The Basics of Sewing | Weekend Wanderings

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I’ve always loved sewing. I started sewing in 7th grade and made many of my own clothes as a teenager. Textiles and Clothing with a teaching degree in Home Economics was my major in college and loved every second of it.

But unlike me, I know a lot of you haven’t yet been exposed to sewing and just might want to learn how. Now, in this era of recycled fashions and reusable materials…the timing of this new hobby couldn’t be better. So keep reading to learn more about the basics of sewing, and start your newest addiction today!

History

Before we get into the how-to’s, we wanted to talk a bit about the history of sewing. Plus, September is National Sewing Month…so there truly isn’t a better time to explore the rich roots of this craft.

Many of the tools we use for our everyday sewing (which we’ll get to a bit later) were invented by National Inventors Hall of Fame® Inductees looking to make the process easier. Thanks to our friends at the National Inventors Hall of Fame® for giving us a hand with this history lesson.

  • Elias Howe created the first practical sewing machine in 1845, having spent five years developing it. Howe’s machine went beyond impacting just the clothing industry by speeding up the production of virtually any material made with stitching. This was the beginning of sewing as we know it today.
  • Then, in 1873 Helen Blanchard made improvements to the standard sewing machine by inventing the “zig-zag stitch” sewing machine. The zig-zag stitch seals the edges of a seam, making a garment sturdier. Blanchard continued to make improvements to both sewing machines and needles and went on to establish the Blanchard Over-Seam Co. of Philadelphia in 1881.
  • Walter Hunt can be thanked for making large sewing projects significantly easier thanks to his invention of the safety pin. The design for the safety pin came to the inventor as he twisted an ordinary piece of wire while worrying about a $15 debt. Patented in 1849 under the title of “dress pins,” Hunt’s invention has helped protect the hands and projects of numerous sewers.
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Supplies

Knowing how to get started with sewing might be the hardest part. One of the first things to do is to find the supplies you need. Here are the basics:

  • Thread
  • Fabric scissors
  • Seam rippers
  • Sewing machine
  • Cutting board
  • Measuring tape
  • Needles (for sewing machine)
  • Pins/pin cushion
  • Fabric markers

Though there is a ton of other stuff you can eventually add on, this is a great starting list.

Deciding which sewing machine you want can be quite challenging. But, it can also make a huge difference in your sewing. Check out our top picks below:

Getting Started

Now…the fun really begins!

  1. Lay your supplies out. Get you sewing station set up with all of the supplies you just purchased. Once you’re in the thick of a project, you never know when you’ll need a tool in the pinch. It’s kind of like a recipe where you have all of your utensils ready and available. Having everything laid out will make the process go much smoother.
  2. Learn how to use your machine. Most sewing machines come with a manual, which helps you set up the machine and get acquainted with all of its parts. You can usually type the name of your machine into YouTube or Google to find some helpful content on how to use your exact machine. Don’t know the name, or want something a little more generic? Try watching this video, which includes threading your machine, winding a bobbin, sewing your first stitches, etc.
  3. Start small. Try to connect two pieces of fabric with a straight line, or something similar. Getting the feel of your machine before jumping into a large project will help you in the long run.
  4. Do your research. There are tons of websites online that offer sewing education. Research different courses like these on Udemy or these on Skillshare, to take your skills to the next level. YouTube has a ton of great content as well, and it happens to be free!
  5. Connect with others. Finding patterns (“the template from which the parts of a garment are traced onto fabric before being cut out and assembled”-Wikipedia) on Pinterest is a great way to get inspired and connect with others. Check out this board, called “Things to Sew.”

INCONCLUSION

I once loved to sew and now crave the time when I slow down enough so I can again pick up this craft that I once found so satisfying. Do you know how to sew or would you like to learn how? Unlike in the ’60s and early ’70s when I was sewing a lot, now there is so much information available for anyone to become a seamstress and maybe even an expert seamstress!!

I hope that you enjoy this hobby as much as I do. Someday, when life slows down a bit, I look forward to getting back into the routine of creating, altering, and embellishing my clothing on a regular basis. What do you want to sew?

SHESHE’S TIDBITS

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2 Comments

  1. Ruth Josey wrote:

    This is a great tutorial on something I learned back in high school – back in the day when girls took Home Ec and boys didn’t (at least not many of them). I’m so glad that I did learn this one. My Mom always sewed our clothes but I guess it’s like driving – you prefer to have a pro teach your kids so you don’t have to go through the frustration. I go through spurts of sewing. I enjoy it while I’m doing it but it’s hard for me to decide to pick it up again. I mostly have to want to craft something when I can’t find just what I’m looking for. Thanks so much for sharing this – I think I’m getting the sewing bug again!

    Ruth
    https://voguefauxreal.com/2019/09/06/

    Posted 9.8.19 Reply
  2. Ruth Josey wrote:

    Oh, and I forgot to mention that in your e-mail, if you click on the picture it takes you to a “page not found” error, though if you continue down to “view in browser”, it takes you to the post.

    Ruth
    https://voguefauxreal.com/2019/09/06/

    Posted 9.8.19 Reply