I have this incredible skill that has saved my family hundreds of dollars(quite honestly, it's probably more like thousands). I'm self taught (mostly) and other then a below average semester of Home Ec back in 7th grade, I've never taken a formal class.
This skill allows me to create beautiful items for my home, for my children, for friends and family and it also enables me to fix things and to repurpose that which no longer seems to be of use any longer.
What is this amazing skill?
I can sew.
It doesn't seem like people put a lot of value on knowing how to sew nowadays . When you can head over to Walmart and buy a t-shirt for $3, and fabric costs at the minimum $4.50 for a single yard, why bother?
- I don't know about your family, but between my husband and kids something ALWAYS needs to be mended around here. Mending is a quick way to save your investment in clothing. You can purchase more expensive clothing if you know you can fix it! 😉
- Sewing pillows, curtains and other basic household decor is SO easy. Why pay $30 for a pillow that will take you 30 minutes and $5 worth of fabric and supplies?
- Learn to sew for those times you need something fancy/unique/dressy. Attach the words "prom", "wedding", "bridal" or "Halloween" to an item of clothing and watch the price sky rocket up 25-50%! Your costs stay the same when you sew regardless of whether you are using that satin for a blanket or a precious flower girl dress.
- Sewing is a creative outlet that can be enjoyed with as much or as little money as you want after your initial investments (I'll explain more about that later). Do you want to sew with fancy expensive fabric? Go right ahead. Or head to your nearest closet and grab some old t-shirts or jeans and start there. Thrift stores are excellent for finding super cheap fabric.
- Finally...my favorite! When you sew, even if you sew from a pattern, you are creating something unique and one of a kind (trust me, try making 2 dresses look exactly the same! You are not a factory!). If I sew my daughter a dress for the first day of school, I know that she will be the only one wearing that dress. I'll know it was made with love and I'll know that she'll feel special. You can't beat that accomplished "I made that." feeling.
Don't fall into the trap of believing that you need to go to a class to learn how to sew.
Download Sewing Patterns Today!
Make sure you have basic sewing supplies
I have written about this before. Sewing is not a cheap hobby to start up (although it can be if you can borrow or find a sewing machine a friend or family member is willing to donate or sell to you for cheap!). After the initial investment though (and you really don't need much!), your costs are what you want them to be.
As mentioned above, purge your own closets for fabric. Shop the remnant bin at your local Hobby Lobby, JoAnn's or Hancock Fabrics (some Walmart's still carry fabric as well). Once friends and family know that you are sewing, you can guarantee you'll have piles of t-shirts and jeans dropped on your doorstep at regular intervals!
Read this article for what you need specifically to teach yourself to sew: Basic Sewing Supplies-What Do You Really Need?
Pick a project
Surprisingly, I think THIS is the step that breaks a lot of would-be seamstresses! You might have decided to teach yourself to sew because you want to make yourself floor to ceiling curtains for your 2 story living room, but let's start smaller.
The project we want has the following characteristics:
- Labeled "easy" or "beginner"
- Has straight lines and minimal (if any) pattern pieces
- Does not include advanced techniques such as ruffling, interfacing, darting, etc
- Has a functional purpose. Don't make something just to make it. Make something that can be used and enjoyed.
Purchase 2 different sets of fabric for your project
Muslin fabric is cheap and easy to work with. If you don't have scrap fabric around, purchase some muslin and try your project with that first. Then use your desired fabric once you have the pattern or project down.
Do NOT try your project for the first time with your $12.99 a yd fancy fabric if you are a beginner. That's a surefire way to push yourself towards giving up.
Practice, Practice, Practice
You are going to fail. I promise. Maybe not with your first project...but eventually, you.will.FAIL. From that failure, you will learn how not to do that again (or if you are like me, it might take a few tries! )
Do you have any idea how many pillowcases dresses I had to make to be able to do this?
I used a lot of scrap fabric first and made a lot of mistakes. A lot of this is just getting to know your machine. Pull out your sewing machine book or DVD and read/watch it. Learn what settings work best for YOUR machine. Once you and your machine "click" it will be like you are BFF's.
Use this opportunity to make mistakes, learn your machine and to educate yourself (more on that in the next tip!).
Utilize online resources for tips, tricks and visual explanations of confusing techniques
YouTube baby. Don't know how to thread your bobbin? You COULD look it up in your sewing machine manual. However, if you are a visual learner like me, you might try to watch a video on YouTube.
There is also Craftster, Craftsy and the huge plethora of blogs out there filled to the brim and just dying to give you advice 😉 .
Google it. I promise, you'll find the answer.
You can teach yourself to sew. If you want to learn how to sew all it takes is persistence and a goal. Gather your supplies, pick a project, grab some fabric, try try and try again and use the resources available on the wonderful world wide web to achieve sewing success.
My goal was to make my daughter's outfit for her first birthday party. It's not technically the best sewing I've ever done, but 4 years later I look back on this adorable outfit I made for my princess and it has all been worth it.
Comment below with any questions or any additional tips you might have!
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