Friday, May 22, 2009

Lesson #1 Getting Started

Before I begin I want to stress that these lessons are for beginners.They will be very basic to begin with,so if you already know how to sew ,you might want to skip the first few. I'll try to post a new lesson at least once a week. If at all possible, especially at the beginning, I'll try to do a couple a week.

I won't be explaining the different parts of a sewing machine and their uses here. For that, you can look at your Sewing Machine User Guide.It would be a good idea to have a good look at this useful book before you begin to follow these lessons.
Today,you will become familiar with using and running a sewing machine.You'll practice sewing different seams without thread just until you get the hang of it.
The first thing you should know is how to insert a sewing machine needle.
You'll notice that a sewing machine needle has a flat side.

The flat side goes to the back.(You may have to look at your Sewing Machine's User Guide to get a better idea where the needle is inserted.

Below, I've prepared three worksheets that you can copy.Notice that the three sets of lines each have a broken line which is about 5/8 inch away. That's because when you use patterns to make garments,seams are always 5/8 inches deep. It would be good to get use to that as you start learning to sew.

When your worksheets are ready,take them to your machine and we'll begin.

On Sheet #1 below, you will learn simply to operate your machine and practice sewing straight lines. Lower your needle down at the starting point,lower the presser foot and begin to sew slowly. When you get to the end of the line you will stop.Repeat this for the second line.For the third you will stop at the corner with the needle down,raise the presser foot,turn ,lower the presser foot and continue to the end.
How did you do?

If you need more practice, repeat the exercise sewing over the same lines or simply make more worksheets.You'll find that it won't be long before you are sewing lines that are nice and straight.

On sheet #2 below,the lines are curved or angular.Just go for it, following the broken lines and trying to start and stop at exactly the beginning and the end
Is it getting too easy?

On sheet #3,you'll learn to reverse at both the beginning and the end of each seam.
Lower the needle at the starting point. Lower the presser foot.start to sew and almost at the same time ,press down on the reverse leaver and sew two or three stitches. Release the leaver and continue sewing to the end of the seam.Press the reverse leaver again and go back two or three stitches . This reverse sewing is to lock in the stitches so they won't come apart.

How did you do?

Now having been a teacher for 31 years, I can't resist giving you some homework.
First,I'd like you to practice sewing straight ,curved, and seams with angles as well as using a reverse stitch at both the beginning and end of each seam you sew.
As well ,click on this videoto find out how to thread your sewing machine. Please watch it and be ready to sew with thread in your machine for the next lesson.

Next time you'll be sewing a tote bag so have about .75 meters (or 3/4 yard ) of a cotton fabric as well as some matching thread and pins ready so you'll be ready to go.

Let me know what you think or if you have any questions.

Happy Sewing from Diana

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Where to Begin?

I've been feeling slightly dissatisfied with where my sewing has been going and maybe missing teaching a little. I wouldn't want to go back to teaching school. I'm too old for that! But ,I really love it when I'm working at Fabricville and someone, young or old asks me a question about how to do a certain something concerning sewing.Well, the teacher in me just takes over and I'm as happy as a clam.

Now you might want to know what makes me think I am qualified to teach sewing. The answer to that is that I sew all the time and am always anxious to learn a new technique. I'm told that my garments are professional looking and I'm often asked for help by friends and acquaintances who want help to achieve more polished looking sewing projects.

If you'd like to have a look at my work, you can visit my blog Sew Passionista by Diana where I post my projects.
My intent here is to start at the beginning for beginners.I will try to post once a week, but will gladly answer your questions as they arise either by Email,in the comments section below the posts or in a new post..

In this post I'll explain what materials you will need to follow the lessons in this Blog. So in addition to fabrics of your choice you will also need:

scissors (for cutting only fabrics)
scissors (for cutting paper such as patterns)
a tape measure
a ruler (preferably at least 20 inches)
pins and a pin cushion
a seam ripper
a tracing wheel
universal sewing machine needles
(of varying sizes)
hand sewing needles
several bobbins
a point turner
a desk type light (optional)

In addition to the above , I also have

a Grab-it (to pick up pins I drop)
a fade out marker
a cardboard cutting board (very useful)
a press cloth preferably out of cotton (or silk organza).
a tailor's awl (We'll discuss it's use later)

to name only a few but they are my favorites.

For a start, I thought I'd show you my sewing room from different viewpoints.

As you can see by these photos, I'm a serious sewer with a real addiction for fabrics and anything else that comes in handy for sewing.
I actually have three working sewing machines that each have their uses as well as a serger which is a really wonderful addition to any sewing room.