Friday, July 2, 2010

Fourth of July Resolution: Sew!

Happy 4th of July to everyone!  I'm so happy to have this weekend off, even though it's just a regular weekend and not long because I'm on call on Monday.  I'll be celebrating hubby's birthday, which actually falls on July 4th so he gets a free fireworks show to celebrate every year! :)

I'm also planning to go shopping this weekend, but for once it's not to buy clothes.  Instead, I'll be shopping for fabric!  My first experience with tailoring, although great, was very very expensive.  I really didn't like the idea of the cost of tailoring being more than the cost of the item itself.  Since I've always considered sewing to be such a valuable and useful skill, and have envied others who are able to make custom-fitted clothes, I've decided to really learn how to sew.  I've tried my hand at it in the past but rather unsuccessfully, and I think it was because I was too impatient and cut corners to get it done faster... and promptly became discouraged and quit when things didn't turn out well.  This time I want to really commit and do my research and hopefully be able to pick up this rewarding hobby!

I already have a sewing machine, which is more than adequate for my needs.  I went and bought several books in an attempt to learn solid basics and build from there.  I chose these specifically because they have sterling reviews on Amazon:

Sew Everything Workshop: The Complete Step-by-Step Beginner's Guide with 25 Fabulous Original Designs, Including 10 Patterns

How to Use, Adapt, and Design Sewing Patterns: From store-bought patterns to drafting your own: a complete guide to fashion sewing with confidence

The Sewing Book

Sew What! Skirts: 16 Simple Styles You Can Make with Fabulous Fabrics

My goal is not to be just dependent on store-bought patterns, but to first learn to make some perfectly fitted basics and then play around with design elements as I figure them out.  This was how I taught myself to knit (post), and it'd worked out well for me.  I really enjoy the freedom of being able to create what I want to, to the specific measurements that I need, without having to follow patterns blindly and hope that it turns out right.

I'm also considering investing in a serger, which finishes raw edges and is a must for professional-looking clothes (or so I've been told).  I've read nothing but good reviews for the Brother 1034D Serger which is relatively affordable as far as these machines go.

Brother 1034D 3/4 Lay-In Thread Serger

There's a big sale at Joann's this weekend and I have an extra 10% off entire purchase coupon, so I'm planning to pick up basic sewing tools/notions and some fabric to play with.  And what do you know, I already have a petite dressform that's exactly my size!

All in all, I'm really excited to dive in and start learning!  I know there's going to be lots of disappointments and failed projects ahead of me but I think it's so worth it if I actually do become proficient at this.

P.S. A special thanks to Kerry (aka "feldmanTcat" on AN Forum) who was gracious enough to offer me lots of great advice on how to get started!


  1. Good luck! I'd love to learn to sew one day. I can't wait to see your future projects =)

  2. This is so inspiring! I don't have the time to cut out patterns from the sketch and sew. Looking forward to seeing your creations :).

  3. Happy 4th to you too!!

    How fun! My sister took sewing classes at a city college, and she learned so much and it's so useful!

    I don't sew, but I love Joann's it's so fun to browse and look at all the knickknacks!

  4. Good luck! Hopefully you'll have such unbelievable success that you'll inspire me to dust my little sewing machine off and finally learn how to sew a straight hem. =)

  5. good luck! :D my little hands and some needle and thread don't get by as well as they used to. this is one practical skill i'll definitely want to pick up in the future. show us the fruits of your labours :) !

  6. I have a sewing machine that an ex bought for me...haha I know random! i haven't used it yet. maybe i should cut up some old tshirts and see what i can do. i can't wait to see what you come up with though!

  7. Good luck! Seems like you have all the elements to start your first sewing project! =) Can't wait to see your results!

  8. Wow you are so ambitious! Good luck on your endeavor. Look forward to seeing the outcome. Happy 4th of July.

  9. Good luck with your sewing endeavors! :) I've taught myself how to sew since I was little but I *still* haven't tried using patterns to sew clothes from scratch. I've only done alterations (hemming jeans) and pillowcases.

    The only thing that stops me from trying to make my own clothes is the quality of fabrics at Joann's. I'm very much into knits and T's and good quality jersey is difficult to find :(

    Anyway I digress. I've been thinking of buying a serger as well and I'm excited to see what you come up with! :D

  10. Good luck! I also want to learn how to sew, please share more!! Maybe I will start a new hobby too.

  11. Sewing is fantastic! It makes you feel empowered. I do ALOT of alterations myself-- both hems as well as taking in sides etc.... I would recommend "Altering Women's Ready-to-Wear" for alterations to existing clothing and "Fit for Real People" for alterations to patterns. They don't have nice photographs etc... but are really practical and useful. Also, just as a warning, I own "Sew Everything Workshop" and tried making a pencil skirt from it and it turned out far too big. (I'm a size 27 waist). Pamela's Patterns' DVDs (e.g. the perfect t-shirt) also contain great tips for alterations-- especially for petite adjustment around the shoulders (shortening the armhole/sleeve basically) and taking in the sides of a tshirt.

  12. Thanks everyone for the encouragement... I definitely need all the luck I can get to pull this off! Hopefully going public with this endeavor will keep me honest and not throw in the towel too soon like I always did before.

    ellandish - I think I know what you mean about Joann's, but unfortunately I think it's my only option (that I know of right now).

    leighcia - Thanks for the book recommendations and the warning about skirt! I find that reviews from real people are so much more enlightening than stock photos and such (why I love for knitting).

  13. Hats off to you for being so ambitious! I wish I had the guts! I can't wait to see your progress! I am sure you will do an awesome job!!! :)

  14. thank you! :) i take my pictures outside my apartment on a weird ramp thing leading down to the street below. I like how the walls look and they're nice clean backgrounds to use. Unfortunately bright sunlight makes the photos really dark too so I have to brighten them.

    Yeah, usually our cameras find us and focus. I probably shouldn't take pics on macro mode if I'm 10 feet away xD

  15. This is fantastic!! Best of luck and I can't wait to see what you come up with! All I can do is sew up holes in my clothes. LOL.

    btw-thank you for your advice re: the bag, it's a return :)

  16. fu fu fu thank you! ooo i forgot to put my eyeliner on the list haha thanks for reminding me.

    lining eyes is easy after a lot of practice. hmm perhaps i should make a video tutorial for that? :D


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