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Learning to Sew

by Nikki Willhite

If you are thinking of taking up a new hobby this year, think about sewing.  A lot of people are intimidated by sewing, but that is only because they do not take it slowly or they  attempt projects that are too difficult for their skill level.

No matter how many years you've been sewing, there are some projects you will probably never want to tackle.  I know many people that specialize in one or two items that serve them well and that is as far as it goes.

I remember the very first item I tried to sew.  It was a jumper with princess seams, and I messed up all 6 of them.  I just wanted to throw it away, but my sister insisted that I use my seam seam ripper and take them all apart so that I would develop discipline...or some other nebulous quality I had no appreciation for at the time!

As I gained more confidence I went too fast.  I tried to make a dress for a dance, using velvet and satin.  That was a disaster.  Some fabrics are not "beginner friendly."  The only other time I remember being extremely frustrated was my first semester at college in the dorms when I had to sew a dress for a vocal group.  The thread on the unfamiliar sewing machine kept breaking.  I tried to find someone to help me.  I can't remember if I eventually found someone or found the manual, but the thread was breaking simply because the flat part of the sewing machine needle had been put in facing the wrong way.

Sewing affords you the opportunity of wearing unique clothing, suited to your figure and coloring.  It is a great creative hobby.  It can also become a home business.  The value for most frugal people is that sewing skills can save money.  Among other things, you can buy items at thrift stores and with a few alterations have  great looking garments.

If you are a beginning sewer, or want to learn to sew, here are some tips that will help you.

1.  Learn you sewing machine.  Read the manual.  Know how to correctly insert the needle!  Practice making a straight stitch and don't start sewing until you feel comfortable threading the machine, sewing a straight line, and then ripping it out.

2.  Be sure you have the proper supplies.  You don't need to spend a lot of money on a sewing machine.  Quilters buy expensive machines with special features.  Most people can get buy with a very inexpensive machine.

3.  Watch some sewing videos on UTube and some sewing programs on television. 

4.  After you get your feet wet, join a few sewing forums on the Internet.  Don't be afraid to ask questions.  Most people are anxious to help.

5. Choose your first projects carefully.  Look for patterns that  make it clear that they are easy to do.

6.  Sign up for a beginning sewing class or a class to learn a specific technique.

7.  Choose your fabric carefully, because fabric is the cause of much sewing frustration.  Quilters use 100% cotton, but that is not good for apparel.  When it comes to clothing, you want some polyester in your fabric so you don't have to iron it after you wash it. 

There are so many hobbies to choose from.  None of us have the time, or want to do all of them.  However, when we find one that we love...we enrich our lives.  Walk around a fabric store, look at the colors and feel the fabrics.  If you respond in an emotional way,  sewing might be for you. 

About the Author: Nikki Willhite, mother of 3 and an interior design graduate, has been writing and publishing articles on the topic of frugal living for over a decade. Visit her at - where you will find hundreds of frugal living tips and articles. Frugal Happy Families- more than just money!



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