Monday, September 1, 2014

September is National Sewing Month

Hop on over to for a bunch of ideas and inspiration or visit some of our favorite sites in the links over there on the right, try one of our projects or search this blog for projects and tutorials, and scoot over to Pinterest and see what others are sewing. You might even consider teaching someone else how to sew. With that in mind, here's an update to an article I wrote many years ago for, when I was doing community work for them.

Learning to sew can be fun and rewarding, but start small and work your way up. I've never been sorry that I caught the "sewing bug". 

The first stop is your public library. The Dewey Decimal System for sewing-related items in the nonfiction section of your library is here:

    640 Home economics & family living
    646 Sewing, clothing, personal living 

I have found that the children's section of the library is a good place to look for sewing books for beginners. Do a couple of the truly easy projects (no one has to know!) and then move on to something more "complicated" like a garment.

Browse through the stacks of sewing books. Some are great and others are lame, but there's sure to be one or two that suit your needs. Singer has a great set of sewing books, and the Reader's Digest sewing book is good for beginners. I've found "how to sew" books on eBay and at yard sales, so you don't have to spend a lot of money. As well, most pattern companies (Simplicity, Vogue, Butterick, McCall's, to name a few) have basic sewing instruction books, and there is a Sewing for Dummies and a Sewing for Idiots, both aimed at beginners. If you're interested in buying any of the books you see, you'll at least have a good preview by borrowing them from the library first!

Fabric stores often offer classes. Find a reputable fabric store in your area and see if they offer craft or sewing instruction. Even if they don't, they may know someone who does. Check the bulletin boards at the store. Another place to check is your yellow page directory. Sometimes you can find instructors there. Check with your local Extension Agency or 4-H, if they are available to you. Again, the phone book is of great help in this respect.

If there is a sewing machine dealer in your area, check with them. They may already offer classes for the general public. If they don't you can suggest it to them! Some public school systems and community colleges offer community education classes for adults.

Consider looking for an on- or off-line mentor. Other people who sew at church, sewing associations, quilt guilds, online communities, newsgroups, email groups - all good possibilities for mentors.

What has changed since then? There are so many sites on line with how-to information, including this one. Google is your friend and with a few keystrokes, you can find pretty much anything you want to know on the web. Nothing substitutes for having the human interaction, and that's something we can do for others.

Recently, I was working with my 30-year-old daughter on a graduate school art project which involved sewing. I followed her design lead, she did the cutting, color choices, etc., and I did the sewing. At one point, as she was cutting, she looked at me and said, "I have a whole new respect for what you do, mom!" It was a great moment!

Happy National Sewing Month everyone. Make it a good one.

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