(If you aren’t enamoured of my diehard imperative to tell stories about sewing, just scroll down to the linky goodness below ;-P)
I have been
drinking much tea and gossiping teaching a friend the basics of sewing. For a start, she had lots of alterations and mending she wanted to do. I used to do mending and alterations for the local Red Cross Op Shop and discovered the treasure-trove of learning to be had from rtw clothing construction. I helped her work out how her own rtw garments are constructed, explained how much can be learnt from it, and encouraged her every step of the way.
How my mum taught me to sew
When it comes to the actual sewing, I have simply been teaching her in the same way my mother taught me – explaining how to do something, getting her to do it while being on hand to give further guidance or answer questions.
Then I explain what the next step was and why – and how I worked that out – then repeat the above procedure for that step.
Rinse and repeat rinse! Just like my mum did with me when I was little.
It has been working! Yay! Just like it did for my mother with me.
My friend’s first actual garment project was a half-circle skirt. We ran out of time to finish off, but she asked me to explain what she needed to do to finish. She returned the next week with her skirt completely done. Hurrah! A triumph for her, for me and for her wardrobe.
It’s been making me think a lot about learning to sew. I got quite so frustrated with the Swing Dress pattern because with my experience I knew I could work out how to do the dress regardless of the issues I had with it. But at the back of my mind was the thought “What if I didn’t know how to sort this out?” “What if I was a beginner like my friend and didn’t have the sew-along to help? How would I fare then?”
I guess we all have our own paths, and a few failed dresses here and there certainly never put me or plenty of others off! I learnt from each and every failure, mediocre garment, and stunningly beautiful sewing success I have had. I would just hate to think a difficult pattern at the beginning of a sewing fascination killed the desire to go further.
Happily there is a lot of help to learn to sew out there.
Cruising the interwebs this evening, I found:
- Using vintage sewing patterns by Elegant Musings who ran the Swing Dress sew-along. Much to my amusement, the things that frustrated me with the Swing dress pattern turn out to common to vintage patterns. (Hehe, I live and learn 😉
- Pressing – one of the most important things I learnt when taking lessons, was how to press. This post on pressing on Gorgeous Things’ blog. It has a picture demonstrating the difference between a properly pressed seam and one not pressed very well. It demonstrates wonderfully the saying “Well-pressed is half-sewn”.
- Dud patterns – Sometimes things not going well can simply be because pattern is a dud, rather than lack of experience in the sewist. I really urge learners to read this article on patterns in Threads magazine website, that helps sort the pattern sheep from goats.
And of course, there are masses of tutorials out there, and people who love sewing and are more than happy to share their experience and enthusiasm. Which is one of the bestest of all things about the interwebs!