V's first photos

To sew or not to sew

Ok, you crafty types out there, let me ask your opinion. More than a little inspired by posts like SouleMama's before-dinner skirts and the slightly cooler air blowing into town, I have started to get the sewing bug. One problem is that I don't have a machine. Another is that I haven't sewn anything from a pattern since high school home ec class and I certainly don't remember anything from that!

So what's a girl to do? Should I get a machine? Which one?

Should I take a class or can I figure it out on my own? The classes seem a bit ... expensive and the projects don't look like anything I would want to make.

How did you learn to sew? What are your favorite learning-to-sew sites? Any great free beginners tutorials you know of? What has helped you the most?

Please dear Internet friends, give me all the answers I seek...


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I've been sewing lately too. My skills are suspect at best. I own a very cheap White Sewing Machine. I can't remember where I got it from - maybe Target. At any rate it cost less than $100.00. Now it doesn't have fancy embroidery gadgets or anything like that but it does sew. I've been teaching myself as I go. If you use inexpensive material (think Goodwill) then you won't feel horrid if you make mistakes. I recently came across this sewing site and thought it looked pretty interesting. I haven't had much time yet to check it out. Happy sewing!


I'd get a cheap basic sewing machine at Walmart or wherever just to see if you like sewiing. If you really get into it, you could upgrade. They usually come with a pretty go manual. (after you bang your head against the wall a few times and figure out how to thread it.)

Hooked on Housesh

Oh, boy. I'm so NOT a crafty type that I feel guilty even leaving a comment on a post like this. Ha. My mom had an ancient sewing machine that never worked right. It was always jamming up and screwing up and I gave up on my early attempts to learn how to use it. I've still got a couple of half-made skirts from 1985 around here somewhere...

Sorry I'm no help, as usual.

I LOVE your pumpkin header!! -Julia

Kim Payne

I've just learned by doing, so I vote you just jump in. There are plenty of "beginner" patterns out there to start out with. And just a basic machine will do - mine has a lot of the bells and whistles, but do I use them? Usually not. You want one that will do a zigzag, reverse, and buttonholes, but everything else is gravy. You can upgrade later. I've had a few New Home machines (Janome, now), and I tend to stick with them. I believe Kenmore and Elna are made by the same company, too. About the only brand I would not buy is a Viking, because everyone I've known who has owned one, it's either broken, in the shop, or just out of the shop.


Get a machine, but not one that is tooooo cheap because it will be more frustrating than enjoyable. Head to a sewing shop and see if they will let you rent a machine for a week or two to see if you like it. I'm excited for you and your sewing bug!!!

Fighting Windmills

I watch tutorials on YouTube. There's free advice from very experienced seamstresses. I have borrowed my mom's machine, but you are right that it would be awesome to own one. When I was looking at the dress you bought for V, I was thinking that (with enough ambition and free time) you could have sewn it for her yourself. :)


You are going to get more answers than you could ever have expected about this! Sewing bloggers (and knitting bloggers alike) have very strong opinions about their 'equipment' - and I know of what I speak! I think that the machine you need really depends on what you plan to do with it. If you just want to sew clothing than you can buy a much less expensive machine than if you wanted to free-motion quilt (for example). Do you have a good sewing shop in your town? I learned first how to quilt and then other types of sewing - by taking classes. Something about the hands on instruction and the time set aside to do it - worked better for me than trying to follow written instructions. Or if you have a friend willing to spend some time with you... Feel free to drop in anytime you're down my way and I'll share what I know...I hope this rambling helps some.


I just made one of those after dinner skirts yesterday for Rowan. But I didn't have a long selvage so it's a strip skirt, which took longer, but it turned out very awesome!!

My mom taught me to sew but it was only after much cursing at the machine that I was able to do it without mucking it up! I could show you some stuff, just the very very basics. From there books would be helpful. I think for the most part classes are a waste of time but that's just my crazy unschooler's brain talking :D


Check or ebay for a machine. If I were looking for a good beginner machine with workhorse capacity, it would have to be a husquvarna, one of the older models in good working condition. And, sure take the class - you might even meet like minded people to pass the cold sewing days with. It never hurts to have a sewing guru that has taken you under her wing to call up with questions from time to time.


Okay I cold Sew in High School. Then I went out and got myself one of these table Machines after being so inspired by all the crafties on here... Went to the thrift store picked up all these cool vintage patterns for like 10 cents... got home, stared at it, tried it, stared at it some more and realized I have no idea what I am doing anymore. I think if I want to do this, "I" need to get a new machine that is really user friendly with instructions for dummies and start off with some easy McCall Patterns... I am still a hand sewing dork I guess. Hope that helps.

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