Sewing: Day One

10 Jan


um, how do I put this….I believe I am sewing inept.

I’m not a person who is used to things being hard to learn. With the exception of math past Grade 10, I pick shit up quickly.

The Sewing Machine (henceforth to be named Lucifer) is my arch nemesis.

It took me forever to wind the fucking bobbin since the manual didn’t mention anything about holding tension so the thread didn’t wind everywhere BUT the bobbin. Then trying to figure out the threading on the easy threader, with movable parts that they don’t mention move!!!


Finally, I managed to get it to work, but for some reason, the bobbin thread kept disappearing-might I have it wound to tightly? How do I get it to sew properly? How long will it take me to learn the correct speed to run it at? How do you sew edges without being totally fucking paranoid about your fingers?!

I need to buy a few books. My reaction to difficulty is always “buy books.” However, since I doubt Mogo will lend me anymore money, I’ll have to wait awhile.

I’m totally excited though! For the brief time in Fabricville, I was overwhelmed! And I cannot wait to learn how to quilt!!!

So those of you who do sew-what is important for me to learn first? When I was teaching myself knitting/crochet, I knew I had to learn various stitches and techniques before I could do other things-but I have no baseline for knowing what that is in sewing. My mother sewed, but she was really talented, so any memories I do have are of stuff I know I can’t make yet.

14 Responses to “Sewing: Day One”

  1. Kathy January 10, 2008 at 8:44 am #

    I love browsing in fabric stores. Unfortunately, I haven’t sewn anything is over a decade. I think the last thing I made was a crop top, which could have been cute had I remembered I have breasts, and society generally likes them to be covered.

    Becoming slavishly addicted to Project Runway makes me want to start sewing again, even if I’m not so great with the proportions.

    I’m a “book learner,” too. Great for learning HTML or learning a new OS, not so great for crafty things. I’ve been trying to teach myself to knit for five years, and it isn’t working. I’m going to have to bite the bullet and take a class. Your fabric store probably offers a few classes, if you want some hands on learning.

  2. thordora January 10, 2008 at 8:57 am # is really helpful for knitting. I had someone show me the cast on, but other than that, I was able to get moving on my own. Go to any yarn store, and they can walk you through it. πŸ™‚

    I might look for classes. I think I’ll need to. πŸ™‚

  3. Netter January 10, 2008 at 10:10 am #

    Wish I could help you Thor. But, I’m currently stuck in sewing machine hell myself. Must find my manual.

  4. Jennifer January 10, 2008 at 10:21 am #

    Yeah…can’t help ya there. The last time I used mine, I broke it. If something needs to be sewed here, Glen does it, or I take it to a tailor. I did learn to sew in grade school, but there was much suckage.

  5. Caitlin January 10, 2008 at 11:32 am #

    I always hated fooling with bobbins.

    If you can’t find classes, you might want to seek out a StitchNBitch group. I know it’s supposed to be more for knitting/crocheting, but most of the women in mine do a fair amount of sewing and don’t mind answering questions. I didn’t watch any tv when I was in Hamilton, so I have no idea if Canada has an equivalent to PBS, but PBS used to run a few sewing shows. My grandmother was great at sewing, and watched those to learn new techniques. Perhaps they might run a beginner sewing show or you can find webcasts of one.

    Other than that, you probably want to pick some simple projects to get started. When I was starting out, I did simple two sided blankets, beach bags, the preprinted cloth books, and simple clothing before getting to do the fun stuff, like stuff for Renaissance Faire. I usually check out the remnants, so I can try out new techniques. I usually ended up making doll clothes to try out new techniques and my friend’s daughter thought I was the coolest :P.

  6. Hannah January 10, 2008 at 2:41 pm #

    You see? I told you about the goddamn bobbins. I tried to warn you.

    Starting with square things is a good idea, though. Like cushions. The one thing I can still sew with some consistency is cushions. It’s a good way to learn how your machine works, and how to sew in a straight line.

    Also I’ll bet money that Fabricville has sewing classes, probably based around a specific project. Good luck! I look forward to future stories of hilarity. You know, because it’s happening to someone who’s not me.

  7. thordora January 10, 2008 at 2:59 pm #

    Fabricville is just up the street from me, so I will be harrassing them I do believe. πŸ™‚ Despite the fact taht they all seem to barely speak english! (My french is c’est terrible!)

  8. daisybones January 10, 2008 at 3:59 pm #

    You area braver woman than I. I’ve yet to even open the case on my machine:)

  9. Marcy January 10, 2008 at 4:50 pm #

    Unless your machine is weird, I don’t see how you could get your fingers under the needle. The presser foot would be in the way.

    May I suggest books from the library?

    I think the basics for sewing are like you’ve mentioned — how to do the stupid bobbins right (hold the threads when you first start sewing — otherwise they’ll slip out because of the tension — once you have a few stitches that’ll keep them in place), how to thread the needle, how to sew a straight line… practicing on scraps is a great idea, and so is making small things — I like baby clothes because they’re not so tiny the smallness becomes difficult, but they don’t waste much fabric if they don’t work out.

  10. nyjlm January 10, 2008 at 11:21 pm #

    I had a bitch of a time learning to thread my machine when i first got it. I kept thinking my bobbin thread was wrong, but it turned out to be the top thread. I found out that a private lesson in a small fabric store would only cost me $15-20 dollars; I brought my machine, some scrap fabric. She made sure I could thread it, wind a bobbin, change stitches, etc.

    I’ve mostly sewn crafty things, not much in the way of clothing (unless you count capes for kids!), but I am fairly fearless about trying new stuff, not necessarily following pattern instructions, etc. My mother does not sew, never has. My aunt and grandma (on my dad’s side) do sew, and I can call them when I get stuck (they live 1000 miles away)

    Just go for it! Have fun! Buy Bend the Rules Sewing! I also love Lotta Jansdotter’s Simple Sewing.

  11. allyo January 11, 2008 at 5:21 pm #

    Winding the bobbin on my machine consists of throwing the bobbin on, threading it, and going. So I can’t help you there. But the machine should feed the fabric on its own, you only need to guide it and your hands don’t need to be near the needle to do that. Although I can tell you from experience, sewing through the edge of your finger/nail doesn’t hurt THAT much and doesn’t even leave a mark once it’s healed. πŸ™‚

    Here, oftentimes the place the machine is purchased at offers lessons.

  12. radical mama January 11, 2008 at 6:01 pm #

    I am 100% sewing inept. I have tried to learn several times to know avail. But I am determined to make a quilt dammit! Someday…

  13. Nat January 12, 2008 at 1:25 pm #

    I wish I could help, but it’s on my life’s to-do list to figure it out too. hahaha A sewing machine is not my friend right now. I know less about sewing machines than I do about cars.

  14. thordora January 12, 2008 at 1:36 pm #

    I feel like I kinda do know what to do, but until I have a book next to me, I’m afraid to just run with it.

    Too busy at work to fiddle with it right now anyway. 😦 Soon though.

    I have the better part of a large garbage bag of clothing for your daughter btw….

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