Thursday, October 14, 2010

Learning to sew

I very kindly received a working sewing machine for free through Freecycle! How lucky was I? Very I know. But I have not been able to give into my sewing urges because of the Festival taking up all of my time...until now!

My baby - a Brother from 1986!

And it is now that I have found sewing patterns and terminology to be complete mumbo jumbo to me!

I'm ususally quite a capable person and can pick up things quickly, but those patterns still seem baffling.

I have started off very small to build my confidence and to produce from very quick results.

This was my first project. (Please excuse the orange lawn mower and glass of bubble in my hand - this was the Festival wrap party - thank goodness this photo was taken early in the night!).

I bought this Indian-sari-looking dress from an Op Shop for $12. I cut about 60cm off the length (yes it was that long!) and rehemmed the dress into this sexy little number! It's not a fabulous hemming job but boy wasn't I proud as punch to be wearing my (part)creation out and about!

My next project was just the other night when I really wanted to sew something and I had become very disheartened by some patterns that were jibberish to me. Even the 'easy' ones from Burda Style which I thought would have been my best bet.

I ended up creating this scarf for my upcoming trip to Melbourne. Funny story with this material too. Remember my post on Council collections? Well I drove past a manky old rain sodden mattress numerous times and just loved the fabric. So I sent the boy out to cut the fabric off the matress. I have since washed and ironed the fabric and it has come up just like new. When I was looking for an easy-peasy project to satisfy my sewing desire I thought this fabric would match with my red jacket just perfectly and look quite quirky down in the Melbourne fashion scene.

So if you have any go-to resources that helped you learn to sew please, plese, please leave them in the comments so I can start producing something a little more advanced.





  1. Hi Kim, well done on your sewing efforts so far.

    These links might help

    I've not looked at the whole clip below, hope it helps.

    You could try the library or a op shop and see if they have a basic sewing book. If you've not done so yet I would recommend having the machine serviced, just so its running well for you. Good luck

  2. Our local craft store chain offers classes. I took their intro class and it was immensely helpful. We didn't even touch the sewing machine. It was mostly about deciphering patterns and the terminology included in them. Good luck!

    P.S. LOVE the dress!

    Stephanie :)

  3. Hey Kim,
    Sewco at Mt Gravatt often hold beginer classes and the ladies there are fantastic. Youtube is also great for if you're stuck on something. The best tip I can give would be to be careful cutting out your pattern (I don't use the notches unless there are intricate bits) but definately line up your grainlines, the preparation is worth it in the end. Just take your time. -Commercial patterns assume you have some prior knowlege of sewing. Perhaps try a tutorial instead -with step by step pictures and detailed instructions. You can find heaps on the net, or buy one from Etsy. Also try bags or furnishings and quilting first -that doesn't have the detailed tailoring etc that can be confusing.

    Hope that helps!

  4. Hey Kim,
    The dress and scarf look fantastic! Congrats! I agree with Lisa, get the sewing machine serviced if you have the money, because it will make it easier in the long run (speaking of which I really should do mine). In Sydney the going rate is about $80 for a machine service.

    I taught myself to sew after reading, trying, reading, trying. I would suggest pick a pattern from Burda Style. Any term you do not understand read up on and get confident on it. I've found that once I mastered the basics, each pattern I used next there was usually one or two new skills to learn, which makes the learning nice and slow. I would also recommend buying a heap of cheap fabric so that you can take risks and try new things with it and you won't be in tears if it doesn't work out. You are already hemming dresses so I know you will do great!

    Keep posting to let us know how you get on,
    Sam xox


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