During my time teaching, I frequently come across rookie clothes makers who get frustrated and upset when their first attempt at a new sewing technique goes wrong, or if their first garment is not spot on.
When I first started to sew I was scared of the sewing machines! I would plonk my foot on the pedal and the machine would stitch REALLY fast,
I would panic - often scream and raise my hand in surrender!
Of course during my ‘panic and scream era’, my sewing was atrocious. I did not actually make anything but noise. Within the first three years owning my domestic machine, I made:
An elasticated skirt for my little sister - far too small at the waist, so unwearable (sorry Sis!)
A pair of really dodgy trousers with a ridiculously low crutch (ironically, it would be ok to wear now)
..and a skirt for a classmate, with a slit in the back. The slit kept creeping higher, as I hadn’t discovered reverse stitch at that time, (sorry Alison!)
It wasn’t until I was lucky enough to learn under the tutelage of a very patient teacher, (Linda Parker at Westminster college, 1990) that I was finally able to use a domestic machine to sew a passable garment.
My sewing still was not the neatest in the world and the unpicker became both my greatest enemy and best friend! During my years of studying fashion, I did not sew only in class, I made clothes in my own time. Sewing is a mastery skill - the only way to get good at it is by DOING it. I have been sewing for over 20 years and I am still proudly learning and improving.
SO, TO ALL YOU ‘NEW SEWERS’ OUT THERE – BE PATIENT with yourself!
Remember you are learning a new skill - the chances of you getting things spot on, first time around is extremely rare.
Some tips to help improve your sewing.
- Practice foot control, using paper sewing exercises. Do it without thread, your focus is to follow the lines. ( see some exercises in a pdf below)
- Be realistic! Start with something simple, a tote bag, a cushion… avoid ball gowns or coats.
- Practice, practice, PRACTICE!
Clothes Making 3 eve course at City Lit
There are still places left on my summer term sewing and clothes making for intermediates course on Thursday nights at City Lit starting in April.
Blogging pal J . http://thiabee.tumblr.com/