It’s hard knowing just how to get into Sewing for the first time! Much more difficult than deciding to Knit or Crochet. I had been interested in trying it out for awhile but just didn’t know how best to get into it. Would taking a class be a total waste? Should I just learn on my own? I’d been looking into it on and off for years. Only this year did I finally decide to take the plunge.
Sewing is a huge subject. It encompasses many different skill-sets like measuring and cutting, a wide variety of disciplines like Quilting or Dressmaking, and a myriad of materials like fabric and trim. It also incorporates a wide array of hand tools and equipment. Most importantly, machine sewing requires a machine (or two)! It all equals many layers of difficulty in time, effort, space, and expense involved just to explore properly. Simply dabbling in it could cost a lot! So this time around, I decided a class would be the best way to begin.
Rather than pick up a book or google how-tos online, I focused on searching for a suitable class. A major bonus is you don’t have to buy a machine to start sewing. Your class will provide the sewing machine and class time for you to do your sewing. This way you can try sewing and a machine before you actually have to buy one!
I was looking for one that would emphasize good skills and habits and thoroughly cover all the most basic essentials a sewer needs to know. Basically a great foundation class that would give me the knowledge to choose my own path. And, of course, a class project that would also feel like an accomplishment would be the cherry on top.
I ended up finding a great one by luck at Purl Soho. It was taught by a quilter who emphasized technical skills and of course precision! She designed a wonderfully substantial project that incorporated so many great skills and techniques while making it easily digestible (and completed entirely in-class and on time!). For a first time sewer who wanted something slightly more interesting than a drawstring bag it was a satisfying accomplishment. It was perfect for getting my feet wet and I left with a great intro into the foundations of Sewing. I feel online videos or tutorials would have never been as effective with a lot of little details and insights getting lost in translation. It needs hands-on and face-to-face communication. Here’s my review of the class that sparked it all Introduction to Machine Sewing at Purl Soho. Here is another beginner sewing course I took more geared towards Dressmaking at The Sewing Studio.
Sewing Machine & Tools
After taking a few classes you can then decide if you want to purchase a sewing machine and continue sewing on your own. All your sewing tools will become “trusty sidekicks” and this goes for your sewing machine too. As a beginner I wanted a plain vanilla, basic, trusty, and affordable sewing machine. One that was compact and wouldn’t take up too much space was a bonus too.
Check out my post on Your First Sewing Machine. It contains what I look for in a first sewing machine and big list of sewing machine manufacturers. From there, you can continue your own research and perhaps find sewing machine shops in your area. Talk to your sewing teacher for suggestions on models and look for sewing machine repair shops in your area. Sewing schools and teacher will often have machines for sale or can point you to a place that does.
You will also need a few other sewing tools to begin your sewing journey. See here for a list of Beginning Sewing Tools I started out with.
Sewing takes a bit of a commitment, some investment, and a good class to get started. Choosing wisely and thoughtfully at each stage is especially important for these reasons. There’s much more to take into account but they’re best learned along the way. So for now, starting with a well chosen class is the biggest hurdle. When ready, setting yourself up with a sewing machine and beginning sewing tools will be the next step. Yes, I know it’s just Sewing! not a 4-year college degree or a life or death decision. But it is a hobby and an expensive one which for many is a luxury. So don’t waste it! Do it right! And hopefully you can find some helpful info on my site to do it! :) Here is also my full list of sewing machines and tools found in my blog.
Update: I’ve since been pounding the pavement for a comprehensive intermediate class. Instead I found the sewing book of my dreams. So for now I am taking a detour in the sewing class department and pursuing Sewing on my own with the aid of this companion book. It’s also a great alternative for those with some sewing background who don’t feel they need a class but rather a very effective reference guide!