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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: MaryW
Date: 06-05-2007, 09:03 AM (1 of 12)
When I first taught myself to sew, I made loads of shorts for my kids. They didn't mind my crooked hems or odd fabric choices.

This is a good way to learn the basics of pattern reading and sewing. Anyone else have suggestions for those starting out or returning to the sewing room.
owner/editor of Sew Whats New
User: MaryW
Member since: 06-23-2005
Total posts: 2542
From: DorothyL
Date: 06-05-2007, 09:28 AM (2 of 12)
I agree, start with basic designs and fabric that is easy to work with. But you might want to try some new technique with each item so you learn a little with each piece. I still try to do that.
User: DorothyL
Member since: 12-09-2002
Total posts: 3883
From: MaryW
Date: 06-05-2007, 09:29 AM (3 of 12)
Me too. Lately it's been pockets.
owner/editor of Sew Whats New
User: MaryW
Member since: 06-23-2005
Total posts: 2542
From: plrlegal
Date: 06-05-2007, 05:13 PM (4 of 12)
I'm currently working with knits making pajamas as I'm having back surgery June 21st. I've always hated working with knits but with my 2056, it a dream sewing them now.

User: plrlegal
Member since: 05-19-2001
Total posts: 318
From: Pudge99
Date: 06-05-2007, 05:31 PM (5 of 12)
Start with simple projects and find a mentor. You really need someone who can show you how to do things. Most sewing books and patterns assume that you have some basic sewing knowledge even the beginner ones.
I started sewing in childhood but really perfected my skills, like Mary, on clothes for my kids. It is much easier to learn techniques on the smaller scale. Plus it happens to be a bit cheaper when you have to chuck it all and buy new fabric.
Pictures of my successes and failures
Pfaff 2040
Janome Mylock 134D
Singer Futura CE-100 w/ Autopunch
Husqvarna Viking 3D Sketch
User: Pudge99
Member since: 10-30-2001
Total posts: 1375
From: Addicted2Sewing
Date: 06-05-2007, 06:34 PM (6 of 12)
I just finished a shorts outfit for my 5 year old. It was a halter top (sort of like how a pillowcase dress is made) and a pair of shorts. The pattern is McCalls 5419. Very easy to read, and no lining or facings required. I also made a pair of knee shorts, using bandana's. This was also very simple as no hemming is required.

Another easy project is a dress I made for my 3 year old. I used the already shirred fabric, had a cute border on the bottom. Just sew up the back, add ribbon for ties and you have a very cute and cool sundress.

I have several of the E-books from and most of those are simple and easy to do. I still don't know a whole lot on reading patterns, so I use the E-books because they explain everything so much better. These are great for beginners as well because of the step by step easy to follow instructions.

I have only used cotton fabrics. I'm a little nervous about using other types. Which I think cottons are great to use during spring and summer months. I'm sure when winter comes along, I will start working with much thicker fabrics.

Well it's back to sewing a little more. Trying to get a few things done before our trip to Hot Springs, Ark. next week. So many things to do and not enough time. I'm always waiting til the last minute lol.
User: Addicted2Sewing
Member since: 02-01-2007
Total posts: 133
From: EmaCon
Date: 06-13-2007, 10:59 AM (7 of 12)
I made loose things at the beginning so I didn't have to worry so much about fit.

I started sewing seriously when I was first pregnant. Maternity clothes were very expensive and I didn't think it was worth the outlay for such a short period of time. I made drawstring pants, loose tops and lots of jumpers with ties in the back that I could adjust as I progressed through the pregnancy. I made just about everything from woven cottons.
I also made nightgowns for myself and a long caftan for my husband all out of woven cottons. We've been married 27 years and he still wears it. He just asked me to make him another one.

I practised sewing patch pockets, side seam pockets, bias neck binding, front bands without buttons, narrow hems, topstitching and edgestitching all on items that I never had to wear out of the house.
User: EmaCon
Member since: 07-28-2006
Total posts: 67
From: Bama
Date: 06-13-2007, 09:34 PM (8 of 12)
For those learning to sew I would suggest patterns labeled "easy", "1 hour", "2 hour", etc. I still like using those when I want to make something quick.
I also still love making simple skirts with elastic waistbands. :up:
User: Bama
Member since: 03-21-2000
Total posts: 2116
From: michel
Date: 06-20-2007, 01:53 PM (9 of 12)
This thread has said it all for me! I will be trying this out and make some skirts for my daughters. Thank you!
User: michel
Member since: 05-14-2007
Total posts: 10
From: mommydionne
Date: 06-20-2007, 07:38 PM (10 of 12)
Joelle (my 8 year old) and I just made her 1st skirt, just a simple elastic waist and we hemmed it with the twin needle she thought that was pretty cool! Lots of help and I'm glad my machine has a 1/2 speed button!!
User: mommydionne
Member since: 01-08-2004
Total posts: 838
From: mozeyrn
Date: 06-20-2007, 11:50 PM (11 of 12)
I, too, started out making an elastic waistband skirt (part of a Minnie Mouse halloween outfit). I branched out to sewing some of my 4-year old dd outfits.
I just tackled a pleated shirt with contrasting pants that she has actually worn out of the house. I am finishing up a full front apron that has given me more headaches than anything else (most operator error though :whacky: - lots of pleating; adding pockets have gotten easier with the Sewing for Dummies book).
I find having a couple of different books on sewing helps - you can see more than one way of doing something. The Sewing for Dummies had a great section of pockets but another book describes an easier way to put in zippers.
I've been gone for a while.....a friend needing a dress taken in is what got me back to the sewing machine.
- Maureen.
Learning something new with every stitch!!
Kenmore 16231000
User: mozeyrn
Member since: 11-29-2005
Total posts: 349
From: LeapFrog Libby
Date: 06-22-2007, 05:17 PM (12 of 12)
I just finished our Shepherds Ctr Classes (summer session) only 3 Thursdays in this session.. In quilting class, we did paper piecing.. For the test square we finished it into a coaster.. Then we made a test one of 4 squares sewn together.. I am so proud of how mine turned out.. I did the flower in shades of lavender and the background was wow.. After I put it together with batt and backing, I stitched along the flower shape (or bud shape, its has 3 points) for the quilting part.. I used a foot I had never used before. I have been totally overlooking it, for all these years.. It has a groove that you guide along either your seam or your edge and it stitches on the very edge.. (not in the ditch, up on the edge).. I call it the edge stitch foot.. I cannot tell you how good it looks.. I am so proud of my discovery... Now you can all laugh, I don't mind.. I could have been doing beautiful finishing with this foot , but better late than never, I always say... I made another coaster of my main color scheme just so.. Can you tell I'm pleased with my discovery..
Sew With Love
User: LeapFrog Libby
Member since: 05-01-2002
Total posts: 2022
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