Sew, What's Up

Sew What’s Up Presents

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: PaulineG
Date: 06-26-2007, 07:14 PM (1 of 25)
How would you rate your skills?

So if 0 is never touched a sewing machine and 1 is knowing how to thread it but not much else and Pam (sorry for the pressure Pam) is a 10 - then where are you on the scale (from 1-10)? Feel free to change the scale if you need to account for subleties (or even use fractions/decimals).

And what is the skill that will take you to the next level?

I'm thinking I'm nearly at a 4 but there are so many things to learn (or perfect anyway) that it's hard to choose. Good buttonholes (as opposed to lousy ones) maybe or putting in a zipper to a complete garment (not at the early stages when it's still just a couple of pieces of fabric).
User: PaulineG
Member since: 09-08-2006
Total posts: 901
From: MotherInLaw
Date: 06-26-2007, 10:51 PM (2 of 25)
Pauline I'm at different stages in different catagories. I know a little about crocheting, a little about knitting, a little more about sewing and a lot about machine emboridery, a little about embroidery by hand, a little about quilting so if I had to rate myself in each category it would have to go something like this.

Machine Embroidery 8 - 9
Garment sewing 6
crocheting 4
Knitting 3
quilting 4 going on 5
Hand embroidery 5

Now I"m not very good at picking out colors to match each other, but I'm very good at combining designs and operating computer software for sewing and learning different machines. I'm not very creative but if I see something I can make it usually.
I'm regressing back into my youth, I just have to figure out how I'm going to convience my body to come along with me.
User: MotherInLaw
Member since: 06-25-2005
Total posts: 1118
From: DorothyL
Date: 06-27-2007, 12:05 AM (3 of 25)
I've been making most or all of my own clothes for at least 10 years and a lot of my clothes and a lot for my girls for even longer.
I used to do some really complicated suits and such but now find I am most comfortable and usually wear just a few easy patterns -- so that is most of what I make.
I embellish a lot.
I'd rate myself a 5 or a 6 I think.
Someone else might rate me lower or higher.
This is a tough question.
User: DorothyL
Member since: 12-09-2002
Total posts: 3883
From: grandma C
Date: 06-27-2007, 02:14 AM (4 of 25)
I'm a two or three in skill but a 5 on guts to try anything once. I'm a one in machine embroidery.
I hope to be a 8 9 or even a 10+ by the time I get to the stage in my life that I can't sew, like so many of my new heroes here on this forum
User: grandma C
Member since: 01-15-2007
Total posts: 263
From: PaulineG
Date: 06-27-2007, 03:26 AM (5 of 25)
I'd edit again Belinda. It could be read as your heroes now being unable to sew.:shock: :bg: I'm sure you just meant that they are really skilled and that's also your aspiration. Sorry - couldn't help myself there.

Dorothy - please rate yourself higher. Knowing what you're up for I'm quite sure it's more than that.

Nobodys mentioned what the next thing they'd like to master is.
User: PaulineG
Member since: 09-08-2006
Total posts: 901
From: Mom of Six
Date: 06-27-2007, 07:27 AM (6 of 25)
Machine Embroidery0
Hand Embroidery 7
Garment sewing for others 9
Garment sewing for myself 8
crocheting 2
Knitting 0
quilting 4
Hand sewing (hemming, etc.) 6
I would like to get better at fitting patterns to myself.
I really have no interest in knitting or machine embroidery. I would ike to do better at quilting but I get bored with it before I can finish enough blocks for a quilt.
I do as much sewing as I can on my serger & machine. I avoid hand sewing as much as possible.
Now that my DGDs have arrived I hope to do more embroidery & smocking.
Happiness is having time to sew!!
User: Mom of Six
Member since: 11-03-2001
Total posts: 1115
From: paroper
Date: 06-27-2007, 09:20 AM (7 of 25)
Crochet 5
Knitting 5
Quilting 2 (haven't learned to enjoy)
Hand embroidery 4 Cross stitch 8
Sewing ?

I think I am ADHD. When I sew, I have to finish NOW...I don't mind sitting and knitting or doing crochet, but when it comes to sewing...I have to finish. That is one of the factors that comes into play when I think about quilting!!!! If I spread a project out over serveral days, I don't want to finish it at all. On the average, I can make a dress in 2-3 (sometimes 4) hours...I just can't stand having something waiting to be finished! If I am making a series of the same garment, I shave time off each one I make. I HATE TO CUT OUT!!!!!!

Bernina 200e, Artista V5 Designer Plus, Explorations, Magic Box, Bernina 2000DE & 335 Bernette Serger, Bernina 1530 Sewing Machine, Bernina 1300 DC Overlock (with coverstitch)
User: paroper
Member since: 02-03-2004
Total posts: 3775
From: DorothyL
Date: 06-27-2007, 09:51 AM (8 of 25)
Oh, we are doing the other stuff too--
I'm really good at cross stitch and needlepoint -- I'd say an 8 if I could see it but I've just about given up because of the eye strain.
I'm learning to knit -- about a 3 but I'm learning fast.
I don't quilt.
User: DorothyL
Member since: 12-09-2002
Total posts: 3883
From: Magot
Date: 06-27-2007, 02:28 PM (9 of 25)
....just make strange non-quilty things 'eh Dorothy -

I would rate you far higher than a 4!

Machine Embroidery0
Hand Embroidery 7
Garment sewing for others 6
Garment sewing for myself 4
crocheting 0
Knitting 8
quilting 4

really can't cope with crochet - managed a cell or 2, gave up. Enjoy hand embroidery - mostly because of the freedom to just go where you want - lack of that freedom is what puts me off machine embroidery - that and the machines cost

I take more care sewing for others than I do for myself so I thinkit works better - this is a fitting thing - I obviously need a better body double.

I Knit. Many and varied things. I will have a go at anything.

Quilting - is a journey - I love the design and colour choosing and so on - and I am getting there with the mechanics of putting it all together.

but, boy - I can Knit!
love and kisses, Jan
Cells a Speciality
DNA to order.
User: Magot
Member since: 12-22-2002
Total posts: 3626
From: jenny-o
Date: 06-27-2007, 03:45 PM (10 of 25)
Depends on the project I'm doing, sometimes I sew something that I think is going to be really challenging and it turns out perfect so I get really cocky and think I'm an 8 or 9, but occasionally I sew something that should be relatively simple and it doesn't turn out quite so great and I feel like a 6.
Quilting I love because there is no fitting, 8 or 9 would be good but my free motion quilting is iffy on big quilts.
Knitting 1, crochet 0 but really want to learn (I've inherited my grandmother's hooks and needles - she was amazing so hopefully I inherited her genes for that too).
Machine embroidery - I wanted a machine that could do embroidery but have never actually embroidered anything in 5 years so I guess that would be a big 0.
User: jenny-o
Member since: 08-28-2005
Total posts: 132
From: lendube
Date: 06-27-2007, 08:33 PM (11 of 25)
Machine Embroidery- 4 (adequate but still so much too learn)

Hand Embroidery- 0 (if you mean free-style)

Cross-stitch, counted or printed- 8 (but seldom do it anymore)

Garment sewing for others- 5 (don't do much of that unless you count dogs....:cool: If you do then an 8 or so.)

Garment sewing for myself- 4 (and learning every day)

Crocheting- 3 (Basic stitches, basic projects.)

Knitting- 4 (Sporatic for many, many years but I seldom finish a project and haven't progressed past basic.)

Quilting- 2 (I can piece a simple project and it comes out straight but can't say I've got the bug.)

As far as taking me to the next level ~ I'll just answer for the sewing so I don't bore to tears. If I could learn to fit my own body well and feel confident about my work consistantly I'd give myself a boost in rating. :bg:

User: lendube
Member since: 08-06-2006
Total posts: 1548
From: blackie
Date: 06-27-2007, 09:46 PM (12 of 25)
General machine technique: 8, I am very comfortable on it.
Fit and alteration: 1, because I've tried very little.
Layout and cutting: 10! I am fast and good with my rotary.
Machine embroidery: 0 - never tried.
Hand Embroidery: -12, I am scared and I hate it! I'd like to learn though.
Garment sewing for others: 8, but I have only accepted appropriate challenges.
Garment sewing for myself: 4
Crocheting: 0, never tried!
Knitting: 8
Quilting: 6
The body I'm sewing for: 10! ;-)

"The next level" - I have decided to love my body and learn to sew for it. It isn't that my waist is too big, it's that standard patterns tend to run small for my waist. Etc. In terms of skills, this means doing a body graph and starting to tissue fit.

And as I've mentioned my husband recently bought me FFRP and this book as inspired me to not only tackle abovementioned skills, but change my attitude about my body.
see the mundane life of a housewife.
User: blackie
Member since: 03-31-2004
Total posts: 594
From: mozeyrn
Date: 06-28-2007, 12:22 AM (13 of 25)
I know what a sewing machine is, can thread it & can do REALLY SIMPLE outfits (mainly for my dd). I can put together a tote bag pretty fast. Some stuff has even made it out of the house!
I enjoy sewing but my sewing skills are really basic (maybe it's just a lack of confidence, or free time). I feel so defeated when I try to put something together but either my pattern pieces don't fit on the fabric, the directions aren't understandable or I start too late at night & of course make all kinds of mistakes.
If Dorothy is a 4 and threading your machine is a 2, then maybe I'm a 2.4 (on a good day).
I've crocheted a couple of blankets - switched colors and went back and forth between single and double crochet. They look pretty cool.
Knitting - I couldn't even do the kit made for a 6-year old!
- Maureen.
Learning something new with every stitch!!
Kenmore 16231000
User: mozeyrn
Member since: 11-29-2005
Total posts: 349
From: PaulineG
Date: 06-28-2007, 03:11 AM (14 of 25)
Dorothy is so NOT a 4. I've seen too many photos to believe that. Added to which I don't want to believe it - it would make me a .04 or something. Not that I'm hung up on this. I feel like I'm learning more all the time. Hanging out with these guys has to have some benefit after all. :bg:

We are often our own worst critics.
User: PaulineG
Member since: 09-08-2006
Total posts: 901
From: DorothyL
Date: 06-28-2007, 08:15 AM (15 of 25)
OK --
But with Pam as the gold standard at 10 I can only claim 5.
Half the time I just make stuff up as I go along.
And, face it Pauline, I don't show photos of most of the regular old everyday clothes I make with super simple patterns.
User: DorothyL
Member since: 12-09-2002
Total posts: 3883
From: paroper
Date: 06-28-2007, 09:12 AM (16 of 25)
Dorothy! I don't know how you can say that. We all pretty much make it up as we go along. Our abilities is directly a result of the number of things we have sewn, not so the difficulty. While you may learn a new process occasionally, using a sewing machine often contributes more to your actual skill. Even someone with little "book knowledge" can be a wonderful seamstress. It isn't WHAT you make or what fabrics you use, or even what type of pattern. It is end result. The more you sew, the better you get. I remember after working odd hours for 15 years and only sewing on occasion how long it took to get my skills back. It is like playing an instrument. You may know a lot but if you haven't sewn in a while, try to get that seams straight or even cut a straight line can be a challenge. The knowledge also "rusts" during that time. Little things that you used to take for granted? It takes a while. It isn't what you sew, when you sew, it is when you start to take pride in the outcome. If you are making a pillow case, or a dish towel? Make it best dish towel or pillow case that anyone has ever made...when you take it off the machine and can say proudly, "I DID that!" Then you are a getting there!!

Dorothy, you know you are a 9 or a 10!

Bernina 200e, Artista V5 Designer Plus, Explorations, Magic Box, Bernina 2000DE & 335 Bernette Serger, Bernina 1530 Sewing Machine, Bernina 1300 DC Overlock (with coverstitch)
User: paroper
Member since: 02-03-2004
Total posts: 3775
From: plrlegal
Date: 06-28-2007, 09:45 AM (17 of 25)
Self evaluation is always hard for me. I sew, crochet, knit (sometimes), cross-stitch (haven't for quite a while), hand embroider, machine embroider and quilt but I don't think about how good I am at it when I'm doing it. I just enjoy the process of doing whatever i'm working on and most often learn something new or a faster or shorter way to do certain things each time. I'm much better at garment sewing and crocheting than I am at quilting or knitting but can do quilting and knitting proficiently for the project I start. My dh accuses me of being a perfectionist but I know that I will never in this lifetime be perfect at anything nor do I want to be. To be perfect means you've stopped learning and growing.

User: plrlegal
Member since: 05-19-2001
Total posts: 318
From: DorothyL
Date: 06-28-2007, 10:23 AM (18 of 25)
Ah shucks, Pam!:re:

You wouldn't say that if you'd seen me arguing with those zippers last week.:bang:

I stick with 5 -- case closed. Gives me more to strive for.
User: DorothyL
Member since: 12-09-2002
Total posts: 3883
From: SandyGirl
Date: 06-28-2007, 10:27 AM (19 of 25)
Machine Embroidery 7 : I am proficient in the software usage. I dont' digitize nor care to. I only do stitch-outs that take less than an hour...can't stand the "waiting"
Hand Embroidery 3: I am pathetic!! I am not consistent in my stitch lengths...find this kind of boring too.
Garment sewing for others 0: I don't/won't do for them
Garment sewing for myself 3: Been so long that I have sewn a thing to wear but feel that I "could", maybe
crocheting 2: I know the basics, no sweaters tho!
Knitting 2:
same as crochet
7: machine piecer. I plan to send my future masterpieces to the long-arm ladies! I HATE stitch in the ditch (boring!) and my free-motion? forgetaboutit!!

Hand sewing (hemming, etc.) 4: I don't mind handstitching the binding. Hate hemming, buttons, etc.
User: SandyGirl
Member since: 09-16-2005
Total posts: 97
From: MartySews2
Date: 06-28-2007, 03:22 PM (20 of 25)
It's hard for me to rate my skills as I am my own worst critic. I do know that my hand embroidery skills are better as I do almost as many as my machine embroidery projects. It relaxes me and I love teaching the skills. I love garment sewing and have made some beautiful garments in the past. However, I don't sew every day and sometimes go months without touching my machines because of health issues. When I do get back to my machines, I take my time to really do a good job for a professional look. I collect sewing books and read constantly to learn how to do it "right". I just need more practice. I know the basics of knitting and crochet but have not completed any projects in years. Sewing videos and DVD's help a lot to improve my skills. Fitting myself is a challenge like it is for many others. However, with patience, one can achieve a well fitted garment. Again, it takes practice. My new challenge is to hand draft my own patterns to create the styles I love. There are so many aspects to sewing, it is impossible to decide which skills I excel and which ones need more help. Overall, I would rate myself as an average seamstress.
User: MartySews2
Member since: 05-03-2007
Total posts: 293
From: toadusew
Date: 06-29-2007, 08:07 AM (21 of 25)
It's kind of hard for me to rate my sewing skills as well. I think that all of us sew are our own worst critics anyway. Even though nobody else may be able to see that crooked seam or less than perfect serging or whatever other problem may have happened during construction, we seamstresses know it's there and it may bother us. Other folks will just see the finished project and think it's wonderful!

I agree with Pam; it's taking pride in the outcome of the sewn project and continuing to practice those skills. We need another excuse to visit fabric stores and spend more time at our sewing machines, don't we?:wink: :bg:
User: toadusew
Member since: 01-08-2005
Total posts: 369
From: daff55odil
Date: 06-29-2007, 03:59 PM (22 of 25)
Machine Embroidery0
Hand Embroidery 1
Garment alterations for others 10
Garment alterations for myself 7
crocheting 2
Knitting 8
quilting 0
Hand sewing (hemming, etc.) 9 :up:
User: daff55odil
Member since: 05-15-2006
Total posts: 18
From: keljo60
Date: 06-29-2007, 07:14 PM (23 of 25)
Machine Embroidery- 0 (Never tried it)

Hand Embroidery- 2.5 (Did it a little bit years ago)

Cross-stitch, counted or printed- 8 (but seldom do it anymore because it's gotten harder to see those little squares!)

Garment sewing for others- 5 (Try not to do that much)

Garment sewing for myself- 6 (and learning every day)

Crocheting- 3 (Basic stitches, basic projects.)

Knitting- 2 (Basic stitch)

Quilting- 3 (The piecing would be easy, it's the actual quilting process I can't do well)

My next goal is to be able to fit my body the way it is now.

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: mommydionne
Date: 06-29-2007, 07:54 PM (24 of 25)
hmmmm.... this is tough

garment sewing I think I'm an 8,
fitting 7-8
home dec 5
knitting 3
crochet 5
machine embroidery 2.5
hand embroidery 5
cross stitch 3
quilting 3.5 (I like the design aspect but find it tedious)

I'm like pam too I like to get stuff done now!!! I have been known to cut out a dress and have it ready to go that evening.

Oh... and Dorothy you are definately and 8 and up too.
User: mommydionne
Member since: 01-08-2004
Total posts: 838
From: material_pakrat
Date: 07-05-2007, 11:58 AM (25 of 25)
You take a week off this board and miss all of this fun! But now I think I will need another week off to consider this question.

I guess it would be easier to start in the order that I learnt things.

knitting 8 - but I still absolutley hate to sew garments up, which is why I haven't done much for a while. That's why I love circular knitting.
crochet 2 -can do the basic, but it never really grabbed me.
cross stitch 8 - love it but dont do much anymore. Got sick of giving them all away.
garment sewing FROM A PATTERN WITHOUT ALTERATIONS 6 And I mean a basic pattern, what they call "average" sewing level
garment alterations - 4 But slowly getting there
fitting 3 Learning more every day, and have now got a body double to help
home dec - dolls, cushions, curtains, doona covers - 4. I will see what I know in another 4 months when I have to do them for the new house.

hand embroidery 5 - but I am not really into it.

quilting I would like to say a 5, but in reality I would be about a 3. I have only been doing it for a year or so, and still have so much to learn. I think the inflated ego comes from being able to get a project that looks great, but in reality it is a very basic squares design that plays with colour. But if it fools everone else into thinking I am good, I dont mind.:dave:

machine embroidery 0 - never tried it.

The thing I want to learn the most at the moment is more about fitting clothes for me. I'm plus sized, tall, and my sway back is getting worse every year. Getting off my butt will correct the plus size, but I am stuck with the back. I am sick of wearing tracksuits and potato sacks, so I AM going to learn to fit ME.

Pauline - I am about to start on a jacket, and the fitted waist pants form the patterns you gave me. And I think I will try and line them too. Will post pics when I am done (or undone mentally!)
Cheers, Soph.

I'm happiest when I am sewing!
User: material_pakrat
Member since: 12-13-2006
Total posts: 220
Sew, What's Up
Search the “Sew What’s New” Archive:
Visit Sew What’s Up for the latest sewing and quilting tips and discussions.
This page was originally located on Sew What’s New ( at