Sewing For Beginners | What I've Learnt

I get an immense sense of satisfaction from doing creative activities like sewing, baking and even taking visits to the ceramic painting cafe in Greenwich. I love the feeling of focusing on something solely for any certain amount of time and not having to think about anything else than what is in front of me. And doing it well - I'm a perfectionist, I can't help it.

I realise I'm yet to share with you some of the things/garments I have made so far... fear not, I've plans to share a couple of bits or maybe just one or two this week, but I thought I'd share a few pearls of wisdom from my own journey into making my own clothes and other handmade wares.

Do Your Research - I spent a long time, but not too long researching into what I would need to get started, the right kind of sewing machine for me and my ability as well as what was in budget. I made myself excited over the prospect of what I might be able to make and set myself goals in my mind of the kind of clothing I'd like to make. I also thought about the practicality of taking up such a hobby... for example where I would be able to sew (our flat isn't the biggest) and where I'd be able to keep all of my fabric and sewing box when it's not in use - to be fair I'm still fine tuning this but a little preparation goes a long way :)

Get The Right Equipment - As mentioned in the last point, I looked at reviews of machines that were in my price range and that would start me off. As we all know, there is no point in paying over the odds to start a hobby that may turn out to not be for you, and if it does end up floating your boat, you can reinvest in better equipment as time goes on. In the end I went for this machine, the reviews were good and was about as much as I expected to pay. And I actually went into store (shock horror, who does that these days?!) to check it out before going ahead, which meant lugging it home on the bus but it was worth it. I was also able to have a look at fabrics and pick up everything else I needed to get going. Superb.

Start Simple - I can remember the projects I made in textiles at secondary school, and at the time not only was I completely uninterested in sewing (mainly because of the teacher) but my efforts were horrendous. I didn't excel, not one bit. So I knew I'd have to start off really simple considering I couldn't even remember how to thread a machine. I bought myself a super simple shopper bag pattern and some lovely fabric (but not too expensive for a first try) from John Lewis and as soon as I got back I got to work on my first creation.

Read The Instructions - The most boring bit of any new project for me. I'm the type of person who likes to rip everything out of the packaging and get going straight away, I've always been like that and I probably always will be. But with something like this, I knew I had to read the instructions first, learn what each part of the machine did and how to set it up correctly in order to get the best out of it. My machine is fairly straight forward to use - a great one for beginners - so didn't take too long, but then there is the matter of deciphering the patterns.

Be Patient - It's safe to say, trying to understand the language in some patterns - particularly for beginners - can be less than helpful, to say the least. But more often than not, common sense prevails and after reading over some sentences almost a dozen times, you'll start to understand. It can be frustrating, but I find it best to try and keep calm (wow sounds like I really enjoy sewing...) and go slowly, because it always works out in the end.

Enjoy It - Probably the most important tip and also the one that could go without saying. With a hobby that requires you to start from scratch and learn a lot of new skills, it can be easy to get bogged down in the technicalities of it all. But I find pushing myself to learn new techniques and constantly taking on new, and more challenging garments, makes it all worth while, giving a greater sense of satisfaction at the end of each project.

I hope anyone who's considering taking up sewing finds this useful, or if you already sew, what did you come up against when you first started?