Monday, 7 January 2013

Coming Up... More Learn to Sew!


Last year I wrote a series of blog posts called Learn to Sew aimed at complete novices. They turned out to be pretty popular. After a lot of writing, editing, photographing, more editing, rephotographing, rewriting… I finally have some more posts in the series ready to go. Hooray!

I’m a big advocate of maker culture (in case you hadn’t noticed), and I get such a buzz every time I get a comment or an email from a reader saying that the blog has inspired them to start making their own clothing. With that in mind, Learn to Sew is written in an accessible, fun and encouraging tone, without bombarding readers with too much information in one go.

I find it really sad that so many people say they have been put off sewing by a scary, overly-dogmatic teacher they once had, or by really long and boring instructions manuals, by not being able to afford to take a class, or by people telling them that sewing is best left to the fashion industry. More and more of us are baking our own cakes, putting up our own shelves, growing our own vegetables… why not make our own clothing too? The ethos of this blog is that sewing is for everyone. You can make it as easy or as difficult as you like. And it doesn’t have to turn out perfect – you made it yourself!


The next  Learn to Sew posts will include answers to “stupid” questions I’ve had from both blog readers and friends (hi Louisa, hi Sarah!). There are no “stupid” questions in my mind, you understand – it’s just that sometimes we forget what it’s like to be a beginner at something and to not have a grasp of how to get started doing things. Once you've been sewing for a while, you take so many things for granted that can totally stump a complete novice. You know, questions like, “Do you cut the pattern first?”, “What does ‘Cut 1 + 1’ mean?” and, “What’s a seam allowance?”. (If you have any “stupid” questions of your own, please let me know!)

So over the next few weeks, you’ll see some more Learn to Sew posts going up on the ole’ blog. For my readers who already know how to sew, I hope you won’t mind me going over the basics. I’ve got some exciting posts in the works for you too, I promise ☺

Learn to Sew posts to date include:

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Let’s get the world stitching!

29 comments:

  1. I'm novice at sewing and English is not my maternity language, so some terms like "seam allowance" were strange to me at the beginning, and it was difficult finding out what does it really mean, and I was a little bit embarrassed to ask such a thing. And you got it all covered up here :)
    You're doing such a great job!

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    1. Aw thank you! The jargon is difficult for native speakers too sometimes.

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  2. I agree that it can be very difficult as a beginner, particularly if you don't know anyone who sews in real life. I also think that the more people do things for themselves, like make their own clothes or grow their own food, the closer we'll get to having a society that questions the consumer culture myth that we're being sold. Hats off to you, Tilly, for all your efforts getting this together!

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  3. I love to sew, I'd consider myself advanced at sewing...heck, I've even written a few bag sewing patterns...but here's the thing. Sewing clothes scares me half to death! What is an arm scythe, what if your darts go wrong, how on earth are you meant to sew that slippery dress fabric?!

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    1. Sewing clothing isn't that difficult from sewing bags in techniques. It can be trickier in the sense that you need to get it to fit you, but once you get to know your body it becomes easier. Or you could start with simple garments that just need to fit your waist, for example. I'll go into some of this in the series. Really hope you'll become a convert!

      Ooh and I just checked out your blog - LOVE that bow pleat handbag pattern!

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  4. I'm not novice, but I'm self-taught and lot of basics I don't know. I'm glad someone have patience to pass this knowlege to us.

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    1. I hope the series will be helpful for you.

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  5. This is a great series and a great idea! I often have friends ask for recommendations on sewing books or websites for complete beginners but I find that most sources that market themselves that way are still assuming prior knowledge of basic terms like some of the ones you mentioned.

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    1. I find that too, which is exactly why I've been writing this series. All the time I keep asking myself, "What confused me when I started sewing? What terms didn't I understand?"

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  6. This is a fabulous series! And I am sure there is even something that maybe those who have been sewing a while can learn! Here's to always being open to learning :) Thanks Tilly for putting this together!

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  7. I think this is such a good idea. When I started to learn to sew, I just used the internet to try to find out what I needed to (like a lot of people, I would imagine) and I think it's so much easier to build your confidence if you're following a group of posts all hosted by the same person, so you know you aren't missing something important!

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  8. Thanks Tilly! I'm having difficulties with the sewing terms (in my own language and in English), preventing me to understand instructions very well. And when I do understand them, I am missing the basic info that a seamstress is supposed to have that is already obvious for more experiences seamstresses.

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    1. Yes, it's the basics that can be difficult, especially the terminology. I hope I can help.

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  9. I'm basically self-taught and have been dress-making for about 18 months, and I find blogs like yours (and Gertie's, and Karens, and Zo's, and several others) really inspirational, in terms of the garments people make, the techniques you use, the places you shop (Oh, Goldhawk Road!)... and having clear explanations of terminology and techniques is really helpful for someone like me, who hasn't done any formal classes. So thank you for sharing your knowledge and your enthusiasm, in such a clear and accessible way!

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  10. Oh Tilly, where were you when I was a beginner!?! To be fair though, I've found your series really helpful as you never stop learning when you're sewing, so I'm really looking forward to your upcoming posts!

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    1. Too true - and it's been useful for me writing it and asking myself why we do things a certain way.

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  11. One of the things I still struggle to understand are all of the different types of fabrics, especially when trawling the net for stuff I can't get near to where I live, maybe you could incorporate something about this?

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    1. I found that too. What's been really helpful for me is getting my hands on this book which has swatches of fabric so you can feel them. It's not cheap but I've found it worth the money. Suddenly the descriptions all make sense!

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    2. Muito legal. Porque existe uma variedade imensa de tecidos mesmo, eu estou lutando pra conhecer os básicos. (risos)

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  12. I got a lovely sewing machine for Xmas. As a complete newbie I think your beginner's guide is brilliant. Actually, your whole blog is fabulous. I can't thank a bloggy friend enough for pointing me in your direction.

    Thank you so much for taking the time to share your knowledge :)

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  13. I think this is a great series! Even for experienced seamstresses, a refresher of the basics is a good thing!

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    1. Great, thanks for the support Maddie!

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  14. Olá Tilly! Vou escrever em português mesmo porque não sei escrever e nem falar o Inglês, mas isso não me impediu que eu conhecesse o seu blog e passasse a te acompanhar. Comprei minha maquina de costura agora dia 23 de dezembro e não vejo a hora de costurar minhas próprias roupas, entrei em um curso de corte e costura que começa agora em Janeiro e vou além do curso acompanhar seu blog. Obrigada por compartilhar conosco todo essa carinho pela costura. Ah! E como eu acompanho seu blog, já que não entendo o inglês? (risos) Google tradutor.

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