Learning to Sew

Today I am so excited to introduce you to a lovely blogger Mellissa from The Diary of a Jewellery Lover, who is taking over my blog for the day.

Recently I started learning to sew, in a vain attempt to become Kirsty Allsopp before I can say I'm old and grey and I've never made a pair of curtains! I stopped sewing classes in school when I was 13, when I went onto do Woodwork instead of Needlework. Nearly 30 years later I can plane a piece of wood but I couldn't make a cushion, so I started a sewing class in the local community centre. After the initial embarrassment of not knowing how to thread the machine or wind a bobbing, I have managed to make a cushion, bunting and a bag in the same number of weeks. Surprisingly I am enjoying the crash course in becoming a domestic goddess – “The Great British Sewing Bee” has a lot to answer….
Here are my Top Ten Tips on Learning to Sew
1) Buy a good machine, but nothing to fancy, the simpler the machine the less likely things are to go wrong. Established brands such as Janome, Singer and Brother are good bets. However don't buy one of those mini machines as they are only really suitable for hemming and not much else.

2) Spend some time and money getting together the basics. My basic kit includes fabric scissors, paper scissors, pins, greaseproof paper (to make your own patterns), ruler, seam ripper  (for those inevitable mistakes), vanishing ink pen, bobbins, thread, spare needles and a measuring tape. 

3) A good beginner's book will help you learn the basics and you can refer to it when things go wrong. I recommend “Me and My Sewing Machine” – a beginner's guide by Kate Haxell.

4) There is a wealth of information out there on the world wide web. Great blogs like Tilly and The Buttons are an invaluable resource for beginners and experienced sewers alike. YouTube is fabulous for tutorials for everything from how to thread your machine to how to make cushions to how to sew an A line skirt.

5) Take a class. Since “The Great British Sewing Bee” there had been a sewing revival in the UK with classes springing up nationwide. I joined one and so can you. Even if you are an experienced sewer there are many things you can learn from specific classes. If you can't join a class for whatever reason, think of joining an online sewing community for support and inspiration.
My second sewing project

6) Practise makes perfect. Spend the time at the beginning learning how to thread your machine. Practise those straight lines and zig-zag stitches on some scrap material before you spend all your hard earned pennies on that beautiful Cath Kidson fabric.

7) Shops like Dunlem Mills and John Lewis have a lovely selection of fabric as well as online stores. Ebay is great for fabric too as many small businesses sell on there.

8) Start small before you move onto bigger projects. If you attempt something too complex at the beginning you'll get disheartened quickly when It's too complex for you.

9) It's a good idea to wash and iron your fabric before you start of making a project, as fabrics such as cotton can shrink and ironing will help your project look professional and give you a good finish. 

10) Don't be too hard on yourself. you will make mistakes it's all part of the learning process and one step nearer to making those curtains or beautiful top that inspired you to take up sewing in the first place!

Can you sew or do you want to learn? Tell me about some of the projects you are proud of!
Keep up to date with all Mellissa has to say via: Diary of a Jewellery Lover 

This article has 60 comments

  1. Dawn F

    I can sew very messily by hand but I would love to have a sewing machine to do some real work.

  2. Diane @ Vintage Zest

    I do sew! I have a couple of links to share if you would like to see… 🙂 I hope you find a couple of tips of what to stock in my organization post!!

    Sewing basket organization:
    My sewing projects:
    My thoughts about being a modern sewist:

    • mellissa williams

      Love your sewing posts. The sewing projects look amazing. I have bookmarked your page 🙂

  3. Laura Murray

    Thanks for posting this, it was really interesting to read and I will take your tips on board. I ‘m planning to do a sewing course in the new year as I feel its a valuable skill, plus I can never find the kind of soft furnishings I really want in the shops. Hope to see some more of your projects in the future!

    • mellissa williams

      I started as I wanted to make simple clothes for myself and curtains for my home

  4. Chubskulit Rose

    I used to love sewing but when I became a Mom, my world got busy and so the sewing fades away.

    I like that bag you’ve made.

  5. becca

    cute bag I would love to learn to sew thanks for inspiring me

  6. Michelle G.

    Great info! I would love to learn how to sew…I just don’t have the patience (or time) at this stage of my life.

  7. lencilicious

    I learn sewing when I was 12 years old. My mother used to have a sewing shop where I learned to put fabrics together.

  8. Terry (My Journey With Candida)

    I can kind of sew. In a pinch I can get done what needs to be done, but no way am I good at it. I have made a lot of aprons in the past.

    • mellissa williams

      I remember making an apron at school when I was 12. That’s all I ever made

  9. mellissa williams

    Thanks for posting this Sarah-Louise I hope your readers like reading it

  10. Melanie S.

    I’ve always wanted to know how to sew, it’s the learning process that’s held me back. Thanks for the info!

  11. Nova S

    It’s best to have lessons about sewing so you’ll be able to know and sew everything.

  12. Adin Blankenship

    Great tips! I learned to sew from watching my grandma and mom. I wish I was more interested then about sewing and wished I asked my grandma and mom to teach me more about sewing, but didn’t know better then. Now, I learn from what I saw from them, from reading and watching videos. Learning how to sew even the basics are really helpful. I can make my kids clothes and other things. 🙂

  13. Amber Edwards

    This is such a helpful post! I am beginning to sew. I just got a sewing machine and am now working on gathering up the basics. Then onto the next step. 🙂

  14. Amanda

    Good job learning something new! Your bag turned out well! I love sewing, my mom put me gm lessons when I was in about 3rd or 4th grade and i’ve been doing it ever since!

  15. Rachee

    I admire people who can sew! Thanks for the tips; I keep thinking I’d like to start and feel like it may be possible.

  16. Bobbi Burleson

    I did some sewing when my daughter was little but I haven’t done any since then.

  17. Tingting R.

    I like your collection of buttons. It is very colorful.

  18. Pam

    I use to sew. And I was good at it. We had to take Home Economics back in the day and I also took sewing in 4-H. But I will confess, I never really like to sew. My sister did and she was better than me. These are great tips!

  19. Le-an Lacaba

    Great tips! Especially since I’m the eldest daughter, I “have to” learn how to sew. Sexist and traditionalist.

  20. Paul Wilson

    I liked sewing as a kid.

  21. Amberlee Cave

    I have’t done too much sewing in my time. But I would have to say my proudest project would be my daughters tinkerbell quilt. It turned out adorable and both my girls love it. I really want to get back into sewing. It definitely calms me.

  22. Anne | The Chef's Wife

    Don’t know how to sew myself and sure wish I had time to learn … someday!!

  23. Katherine Bartlett

    This is so awesome! Thanks for the great post! I can’t sew at all!

  24. Liz @ A Nut in a Nutshell

    I haven’t sewn anything since high school so I actually was toying with getting one of the small machines. I’m glad you just knocked some sense into me about that. I won’t do it; thank you!

  25. Megan Chamberlin

    I took Home EC in high school and costuming as part of my theatre degree in college, but I’ve never pursued sewing. Now, with all my papercrafts and art projects, it is still the one crafty corner of the world I’m afraid of! I’d LOVE to make projects like these, but I need to start from the beginning again.

  26. amanda

    good luck in your sewing journey. i like to sew but i collect fabric more!

  27. Growing Up Madison

    My mother was a seamstress when I was younger and I’ve always wanted to learn how to sew. She made almost all of our curtains and even some of my dresses. She did a really great job too. Unfortunately for me I suck at stuff like that but I’ve always wanted to be good at it. Might have to try again.

  28. Dawn ~ Spatulas On Parade

    I have a really nice machine and know the basics but that’s it. I should go take a class but don’t have time.

  29. Tough Cookie Mommy

    I love this post because I believe that sewing is a domestic art that is becoming forgotten in today’s modern times. My grandmother in Spain taught me to sew when I was a little girl and it has helped me quite a bit over the years. Recently I was sewing a button on my son’s jacket and he was fascinated that I could sew. Lol

  30. BabsProject

    I hope sewing does not become a dying art. I have been sewing since 15 and I love it. It is my personal stress buster. I even have an ETSY store where I sell handmade aprons and cushion covers. I think every one should know to sew (at least a little). I love your second project…good work.

  31. Jackie Chapman

    I love to sew and even made my own wedding dress!

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