Everybody should know at least how to sew in a button. But when we say to “start sewing” we usually mean a lot more than just the simple stitch back and forth to attach a fallen off button. This craft can be a very serious one and with a pair of skillful hands, a tailor is able to create beautiful and useful clothing items that will both last and inspire for years.
But like any craft – it needs its tools. The average sewing kit you will find hidden in metal biscuit boxes will usually not be enough and will be horribly organized so more preparations are needed to be successful with any sewing project. Patterns, techniques, various threads, and very sharp fabric scissors are just the beginning of a very important list.
Patterns and Patience
Every project starts with an appropriate pattern. Patterns are best made in medium-weight packing paper, though they work also if made in a heavyweight fabric, preferably one that doesn’t fray much. But as making patterns is almost an art and craft in itself it is usually very hard for beginners to make them themselves so it would be better to rely on other options.
For starters, there are pattern books, that is – collections and guides on how to make up and scale patterns for certain clothing pieces. These offer a great starting point, but you can also try and copy a pattern of an existing piece by carefully taking it apart and laying it flat. What this allows is for you to work with something that you know how it will fit on you or someone else.
Tools of the Trade
The very long list of sewing utensils that professionals use is too much to expect of a beginner to gather at once, but some things are necessary. Scissors, needles, a sewing machine, pins, and a ruler are the very basics. Going one by one: scissors must be very sturdy and sharp as can be. Once properly sharpened – do not use them for anything else except cutting fabric.
Needles usually come in a variety of lengths and thickness – and you will need a variety for all the possible projects. If working with tough textiles use a piece of soap on them to slide more easily. Sewing machines should be selected depending on motor power, up to 100 Watts is enough for most projects, but working with leather or several layers of fabric may require more power.
We may be inspired to start sewing because we saw a certain fantastic piece of clothing that is just impossible to buy conventionally, or because we wanted to repair or remake something that is dear to us. The problem with this is that those pieces, however effortlessly we visualize them, are almost always outside the capabilities of beginners. Instead, one should start with simple projects.
Working on a pillow casing, or just sewing on a button is a bit of a boring project but very important for starters as you learn the basics with them. There is no point in thinking about a fancy coat if you don’t even know how to properly cut and stitch buttonholes and buttons.
Ask for Help
There is no shame in admitting you don’t know something, especially if you are just beginning to learn. You may have seen and supposed how to hold a needle and thread, but a sewing machine? They don’t come with instruction manuals for no reason. Having someone sit next to you to show you how it’s done is invaluable for anyone who is new to the world of sewing.
What’s more – experienced tailors can also tell you where to buy supplies for certain projects and show you their patterns if needed.
Wear It With Pride
And once you complete something and start reviewing it don’t forget to actually use it like it was intended! It’s one thing to have it stay up on a mannequin, all nicely pinned up and tight, and another thing completely to wear it. Some parts may seem too tight, others too loose or short, but wearing it will definitely show you all of its pluses and minuses, but will also give you a chance to show to the world how you too can create nice clothing with your own hands.
With some careful preparations, you too can sew like all the pros out there. Sure it will be hard at first and you will have sore fingertips from the needle, but the pleasure you get from seeing and wearing your finished pieces is immeasurable and is worth the effort!