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The Sew What’s New Archive

This archived content is from Mary Wilkins’ sewing and quilting message board “Sew What’s New,” which was retired in August 2007. It is being provided by “Sew What’s Up,” which serves as the new home for many members of “Sew What’s New.”
From: ljboals
Date: 08-03-2006, 11:34 AM (1 of 9)
Hi all! I am Lindsey and am 23 years old. I have two daughters ages 3 and 1(almost 2). I really want to learn how to sew, but I have no idea about anything about sewing. I have never taked a home-ec class or anything, and don't even know how to sew a button on. :nervous: I called about a sewing class in my area but it is filled up. I want to learn like NOW, lol. Does anyone have any suggestions as to how I can learn, maybe without taking a sewing class??
User: ljboals
Member since: 07-14-2006
Total posts: 1
From: stephi
Date: 08-03-2006, 12:30 PM (2 of 9)
Hi Lindsey! Welcome to our happy group of sewers. I say sewing only takes a little determination and alot of patients. I was sewing for a year before I took a formal sewing lesson. So my suggestion would be to get you a simple user friendly sewing machine, Mine is a kenmore and has about 10 different stiches on it. It is very beginer friendly, and I have found that the instruction manual is user freindly too. Find your self an easy first pattern..Like an easy tote, or simple sundress for one of your D's. Before you even do a pattern just play with the different stitches and folding and stitching to see how they come out when you flip your material (you do alot of flipping with sewing). Attack your simple pattern knowing you just may make some mistakes. You wouldnt be human if you didnt!! ASK alot of questions here, we are all very friendly and very willing to help, and theres no such thing as a stupid question. Hope this helps and please anyone feel free to add or yell at me if you think I am wrong, LOL, yeah right me wrong....HA :wink:

Oh yeah you may still want to get into a class just to get your basics established infront of someone who knows.

"No body knows what it is that I do until I dont do it"

"if you do what you have always done you will get what you have always gotten"
User: stephi
Member since: 03-17-2006
Total posts: 361
From: plrlegal
Date: 08-03-2006, 02:57 PM (3 of 9)
Lindsey take a look at this site right here on Sew-Whats-New. Julie probably gives the most comprehensive instructions of anyone I've seen so far

Also try:

These sites might get you started until you can get into a local sewing class.

User: plrlegal
Member since: 05-19-2001
Total posts: 318
From: johnmouse
Date: 08-05-2006, 08:57 AM (4 of 9)
Hi Lindsey & welcome;

I just started sewing this summer. I did know how to sew a button though LOL. I still sew buttons on by hand. I wouldn't bother with sewing buttons by machine. By the time you've got the machine set up, etc., you chould have hand-sewn half the buttons on!

Like Patsy said, use the sewing lessons on this site. Julie really takes a lot of the mystery out of sewing instructions. Even if you don't use the exact pattern, you can easily adapt her instructions. Check out the Sewing for Dummies patterns too. I learned to crochet using the Crocheting for Dummies book.

Get some scrap material (yard/rummage sales are good for this, or sometimes you can buy remnants cheaply) and start using your machine (I'm assuming you have one). Stay away from knits (stretchy kind of material) and heavy materials to start off. Practice some straight stitching. Get out the machine manual and practice all the stitches and buttonhole/zippers it describes.

Easiest thing to make is run-of-the-mill curtains, which is what my first project was. All straight stitching. Oh, I didn't use a published pattern. Just made it up (I used regular paper as a mock-up, folding and marking all folds, stitching lines, and hems).

Next easiest thing were boxer shorts. I made two pair and they look store bought. Then robes and PJ's. I've gone on to shirts, but they're far more difficult.

When you find a pattern you like, read them through several times before you start! Make little notes and draw pictures for yourself to clarify things. Yeah, I learned this the hard way.

And of course, these message boards are great. I've had a lot of my questions answered right here. Being a man, I generally don't stop to ask directions LOL!

User: johnmouse
Member since: 06-23-2006
Total posts: 22
From: esrun3
Date: 08-06-2006, 02:28 PM (5 of 9)
Welcome Lindsey, you'll find lots of great info here from everyone. Start with the easy stuff-pillow, pillowcase, elastic waist shorts, etc before moving onto more involved items. Practice, practice, practice and don't give up!! Be sure to remember to take a break too! Glad to have you aboard.
User: esrun3
Member since: 12-02-2004
Total posts: 2345
From: blackie
Date: 08-06-2006, 03:15 PM (6 of 9)
Hi Lindsay and welcome!

I worked hard on some class notes that you are welcome to if you find them helpful. You can download them here:

[ link ] (

Finding a "sewing mentor" is one of the smartest things you can do. Surely there are other women like me who would love to help you along, in person! Don't forget though that sewing is a craft and not everyone is willing to give their expertise away for free (sadly, some of those who've been asked too often are kinda crabby). Proceed with caution but do try to get help! It is a lot more fun and a lot less frustrating when you have someone who can guide you through the sticky spots.
see the mundane life of a housewife.
User: blackie
Member since: 03-31-2004
Total posts: 594
From: bridesmom
Date: 08-06-2006, 07:41 PM (7 of 9)
Welcome Lindsay. Remember we all started at the beginning and I bet most of us just learned as we went. Welcome to one of the most satisfying hobbies ever! And to the best group of people on line!!
Tickled pink with my Innovis 4000D
User: bridesmom
Member since: 01-21-2004
Total posts: 2026
From: keljo60
Date: 08-06-2006, 10:20 PM (8 of 9)
Hey Lindsey, where are you located?

Maybe one of us "experienced" sewers live close enough to you that we can get together for the really confusing stuff. I had the misfortune of having a mother who was a very good sewer, but wouldn't take the time to help me learn the tricks of the trade, she would tell me to "read the instructions and figure it out"! I took a couple of sewing classes in school and one in night school that taught me some good hints, but mostly I learned by trial and error. Even though I've been sewing for 35 years (sheesh! has it actually been that long!?), you'll see me still asking questions! Feel free to ask!

Do not meddle in the affairs of dragons, for you are crunchy and good with ketchup!
User: keljo60
Member since: 07-30-2006
Total posts: 154
From: blackie
Date: 08-07-2006, 04:43 PM (9 of 9)
I had the misfortune of having a mother who was a very good sewer, but wouldn't take the time to help me learn the tricks of the trade, she would tell me to "read the instructions and figure it out"!

Wow - that seems kinda harsh!

My mom and I struggled over sewing as a teen and it now gives her so much pride and joy that I sew. She sews even more than ever since A. she retired a few years ago, and B. we invoke one another's interests.

As I type this my 4 y.o. daughter is playing behind me - she's wearing a pair of overalls my mom made (out of my aunt's too-small jeans) with buttons and buttonholes I crafted.

Sorry to hijack the thread!
see the mundane life of a housewife.
User: blackie
Member since: 03-31-2004
Total posts: 594
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