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Learning to Sew - Where Do You Start?

By Charles Hopkins Published 04/25/2006 | Hobbies
Sewing is an enjoyable and useful skill you can use for the rest of your life, not to mention the countless hours of entertainment and relaxation it will bring you. Just think of all the things you can make once you learn how to sew... clothing, accessories, home decor, costumes, baby items and the list goes on. There is no limit to your creativity once you know how to sew.

For a beginner, the first thing you need is a sewing machine. Quite often you will be able to find a family member or friend who will let you use his or her sewing machine. Borrowing a sewing machine is highly recommended for anyone just learning to sew because purchasing one, even an inexpensive model, is costly. Until you know whether or not you like to sew, this is your best option. However, if you are sure you're ready to make the purchase, here are a few tips.

1. Decide how much money you want to spend. Sewing machine prices range from less than 100 to thousands of dollars. Once you know your budget, you will be able to narrow your choices.

2. Research brands and features on the internet. A quick search for 'sewing machines' will bring up hundreds of places to purchase with pricing, features, brands, etc. This should give you an idea of what's available.

3. Make a list of the types of sewing you will be doing and from that decide which features your sewing machine will need. Also make a list of the features you would like to have if you can afford them in your budget.

4. Now go out to your local dealers and actually sew. This will show you how the machine feels and will help you decide how you want 'your' machine to feel.

5. Ask the dealer a lot of questions. For example, are there a lot of repair orders for this model, can it be repaired locally, are parts available locally?

After you have a sewing machine to use, you will need to purchase basic tools for your first project. This part is really fun. Go to your local fabric store and look through the pattern books. There you will find and be able to purchase a pattern that will give you instructions. The pattern not only shows you how to sew the item, but will also tell you how much fabric to buy, what notions (accessories) you will need and how to lay out the pattern so you can cut out your fabric. Using a pattern for your first project, and maybe even for every project you'll ever make, is highly recommended.

You'll also need some basic tools. For your first project it's easiest to purchase a Beginner's Sewing Kit. It will include items such as pins, hand sewing needles, scissors, a pincushion, marking chalk and a seam ripper. A kit should range in price anywhere from 7.00 to 15.00 depending on what's included.

Lastly, you'll need to learn the basics of sewing. This can be self-taught, but if you take a class you will learn much quicker. Often the seamstresses who teach these classes will show you shortcuts for certain techniques that you won't learn in a book. Most cities and towns have a place where you can take classes. If you don't know where to look, check the internet or ask your local fabric store.

If you decide to teach yourself, be patient. There is a lot to learn and there will be much trial and error. Look for teaching aids like books, DVDs, internet websites, etc. One good place to start is www.sewing.org. This website is very comprehensive and offers a plethora of free tutorials.

Okay, now you're set...have fun learning the wonderful skill of sewing and go create some beautiful items that only you will own.