Your great grandmother probably made clothing for the entire family. As that entire family grew up and decades went by it became easier to run to the store for clothing. That’s great, but that hand sewn clothing fit each person in the family perfectly and held a special meaning because it was made with love. Sewing isn’t hard, but it takes patience and focus. Learning to sew is all about putting tips and tricks to the test to get your desired result. If you make a few shirts with mismatched sleeves, it’s okay, turn them into rags and get started on the next item.
The first step is to put together the perfect sewing kit. You need scissors, but not just any scissors. Specialty scissors like fabric shears and a rotary cutter are your best bet. Pins are an essential for basically everything you do with sewing. A pincushion is a great place to store your pins. A seam ripper isn’t fun, but it’s important in case you mess up and you need to quickly remove seams. You need all different colors of thread so you have a great variety before starting a project. And of course a good sewing machine for beginners.
You can find some great video tutorials online. Don’t start blindly! Buy a few patterns that are inexpensive and work from there. Dive into YouTube and Pinterest to find things that interest you. Find inspiration and figure out how to create certain projects by watching others. You might not start out as good as those in the tutorial, but practice makes perfect.
Basting is a temporary hold to ensure your sewing job will reach perfection. It allows you to test the side seams and darts before sewing them down as well as hold slippery fabric together while sewing in the stitches. You just pin the fabric together as if you were about to sew it permanently. Then you thread a needle and knot that threat by the edge of the fabric. Place the needle into the fabric as if you were actually sewing it. Repeat this until the project is fully basted. It does not matter the size of the stitches. This is basically your test project before the final fitting.
Pins are your best friends. A heavy duty pin will keep even the toughest projects in line. When pinning a section of your garment keep the pins perpendicular to the seamline. This helps keep the pins from sticking you. You also don’t have to stop when basting to remove the pins so the process is faster. You can them quickly remove the pins after sewing without hassle. Pins should be about 1.5″ inside the fabric. Don’t ever use bent pins because they will just cause you trouble in the end.
If you make a mistake, use the seam ripper. Reaching for the scissors sounds like a good idea, but you will end up cutting a tiny hole in something. You don’t want to work hard to create a masterpiece only to have it ruined by the slice of the scissor. A seam ripper does the job if you simply must rip something. By all means, if you can keep from ripping anything, do so! It’s all about taking your time and taking breaks to reach your utmost potential.