A Few Stitches to Savings
One of my goals is to become a one-income household. One of the things I know I could do to save big money is to learn how to sew. I have a "new" Singer sewing machine. It's about 7 years old but I'm ashamed to say I've never used it. I would like to repair clothes, use old clothes or fabrics to make new clothes and linens. And I would like to learn how to sew from patterns so I can make my 3-year-old daughter some clothes. I would have the time and space to sew but I don't know how. Can some of your readers suggest inexpensive ways to learn how to sew? I don't know the first thing about sewing so I cannot assume previous knowledge.
There are a lot of free resources for learning to sew. The public library or interlibrary loan system can provide books from which to learn. PBS channels often carry instructional sewing shows. There are many sewing related web pages on the Internet. Also check with your local Cooperative Extension unit and look for a sewing guild in your area. Call area sewing machine dealers and inquire about classes and resources in your community, they are a great source of information.
The high schools here have adult education classes at night that don't cost too much. There are sewing classes offered this way. She can see of the high schools in her area offer these classes. Plus, there should be how-to-sew books in the public library.
I was like you in that I wanted to learn how to sew. I had a brand new sewing machine, patterns, fabric, notions and the desire do it! I was ready! Then, I opened the pattern and was completely lost. I attempted it. However, I was completely lost by the terminology. I had no clue what basting or any of the other unfamiliar terms meant! I was a city girl with a mall down the road. Sewing was for people with time to kill. At the time I had one child, so I had time; but I now have four and homeschool. What is time to kill?! My mother and female relatives nearby never did any "homemaker" things, so I had no hope of learning the easy way.
After my major mess-up, I got fed up and quit for three years! Now, I did make pillows during that time but, if you know how to make a square, that's a no-brainer. Finally, two states and two kids later, I decided to give it another go. But only because I had a friend who knew how to sew, and she walked me through it. Most of the time it was over the phone, but she knew exactly what she was doing so even that helped. During that time, I also bought a book from Simplicity that gave the definition of the words and in most cases, explained it step by step. It was (and still is) invaluable!
There have been times when I didn't want to bother my friend (or couldn't get a hold of her) and I either didn't know where the book was, or it just couldn't answer my question. In those cases, some (or all) of the patterns have a phone number that you can call and get help on the exact pattern you're working on. You leave your name, phone number, the pattern number and I think a brief description of your question and they call you back. Normally, a beginner seamstress won't have such a dire emergency that that won't do. My only problem with it is, I'm impulsive and I want it done now! However, God chooses to teach us patience in many (seemingly) cruel ways!
I'm proud to say that I've made clothes for my children and their dolls, sleeping bags with pillows attached for their dolls, home decorations, costumes, and a roll-up carrier for my husband's tools. You name it and I've done it. I even started to reupholster my couch!
Don't give up. You will be rewarded for your efforts and the fantastic feeling of knowing you did it!
As the leader of my local neighborhood group of the American Sewing Guild, I suggest that Andrea attend the next monthly meeting in her area. A non-member can attend twice, at no cost, without obligation. After that, the Guild requires membership which is $35 a year.
There, Andrea will meet ladies that sew for the love of it, and are very willing to share a wealth of information. We learn from each other. To find out where the group nearest to one's house is, go on the web to www.asg.org, click on 'chapter locations,' and get in touch with the contact person.
Another good source is the local library. Go to the video department and check out videos on sewing. There's a wealth of information, step-by-step instructions for anything from beginners to tailoring. Most libraries also have a good selection of sewing books. Don't overlook the periodical section where you can spend some quiet time thumbing or perusing good sewing magazines such as Sew News and Threads.
When I was interested in learning how to sew, I asked employees at the local craft store (Joanne's Fabrics) if they gave classes. They did not but had a list of women who gave sewing classes in their home. The women in my area (NY) gave classes for about $5.00/hour. You start with a simple project and go from here. It's worth a call to the local fabric/craft store.
Sign up for our free eNewsletter Dollar Stretcher for Parents.
Looking for an answer to a frugal living question? Click here to ask a
Dollar Stretcher Stretchpert!