In honor of National Sewing Month I am going to share some advise I gave in a guest post over a year ago. If you’ve been to my blog before you already know I blog about my two passions – traveling and sewing.
So you have been inspired to take your first sewing lesson. Congratulations! You’ve probably made a project or two in class and you are now facing a solo project. Here are some tips on how to shop for your first project.
1. Check the skill level needed for the pattern you have chosen
Start with an easy pattern.
Sewing should be fun not frustrating. For your first few solo projects it is important to choose easy projects. Most commercial pattern companies and independent pattern designers will tell you what level of skills will be needed to complete the project. It is better to do an easy project well than a difficult project poorly. Each project should help you build your skills.
2. A pattern is like a recipe. Make sure you use the right “ingredients.”
Let the pattern be your challenge not the fabric. Pick a pre-approved fabric. Think of a sewing pattern as a recipe. Pattern designers know which fabrics work best with the patterns. Easy patterns use easy fabrics. Using the wrong fabric can be as disastrous as using salt when the recipe calls for sugar.
3. Sewing can be a team sport
Get a second opinion. Fabric is usually non-returnable. Make sure you ask the store’s policy on returns before you have it cut. If you are unsure about anything ask a fellow shopper or a friendly salesclerk for help. Generally there will be someone in the store who is more than willing to help a newbie.
4. So many choices!
Fall in love with your fabric. Your fabric is your main ingredient in your sewing recipe. Get to know it before you buy it. Unroll the bolt some. Feel the texture, check out the pattern. Is it directional? Is the print too big or too small for the project? Rub the right side of the fabric between your index finger and thumb. Does the color rub off? If it does you will have to take special care when you wash it. And don’t forget smell. I have found that occasionally fabric will have a chemical smell. I give these a pass. Check out the care instructions on the end of the bolt. Also give a pass on high maintenance fabrics.
5. Keep your eye on the prize.
Visualize your project. You have carefully selected the perfect pattern. You fell in love with you fabric. Now visualize the two together and keep this image in your mind while you are working on your project. It is this perfect image that will sustain you through snarled threads, crooked seams, and while wielding the seam ripper.
I can’t promise you that your first sewing projects will come out perfect if you follow these tips. I can promise you, though, that you will be well on your way to a lifetime love of sewing like me.