LesterLost

Start Sewing Today

My journey into craft started with paper. After a few years of cutting shapes into paper and getting glue everywhere, I decided to get into sewing. It was a conscious decision, I actually said: “I want to start sewing!” And I started doing research, I looked at a million sewing projects (well, at least a few hundreds…), and borrowed a machine from a friend for a few weeks, just to see whether I liked it. Then I took my very first class, just to learn how to use the machine. Here is my story to encourage you to start sewing today.

Take a Class

Check out Tessuti for beginners classes in Sydney. There, I learned how to thread the machine and how to use it. I remember the elation of pressing the foot pedal and the fabric gliding across the machine. As soon as I gazed at the black stitches on cream-coloured calico, I thought: “that’s it, it’s that simple…”
And I went home, and started sewing. Lots. I started with simple projects,  like the Purl Bee Drawstring Bags

And it went on from there. I took up easy projects, as in “square sewing”, nothing with curves: mainly tea towels and napkins. I found great pleasure in researching projects, wondering if I could complete them. There was only one way to find out, as they say…

Get the Equipment

After a while, I decided to get a machine, as a birthday present. My friend had lent me a Brother, so it seemed easy to get one. Only difference, I bought one with the bobbin charging from the top and it does make things a lot easier. I didn’t have a very big budget and didn’t want to commit too much in case I stopped enjoying it. Some sewing professionals insisted that I shouldn’t buy from a large retail store, and certainly not from eBay. Because you don’t get the “support” you need. Well, the Brother XL – 2620 was on special at BigW and here we are, three years later and I don’t know how many projects, and it’s working great. It’s a simple machine, no computer in it, and it has delivered some very basic and some very serious projects. I highly recommend it as a “beginner’s machine”. The only downside is that it doesn’t have a very long stitch but you can live without.

Find good projects

And the projects kept coming, thick and fast, and I had a ball. I did the learning on my own, through trial and error, and many hours of sewing bits of fabric together, trying different tensions and working my way through the user’s manual.

I am not a particularly patient person but I found lots of time and dedication to take it step by step, and learnt along the way. The satisfaction of creating “things” with fabric worked its magic, I loved it!

I picked up all sorts of tips, shopped a lot for bits and pieces of equipment. eBay is a great place for that.

The Fabric Addiction

I visited fabric shops in Sydney: Spotlight, Lincraft, The Remnant Warehouse… I researched online shops, my favourite is Fabric.com, incredibly good value even with the shipping costs. You have to watch the exchange rate but the range is incredible. I found some great deals for fat quarters and remnants on eBay. My favourite way to buy fabric is roaming local markets, but they are few and far between in Sydney: Fabric a Brac is fantastic but it only runs randomly.

The fabric thing: you need to experience it to understand it, but it’s a huge part of the thrill. When I look for projects, I work out my own fabric combinations. I really like simple combinations, with not too many combinations. Calico is a great base as it’s solid and hard wearing, however it looks fabulous with a bright fabric adorned with a cool pattern.

 

And so, I did what every self-respecting sewing aficionado does, I built a fabric stash! Let me tell you, that’s like shopping for shoes.

A small part of the stash, a very small part…

As I gained confidence, I embarked a more ambitious projects, worked my way through dozens of tutorials, created my own mixes of fabrics. I really love making kitchen linens: aprons, tea towels, bag holders. So, I really got into those, mixing calico and colourful fabric. These are great gifts to give away when I go back to France.

The Next Steps

The thing about sewing, is that you’re constantly trying to challenge yourself. I became interested in making clothes, and I needed more guidance for that. My next set a classes was at Make and Learn, a lovely little studio in Sydney’s east. Over the course of a few weeks, I made my first dresses and found it incredibly rewarding. They weren’t perfect but they were mine and the satisfaction of wearing something you’ve made is amazing. And the compliments!

  • Random Girl: “Lovely dress, where did you get it?”
  • Me: “Oh, I made that…”
  • Random Girl: “You did whaaat?”
  • Me: …

Need I say more… You may spend your weekend slaving over the sewing machine and forsaking all social life, and yet, you are so cool!

I wanted to make more and more clothes, and I thought a regular sewing class would be good. I really like the ones at Sydney Community Colleges

A regular circle where help is available when I need it, because reading those patterns is a bit tricky…

Sewing is a great life skill

And so, three years on, here we are. I’ve learned a lot, made so many things with my hands and became so confident in my ability I tackled major projects such as curtains, cushions, bed linen and couch covers. So, if I can do it, you can do it. Get started, buy or borrow a machine, buy some fabric, follow some tutorials and create!

How did you get started in sewing ? As early as school or did you come to it later ?

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4 Comments

  1. Lori Hil

    August 11, 2015 at 8:47 am

    Sewing is a skill I need to learn!

    1. Delphine

      August 12, 2015 at 9:58 pm

      Hi Lori, thank you for your comment. Sewing is indeed a very good skill to have!

  2. Joy

    August 17, 2015 at 10:39 am

    I’ve been wanting to sew my own clothes for years! My mum use to sew heaps of my outfits when I was a kid… but when I’ve tried it in the past, my impatience gets the better of me. I either follow the pattern incorrectly or cut too much fabric off. Your post is making me want to start trying again. If anything, so I stop buying clothes and save some dollars!

    1. Delphine

      August 18, 2015 at 9:53 pm

      Hi joy, thank you for your comment. With sewing, the best thing is too start with very simple stuff, like bags, anything that’s square… Patterns can be hard to read and there is the “fit” thing, so it takes time to master them… But try again, it’s worth it!

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