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Since I started giving private beginner’s sewing lessons I’ve learned a lot from my students  how little people know about sewing and haberdashery, which I wasn’t even aware of before.   Take zip fasteners for example, there are three different kinds that are used most often on our clothing.   There is the conventional type, the invisible type and the open-ended or separating zip.  There are metal teeth, plastic teeth and nylon teeth.   So when I asked one of my students to buy a zipper for a soft cotton dress she was making for her little girl, she arrived with a heavy separating zipper that would be suitable on a winter jacket.  Of course she didn’t know any different, so I made a point of having a little lesson about choosing the right zipper for the right fabric and garment.  I thought choosing a zipper was just common knowledge!

I’m sure there are a lot of bloggers that are just starting out on their own sewing journeys, some teaching themselves while others might be having lessons.  I would like to share some points with you.  I put this up on my Facebook sewing page to help motivate my students.

  1. You will make mistakes, you will fail and there will be times when you will feel like crying and “throwing in the towel”, DON’T. Like everything you’ve ever learned, sewing takes practice and perseverance too, and a lot of patience, (and even more from your teacher). Think about the first time you drove a car! Every time you see an item that you have completed successfully, it will give you new motivation to carry on.
  1. Don’t let your family and friends pressure you into thinking that you will be ready to start making them clothes after your 3rd lesson, because that ain’t gonna happen! You will only just be remembering how to thread your own machine properly. If they want homemade clothing, they can take lessons too!
  1. Don’t beat yourself up or be too critical of your first attempts, they will be far from perfect, but the more you practice the better you will become. Start off slowly; don’t expect to be making a well-fitting jacket and pants by your 4th lesson.
  1. Sewing takes up many hours of your time, and once you get hooked you won’t want to do anything else. It’s important that you have a partner who has his/her own hobbies and pastimes and is supportive.  There is nothing worse than having a partner who keeps nagging you to spend more time with him/her.  Family and friend’s support is very important.
  1. Try and organize a room where you can sew and have everything set up permanently, sewing makes a mess and it’s nice to close the door at the end of the day and not have to pack everything away, only to be brought out again when you want to sew. Most men can have the whole garage for their tools and work bench, so why must we be happy with a table in the corner of a room!
  1. Once you start making clothes, your attempts will be met with comments like “wow, did you make that, won’t you make me one” (they will want one for free, of course) or “I can see you made that, the collar is skew” or “did you make that, it looks nice, but just hang on while I get my magnifying glass out to see if your back stitch in perfectly aligned on top of your last stitch” or “why waste time sewing when you can buy it cheaper at Hoity Maloities”.

Nobody wants to hear those comments, even with 40 years of experience.   What I have noticed is that if someone knows you have made a garment, even if it’s flawless, they will look to try to find some imperfections.  I can only put it down to jealousy, which gives you the upper hand.   Once you are making wearable clothes you will see store-bought clothing with different eyes.

Happy sewing!