How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. Don't expect to sit down at your sewing machine for the first time and whip up a tailored slipcover for your sofa. It's not going to happen like that. Sewing, just like any other skill requires some degree of practice and patience. That's why so many choose not to. I know that was my reason. I am an instant gratification type of girl, so I never had any interest in learning to sew. Then out of what I felt was necessity, I made some roman shades for my kitchen. Yes, it was a necessity. I wanted roman shades, in my kitchen and couldn't afford to have them custom made so I set about making them myself with a little sewing machine given to me by my aunt. I set up my work on the kitchen table and cut fabric on the kitchen floor. They were far from perfect, but I was amazed every time I looked at them. I made something for my home. Something pretty, that functioned and something no one else had. I was hooked.
My biggest stumbling block in my sewing journey was feeling comfortable with my sewing machine. I would give up on a project if my needle broke or I ran out of bobbin thread. Now I know those are just part of sewing, but at the time, not knowing what to do when these things happened, made them seem like big issues.
My challenge to you, if you are just starting out, is to get familiar with your sewing machine. Take a few hours and play around. I can't tell you how to thread your machine, each one is different. Your manual will show you how and if you've lost your manual, google search, I'm sure you can find one online. Thread and re-thread it until it feels natural. Wind a few extra bobbins. If your machine has fancy stitches, try them out. Just play. I promise, getting comfortable with your sewing machine is first and most important step. The rest is will come easily. If you are going to be sewing on your great aunt Martha's old singer and it's been in the garage for the past 15 years, it's probably a good idea to take it by your local sewing machine repair shop and have it serviced. It's not expensive and your chances of success are much greater with a smooth running machine.
If you are already comfortable threading your machine and winding bobbins, gather your supplies. Nothing is more frustrating than breaking a needle in the middle of a project and not having a replacement. Get your self some basic supplies.
- Good, sharp scissors. Designated only for cutting fabric.
- Measuring tools- a tape measure, yard stick, a quilters ruler... you don't have to have all, but you will need some type of measuring device.
- Straight pins, I like glass head pins that don't melt if the iron touches them.
- A variety of hand sewing needles.
- A seam ripper- yep you're going to need one.
- Thread. Get some good quality all purpose thread in several basic colors.
- Extra bobbins that fit your machine.
- Extra sewing machine needles. Spend a little extra and get good quality.
- A good quality iron- and you don't have to have a Rowenta. Mine is a Black and Decker classic iron. You just want one that has some weight and gives you plenty of steam.
Not necessary, but certainly nice to have:
- A rotary cutter with a few extra blades
- A self healing cutting mat
- An acrylic ruler
- Pinking Shears
- A water soluble fabric marker
I could go on and on, but I think with this is a good basic arsenal to start out with. I will warn you, sewing stashes tend to multiply rather rapidly. You start out with a cookie tin that holds all your sewing supplies, and before you know it, you've taken over the dining room. Don't say I didn't warn you.
I made a little Sew Something in November button, it's over there in the right sidebar. Get yourself one if you plan to join along. You'll notice I also have another super cute button over there. The lovely Edie, of Life In Grace has a series of posts called 12 Days of Handmade Christmas tutorials. I'm thrilled to be participating and will have a tutorial on making some Pottery Barn & Ballard Design knock-off pillows. I think mine will be on day 7. Go check out what she's posted so far. They are great!