If you've been reading, then you'll already know I come from a long line of sewers/seamstresses and that I didn't learn from watching them.That I initially had a phobia of sewing machines. And that my desire to design, alter and sew got the better of me, thankfully.
Where were we, ah yes. I had just purchased a sewing machine and had made a boob tube out of stretch fabric with some difficulty's.
After the joys of making the boob tube I made another.
Then I decided that getting an actual sewing pattern to follow might be a good idea. A simple one. So after doing some research, I choose an easy skirt pattern, I think it was a vogue easy options.
It coming with loads of options (I'm sure I still have it somewhere). From simple A-line skirt to a tiered version, A-symmetric and pleated one too. I choose the easiest option, A-line skirt.
I sort of half followed the instructions and made the rest up as I went along. It actually didn't turn out too bad. I'd read up about zig-zagging the fabric edges to stop fraying, though I knew nothing about grain lines and just proceeded to cut the skirt out of the middle of the fabric. Then realised that was only the front of the skirt and I'd need more fabric for the back!
I did make another skirt from the pattern soon after I'd made the first, I even wore that one on holiday!
The skirts weren't perfect. I needed more help/advise. A book would be a good idea. Eventually after a little research and a look on Amazon I took a gamble and choose 'yes, I made it myself' by Eithne Farry.
Now whilst this is by no means a technical guide to learning how to sew. I do recommend it. It's friendly, informative and easy to understand whilst also being quite funny.
It does treat you as a complete beginner who's not so sure where to start though.
Although the book isn't a serious guied to sewing I did get a lot of my sewing know-how from it, enough to start me well on my way, to sewing goddess-ity. I learnt what terms like, selvedge was, warp and weft and how to cut my fabric the 'right way'. What the other bits on my sewing machine do and to back stitching seam lines, not only when I start but when I finish sewing too. It is a lovely book and even now I get it out to look at and inspire me. It also reminds me that I've come along way from when I first started.
After getting my head round sewing some more I attempted the tier skirt with the pattern I'd bought and with ease I might add. I'd quickly whipped up a skirt that looked like it was suppose to. I was hooked. I was starting to crack the sewing code, and it was brilliant.
Using some of the designs in the yeah I made it myself book and adapting them to what I wanted to do I went on to make two dresses each out of a meter of fabric by stretching narrow/ knicker elastic across the top half of the fabric and sewing it in place via zigzag stitch sewing up the back seam and voilà I had a summer dress.
Now by this point I was around nineteen/twenty, and in college studying fine art. In my second year I'd expressed a desire to sew and had been considering fashion design. It was decided I should experiment with textiles a little more. My final project included a gathered skirt with bits of coloured ribbon sewn to it and fastened via velcro. I'd been studying the butterfly effect and this is what the skirt represented. It was a bit on the large side, and in lots of ways I had gone back wards on myself.
But This pattern, I had made myself! now don't get any ideas it was nothing spectacular just a few pieces of fabric stitched together and gathered on to wide ribbon.
It was then I decided I really wanted to learn to make my own patterns!
That looked tricky (it's not that hard I promise).
The summer I finished studying fine art and decided that another college course wouldn't be a bad idea. I had to go to a different college to where I'd studied fine art but it offered a fashion and clothing course with a pattern cutting element. so I enrolled!
Now don't let this put you off, although I went to college and I did learn a great deal more, prominently this was in pattern drafting. My sewing basics which they taught I'd mostly already learnt from the 'yeah, I made it myself book'. And in fact I could often be found helping out other students with no previous experience in sewing! (classes were over crowded)
By the way Eithne Farry also has another book, lovely things for girls of slender means. I recently got my hand on this book and it's even more lovely than the first, it's also a follow on from the first book too and again is easy, informative and funny. The clothing in this book is also nicer than the first book but also a little more advanced, so it's a great follow on. I would highly recommend both books for beginner sewers who are not quite sure where to start, and for those who've been sewing a while it has some funky ideas.
Coming tomorrow, The college years.
What books did you learn to sew with?