Advanced search

Learning to sew

(29 Posts)
JellyCurls Thu 13-Mar-14 21:52:51

I have just finished my first ever sewing project - a circle skirt for a fancy dress party. This has given me the sewing bug and now I want to learn how to sew.

Where is the best place to start? Sewing classes, a book?

Patchouli Thu 13-Mar-14 21:58:10

I found that working through patterns, starting with the easier ones, gets you into the lingo and getting to know what they mean.
Children's clothes are good as nice small size to deal with and not too much wasted fabric if there are bad mistakes.

I quite like that Cath Kidston sew book for bag patterns too.

JellyCurls Thu 13-Mar-14 22:05:10

Thanks Patchouli, what patterns are good for beginners.

No sewing shops near me and its difficult to see online what's easy

EATmum Thu 13-Mar-14 23:15:03

Jelly I'm in a similar situation - just finished a skirt that I like but is far from perfect, but it's definitely given me the bug! But it's also shown me how much I have to learn ...

DameFanny Fri 14-Mar-14 16:17:57

Don't worry about what's easy - you can pretty much do anything of you take it slow, practise on scraps and read the instructions carefully.

So basically, what do you want to make? Start from that and google for the fabric and pattern that's closest to your ideal.

craftynclothy Fri 14-Mar-14 19:43:52

I would say an introductory class is definitely worth the money. What area are you in? Maybe someone here can recommend some (if you're around Yorkshire/Manchester I know a couple of places). There's lots of simple tips around using your machine that make things so much easier (e.g. hold your threads as you start to sew as it stops them getting tangled).

I don't tend to bother with books as most stuff you can find tutorials for on YouTube or blogs.

JellyCurls Fri 14-Mar-14 21:03:07

Thanks crafty I really want to make my DD some good fitting clothes eg skirts, dresses. She is 7 but height of a 9yr old and has waist circumference of a 4yr old.

Also once I can sew I plan on making myself some tops for work as I can never get anything long enough in body.

Plan is start with DD until I get good enough, she won't mind if stitching & hem are a bit dodgy smile

I am in Ayrshire if anyone can recommend a class

JellyCurls Fri 14-Mar-14 21:04:16

Oh should add I really ought to buy myself a machine as I am using my mums just now and getting lots of comments about returning it.

Any recommendations for a good not overpriced machine?

Lambstales Fri 14-Mar-14 21:06:00

I really would recommend some sewing classes for beginners, it will give you a good 'jumping off point'.

I would buy a good book,otherwise you can spend hours looking at YouTube. I've chosen The Sewing Book by Alison Smith, DK. which seems to be an absolute guide for everyday sewing. I was also lucky enough to have sewing books passed down from other relatives and they give vintage techniques.

Depends how you learn....

DameFanny Fri 14-Mar-14 21:20:26

I think the Janome used on the sewing bee goes for 2-300 and is a good all rounder. If you want to start cheaper though look on local selling pages for a secondhand machine. I've just had my 1962 Singer serviced and it's lovely. Doesn't do a zig zag stitch but runs like a dream in straight stitching and uses the same bobbins and needles as my white plastic electric machine.

The lovely woman who serviced it for me said that Singer went bust because their machine's lasted too well people didn't need to buy new ones...

But if you go vintage (do it do it do it - they're so pretty...) Don't get one with a shuttle bobbin as they're harder to find bits for

Lambstales Fri 14-Mar-14 21:44:35

I have a 1957 Singer that uses the slightly domed bobbins. My white plastic machine doesn't like needs the flat profile gets annoying.....
Concur with shuttle comment.

TunipTheUnconquerable Fri 14-Mar-14 21:49:16

The Sewing Bee book from the first series is a good balance of easy projects and techniques.

DameFanny Fri 14-Mar-14 21:53:05

There are tons of Singer 66 & 99s around which take modern bobbins , some in fantastic tables. The 99 is a 3/4 size version of the 66 and astonishingly cute

listens in I've decided I really, really want to learn this, especially for home decor projects! Think I fancy looking for a second-hand machine and getting The Sewing Bee book now.

<listens in> that was meant to be..

Lambstales Fri 14-Mar-14 21:58:18

Just a warning to people. It's good that you know the 66 and 99 take modern bobbins.
However, I was saying that the plastic machine won't take the old bobbins.....

TunipTheUnconquerable Sat 15-Mar-14 09:48:46

If your old machine takes new bobbins can't you just use new bobbins for everything? They only cost pennies.

My 1940 Singer seems happy with new bobbins.

What I find amazing about sewing machines is how interchangeable things are. I was most chuffed to discover the other week that the tin of accessories from my Singer can nearly all be used on my Juki, and vice versa.

MoreSkyThanWeNeed Sat 15-Mar-14 09:52:41

Google sewing tutorials and get stuck in!
This book is a great starting point and includes patterns:


MoreSkyThanWeNeed Sat 15-Mar-14 09:53:36


Aliama Sat 15-Mar-14 10:03:13

Firstly, can I put in a good word for the magazine Burda World of Fashion? Considering the cost of patterns, it's excellent value, and is packed with different things of varying difficulty. WHSmith often stocks it.

Keep an eye out for sewing manuals in charity shops. Things like the Readers Digest one:

Very seventies, but the information won't go out of date (although the patterns might).

Sewing classes can be a bit frustrating, IMO, since when you're stuck there can be a lot of waiting around for the teacher to get to you.

Also recommend the website, which is a wealth of information. Sewing blogs are also well worth reading, for ideas, inspiration, etc.

EATmum Sat 15-Mar-14 11:44:26

I'm totally approaching sewing in a trial-and-error way, but really enjoying it. I bought a sewing machine from John Lewis last year - their v lightweight and basic model which comes ina lot of different colours and retails for about £50. I thought it would be a good way to try this stuff out. As it happened when I went in to buy it, they had a colour-way on sale (I guess lime green and blue hadn't been a winner) so I got my machine for £25, and it's been a great starter. If I carry on sewing however, it's clear that I'll need something more robust (and with a light, I didn't realise how critical that would be --as I'm getting increasingly blind--).

pancakedayiscoming Sat 15-Mar-14 16:02:07

Oh! I'm looking into this too. My mother sews so I'm going to get some tips from her and will try to get a tutorial from her later in the year. Meanwhile thought I would kit myself out with some basics. Will follow up on the tips here. If anyone comes across any more could you please post them?

Would seasoned sewers recommend I buy a £50 John Lewis machine like EAT has or hold out for a second-hand bigger brand? Total novice here and not 100% sure I'd get the hang of things eventually!

phoolani Sat 15-Mar-14 17:00:39

Saga, I'd still go for the JL mini one. I got mine when I first started and it was fab for getting going. And even tho I now have a bigger, better machine, I still use the JL one for quick, run of the mill stuff.

Thank you, phoolani! I will put it on my wish list!!

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, watch threads, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now »

Already registered? Log in with: