Monday, August 29, 2011

'Sewing for beginners' class

Since starting my blog and especially in the last month since the Homestyle article I have had lots of lovely emails from people saying that they've been inspired to get into some crafting. Some people like me have not really sewn before and others used to sew as children/teenagers/pre kids but haven't done for a long time. So I thought I'd put together a little post with some tips and ideas for anyone wanting to either learn to sew or pick it up again after a long absence! As you may have read already even though I have always been a bit creative I only starting sewing a year and half ago. I didn't really enjoy sewing at high school- all the measuring, pinning, and fiddly little details just seemed too much for me- I remember making a jewellery roll that I think took us an entire term to make!
So as a self taught sewer I am very keen on projects that are quick and easy to create. I have an aversion to measuring and pinning ( I'm so not a fan of prep- just ask my hubby when we need to do some painting!) but I don't think it matters really for most of my projects- a 4 year old isn't going to analyse the actual sewing- they are just rapt you have made them something! And nothing I've made has fallen apart yet!
So the projects/tutorials I'm going to share here may not be exactly how a real sewer would do it ( I still think of myself as a beginner) but they will hopefully show you how to get started and create a few cute things. Any tips from all you sewers out there much appreciated!

As I've had quite a few people ask for some good beginner sewing projects here are my top 7 ideas- they are pretty much in the order that I actually did when I was learning how to sew, and are in order from what I think is the easiest to the still pretty easy but a few more skills involved!
  1. Pin cushion- click here for my tutorial
  2. Lavender sachet- click here for my tutorial
  3. Applique a store-bought body suit or t-shirt
  4. Softie- that's a crafty term for a soft toy for all you non crafters out there- I was wondering what all the references to softies were for a while there when I started reading blogs!
  5. Cushion cover
  6. Children's satchel bag
  7. Zip purse- trust me these are easy- zips are not to be feared- if I can sew one anyone can!
Two projects - the satchel bag and the zip purse are tutorials from other clever crafters- Cat from Cat Taylor Design and Heleen from Ruby in the Dust. 
I chose these 7 projects as if you complete all 7 projects you would have learned basic sewing tips like clipping corners, how to applique, some stitching skills for the softie, how to sew a zip and how to sew lining (it looks so flash but is really quite easy!) And you can then transfer your new skills to other projects- for example if you can make the children's satchel bag you will be able to make your own bag one day too.  And I just modified the tutorial for the satchel bag to make my christmas stockings as well.

About once a week I'll post a tutorial or a link to the tutorial I used for each project with photo's and tips for each one.  Would love to hear if you make something or if you have a question- you could comment, leave a link or email a pic or post one on my facebook page if you would like to (I love seeing pics!)

I also get asked a lot where I get my fabrics from.  When I started I went to a lot of op/thrift shops-they usually have fabric remnants, vintage sheets and I even bought some clothing just for the fabric- so this is a great cost effective option and it's fun too when you spot a great fabric!
The other places I can recommend buying fabric from (quick delivery, great service and gorgeous fabrics!) are
NZ online stores

Overseas fabric stores

I've also bought some fabric from my local sewing store Bernina and from Spotlight.  This is also where I get things like stuffing, zips and other sewing essentials.

On the web
And to get you all inspired--I think Prudent Baby is one of the best crafty websites for inspiring projects and ideas- just be warned you will be on there for hours! Check out the link to "Nap time Projects" and "Projects by Craft". So many wonderful projects for any level of craftiness!
There are also millions of fantastic craft blogs on the net- you can check out a few of them down the side of my blog. Again be warned, you'll click on one, then click a link to another, then all of a sudden two hours have gone by and you can't even work out how you ended up where you did but your head is bursting with awesome ideas and you will be feeling the need to make something!
Visiting "Our Creative Spaces" each Thursday is great for a weekly dose of inspiration too.
And here's a great Sewing 101 post from an amazing crafty mum.

Crafty books
Again, there's a zillion wonderful crafty books out there. These are the ones I read when I was first starting to get into crafting- they are fab!
The Crafty Minx: Creative Recycling and Handmade Treasures
The Crafty Minx by Kelly Doust
Meet Me at Mike's: 25 Fun and Crafty Projects
Meet Me at Mikes by Pip Lincolne
Softies cover
Handmade Home: Simple Ways to Repurpose Old Materials into New Family Treasures
Handmade Home by Amanda Blake Soule
Sewing in No Time
Sewing in no time by Emma Hardy

Do you remember at school really looking forward to Art and enjoying the creative process even if you weren't the most talented artist (like me). Well getting into crafting is a bit like that- you get to really look forward to making a start on a new project, you feel so fantastically amazing when you make something, your kids love it when they get something made by you,  you can make handmade gifts, and it's a really lovely process where you are in your own little world when crafting- two hours can go by and it feels like a few minutes if you are really enjoying it!

Hope that all helps you get started on your own crafty journey :)
Stay tuned for my (very basic) pin cushion tutorial soon...

Megan x
PS: Thanks so much for the tips on sterilising bottles and jars in my last post- it is so great being able to ask a question and get so many great answers and ideas!!


DeXaNiX said...

Ah! Such good timing, this post!. I have a table filled with fabric and sewing supplies and patterns but never really figured how to get started. But now with baby #2 on the way, I want to start making simple baby things and maybe one day some things for me :)
Oh, in your opinion is Moreland Fabrics (I'm in TGA too) really any cheaper? I love going in there but don't really think it's too much cheaper than other places?

Unknown said...

This is AWESOME! It seems I'm similar to you when it comes to sewing as my mantra is 'minimal effort for maximum results!' I will definately be following along and doing some of these projects.

Thanks for such a wealth of useful information.


Vanilla said...

That is a fantastic idea! I've been learning from the net since last year, when I first bought my sewing machine. It will be great to learn some new things! Thanks

Fay said...

Great post! I've been sewing for just over a year now but I still get intimidated by a lot of projects and I've still got so much more to learn. I also put way too much pressure on myself for whatever I sew to be 'perfect' and that often puts me off as well.

Katie said...

Fabulous post Megan - I'll definitely be playing along. I have all sorts of supplies including a sewing machine (which sadly doesn't seem to have a zipper foot!) and just need to get started in the basics!

Max said...

Ahh brilliant, count me in! I'm still a wee bit afraid of my sewing machine so some projects would be good, and I've just got some gorgous red apples fabric from sew pretty, perfect for a pin cushion!
Thanks for all the tips re books/blogs etc too, awesome x

Lesley said...

Good on you Megan - I often have to let go of my perfectionism so that I just get something finished! I am no expert either, just a sometimes-sewer over the years... but it's amazing how having kids makes you want to do more. I recently bought an overlocker (old, but good off Trade Me) to inspire me to make more - I love a neatly finished project even if it's not perfectly formed!

Ruby in the Dust said...

Yay, I look forward to sharing my tutorial with your readers! have a look at my tut for a t-shirt applique too if you like:

Rosie said...

Great post, Megan. Loads of good ideas & inspiration.

Susan said...

Megan, you are brilliant. Inspired idea. I always wish to get going and this may be what I need. So great to have a little round up of where to go for ideas and supplies too. Thank you. Any tips for getting motivated and finding the time also welcome! I'm not a night owl unfortunately.

Stitchbird said...

Thank you for the link! Also agree with your sentiments about getting some quick results and not getting hung up on perfection. There is nothing like handmade!

Mika said...

I think that is one of the fabulous things about you and the blog....knowing that you have been learning as you go. You just keep on going, trying something new, and getting better at it one project at a time.
I have to say, I get totally inspired!
I hope life with baby is going well ;)

Anonymous said...

Am going to bookmark this post Megan as I am still waiting to get my sewing machine but when I do this is definitely where I will come!! I think we are similar in that I like to do things the easy way, and it doesn't have to be perfect like you say!! Your projects are all so warm and inspiring!! Congrats on your article in Homestyle, you deserve it!!

Susan said...

I've found almost all of these books in the ChCh libraries and have put lots of holds on them. I can't wait to go and pick them up!

HAVEN said...

I am most definitely saving this post for a rainy day. Initially I followed you just because you live in TGA too (good ole' Matua) but your content has actually kicked my A into G about my ignored diy passion. Can't wait to get stuck in!

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