simple projects out there.

FAQ Sewing: sewing machine

Sewing FAQ: Do I need to take lessons?

It’s a good idea to take a first lesson to get started on the sewing machine. After that, you can easily get by with online tutorials. I learned how to sew for years on my own, and went back to regular classes to learn how to make clothes. But for easy projects, you can manage on your own.

I took my first class at Tessuti, only to learn how to use the machine. Find out if your local fabric or craft shop runs lessons.

Sewing FAQ: Is sewing an old-fashioned pastime?

Both my grandmothers were excellent at sewing, knitting, crochet and embroidery, it was part of their upbringing. Nowadays, women in general have moved away from what seemed to be a sexist pursuit. But when I moved to Australia, I had no grandmothers to hem or fix my clothes and I had to pay people to do it for me. It can get expensive.

Nowadays, a lot of people are coming back to sewing, as a creative pursuit. Most of people I met in sewing classes are in their 20s, 30s and 40s. No-one has ever said to me: “you like sewing, how boring!” No, people will admire and envy you for it.

In this post, I take you through my sewing journey.

Sewing FAQ: Is sewing an expensive hobby?

Like all hobbies, it can be expensive if you make it. There are plenty of “top of the range” sewing machines to tempt you. I bought a Brother and it has served me very well. Hobbies can be like a collection, you keep buying more stuff that you may or may not use. Fabric is probably the biggest culprit: it’s very easy to get tempted and think: “I’ll find a use for this”. But hey, some people collect shoes…Your biggest investment is likely to be your sewing machine and you don’t have to buy the most expensive, especially at the beginning. There are plenty of places where you can buy supplies at a reasonable price, but more on that later.

FAQ Sewing: fabric samples

Sewing FAQ: I’d like to try it out but I don’t have a sewing machine, where do I go?

Do you have a friend who owns a sewing machine and wouldn’t mind lending it to you for a weekend? Well, then…

You can enrol in a sewing course to try it out: Mosman Community College

Sewing shops sometimes run classes: The Remnant Warehouse

Sewing FAQ: Where do I get my supplies?

Local sewing and craft shops such as Lincraft and Spotlight are a good start, although they’re not always cheap.

For notions, I found eBay offers plenty of choice at very reasonable prices. In my experience, it’s best to use buyers based in Australia, as opposed to overseas.

For fabric, I find it quite expensive in Australia and the quality is not always there. Fabric made for the US market is much better quality. For my more serious projects like couch covers or curtains, I use fabric.com. They are based in America and the selection is huge. You will find everything from dress fabrics to quilting cottons and home decor. Even with postage costs, I find it quite competitive, however I would recommend keeping an eye on the exchange rate.

My very favourite to find fabric is to search through markets. I absolutely adore Fabric a Brac, however it hasn’t run for a while in Sydney.

FAQ Sewing: Essential Sewing Tools

Sewing FAQ: I’m not very creative, how will I go?

Sewing is a bit like cooking, it works best with a recipe. No-one expects you to make it up as you go along. There are millions of ideas and tutorials on the Internet. Sewing is a great opportunity to use your imagination, you can play with colours and fabric combinations. The Sew4Home website is great for easy-to-follow tutorials.

FAQ Sewing: bag holders

Sewing FAQ: How do I select my projects?

At the beginning, I would suggest staying away from curves or making clothes. Reading patterns can be difficult and you need to hone your actual machine sewing skills before attempting anything too complicated. Try anything with straight lines: tea towels, napkins, aprons and work you way up. I learned all my basics on Purl Soho.

I have listed my favourite sewing projects here:

FAQ Sewing: tea towels

Sewing FAQ: Where do I find inspiration?

Welcome to the Internet! Pinterest is a great source of projects and inspiration. I have created several boards for your inspiration:

Also, I highly recommend selecting a few sewing blogs to keep you interested. My very favourite is PurlSoho, I love their style. I also check out Sew4Home regularly, their tutorials are easy to follow.

Sewing FAQ: For whom can I sew?

If you get into sewing, your family and friends will love you. And I’m not talking about hemming or fixing clothes. People love receiving something handmade that they will use. I am big fan of kitchen linens and baby stuff, they make a very special present. And of course,  you can sew for yourself, for your home.

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