Absolute Beginners

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I started reading sewing blogs a good while before I began sewing. My mind was blown by the excellence I saw online. Someone made that jacket? For real?! But I’ll be honest – half the time I had no idea what people were writing about. Thread tracing? Muslins? FBA*s? TNT**s? What the…?! It can be intimidating.

I’m probably guilty of the same thing myself, assuming readers know what I’m talking about. My blog posts range from chatty and light-hearted to pretty in-depth when I’m getting down and dirty with a specific technique or step. Sometimes I need to shake myself and remember that not all my readers will have a flip what I’m going on about. They might be inspired, though, and want to understand more. It would be wrong of me not to help out.

So, help me help you.Β Are you choosing your first sewing project this very day? Should my writing work harder to help? Is there something really obvious that I’m missing because I’m too close?

Alternatively, are you an old hand who still remembers the early days? What did you want to know and were too scared to ask?

We’re all in this together, people!

* Full Bust Adjustment. Don’t worry, it took me about 2.5 years of sewing to realise I needed to do this.

** Tried And Tested. This refers to a pattern you keep going back to because it works so well for you.

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84 Responses to Absolute Beginners

  1. waistbands … how to interface them (what sort of interfacing to use), attaching them, what it is supposed to look like when finished, where a skirt should sit etc etc etc that was actually quite confusing. I am getting better at it and there are tutorials out there, but I remember my first project was a skirt and those things were hard. In fact interfacing is still a bit of a mystery to me πŸ™‚

    • Sewer From Across The Pond says:

      Interfacing is not supposed to be heavier than the fashion fabric. It enhances, but does not change the character of the cloth. You can cut a piece of fusible interfacing the size of the waistband and trim it by 1/8. There use to be a product called “Perfect Waistband,” that had perforations that allowed the user to fold the fabric around the pressed interfacing and then stitched.

      You can also use a nonfusible, sew-in interfacing. Products like hymo and hair canvas are used, among others.

      • LinB says:

        Or, use a layer of the same fabric you’re sewing up! Works in a pinch, and has worked perfectly well for centuries — especially if the garment you’re making is a trial version, which may or may not see much wear. You can always go in later and insert “official” interfacing. (I loathe and despise fusibles, but that’s just me. Don’t let my personal prejudices stop you from living life to the fullest, all on your own.)

  2. Gjeometry says:

    Pants / Trousers!!! (why don’t they ever fit??) Enough said.

    • Jen (NY) says:

      I would suggest checking out Pants for Real People by Palmer and Pletsch. It’s not a perfect fit book, but it will answer your question!

    • Sewer From Across The Pond says:

      If you’re really ambitious, you could draft a sloper (altering a skirt sloper and or drafting a trousers sloper from scratch) and develop a pattern from that.

      • Gjeometry says:

        Yes, I’m not that ambitious yet, lol. Right now, I’m still learning how to sew pants from a pattern (zip fly, welt pockets, front pockets, etc.). I am taking a PatternMaking course, but it does not include pants / trousers. Only bodice and skirts. So, will wait till the more advanced course to make the trouser sloper.

  3. Bronia says:

    This is me! I am such a sewing blog lurker. Think I convinced mysel reading sewing blogs was as good as sewing. Got a Hazel and a Meringue under my belt now though…onwards and upwards. Confidence is growing all the time. Thanks for the inspiration!

  4. BeaJay says:

    I started sewing a year and a half ago. When I was reading blogs I was the same – what the…. are they talking about. But it made me look it up and thus learn. If it wasn’t for these blogs talking about FBAs TNTs tailors tacks etc I wouldn’t have the knowledge I have now. I love finding things to learn.

  5. Sabs says:

    I’ve only been sewing for 8 months and it’s taken a lot of time and research (and just getting stuck in) to understand some of the technical stuff. There’s so much I still don’t know! I’m now about to teach my friend how to sew (she’s a complete novice, I helped her choose fabric for a simple A line skirt yesterday) and it’s really difficult to explain the basics…your tips are really going to help!

  6. I’d love a post on where to start… I have a sewing machine from when I did textiles at school, but I don’t know what to make first….

    • rainwitch says:

      A ‘Tilly and the Buttons’ Miette skirt. I’ve just made one as my first project and it was the bees knees. I learnt so many techniques. Whatever you do make, do it in a small pattern, this will disguise a multitude of sins!

      • Gill says:

        This is what I’m doing. Her step by step sewalong is demystifying a lot of it for me. Would have been rather confused otherwise (because im a total novice, not because it’s a difficult pattern!)

      • Tilly’s online step-by-step tutorials are great. She’s been excellent at the ‘less is more’ approach to clear, transparent teaching. Too many words just confuse matters!

    • Sewer From Across The Pond says:

      I would make a basic, A-line cotton twill skirt with darts, an invisible or regular zipper, and a waistband with an extension with hooks.

      • Sewer From Across The Pond says:

        If you can afford it, get someone to draft a skirt pattern for you. It’s the easiest pattern to make, and if you’re going learn to sew you might as well work on something that you know will fit from the start. Once you have a pattern, you could apply the techniques of a book like “The Essential A-line.” I looked through this book recently and it has many good ideas.

        http://www.amazon.com/The-Essential-A-line-Flirty-Pattern/dp/1607056690

  7. I learnt to sew many years ago as a teenager but I didn’t know what an FBA was until very recently!! Admittedly I’m never going to need one…;-)
    For me, the things that still escape me are how to get the best out of my sewing machine and overlocker. I think it probably comes from strict instructions not to touch the tension knob. How on earth do you get topstitching nice and even AND straight?!
    Choosing the right fabric (and knowing what to look for/ask for) is also something that somewhat eludes me.
    I don’t think we ever stop learning πŸ™‚

    • LinB says:

      Louise, there’s also such an animal as SBA (small bust adjustment). It probably gets about as much use as FBA, truth be told. I had to make a dress once for a lovely young woman whose measurements were 22″ – 22″- 32.” She had a bust, it just took some finesse to flatter her fully.

  8. Sheree says:

    I also learnt to sew as a teenager. At the time I was lucky enough to buy a pattern, make it and it fitted!! Having come back to sewing many years later – body not what it was – it is all so much more complicated. For me your blog is perfect the way it is, but perhaps a glossary of terms like FBA would be handy for beginners. And any tutorials ( although how you would find the time I cannot imagine) would be nice.

  9. Ellie says:

    I am sewing my first dress for 25 years after being inspired by the sewing bee and then discovering there is a world of sewing which is on-line. I am loving it! The hard part for me is not the sewing, but adjusting the pattern to fit me. Very frustrating? any help on that appreciated

    • Sewer From Across The Pond says:

      Ultimately, you probably will need someone to help you fit yourself (even if you could contort your body, your posture won’t be natural; and it’s better for the person being fit not to be in front of a mirror to avoid self-consciousness).

      One preparatory step you can do is to trace off the pattern without seam allowances and to measure your body at various points and make adjustments. Or if you need to go between sizes to pick up the information from the two sizes, make a judgment, and blend the lines, then true them, and add seam allowances. Then you can transfer the new rough pattern to muslin for a first fitting.

      The revelation for me was how time-consuming and subtle the fitting process is. Someone helped me do a simple A-line dress and it took at least three muslins. But it fit really well.

  10. Gill says:

    I’m very new to sewing garments and know I have a LOT to learn.
    Working on my first project at the moment, a Tilly Miette skirt in a medium weight denim.
    Despite buying the correct needle for my machine and thread, all the cotton keeps looping underneath. I know it’s a problem to do with tension but I don’t know how to fix it! Maybe a tutorial on tension would help??
    Also, I’m dying to start making dresses but don’t know how you go about alterations. It’s unlikely that a pattern will fit exactly just like off the rack clothes don’t fit exactly. How do you learn to fit the clothes to your shape? I know I’ll probably have to learn about full bust adjustments but how/ when do you take in the waist, shorten the shoulders etc?
    I’m 5’2″ with big bum, big boobs and a small waist. I don’t anticipate being able to cut a pattern and it fit without extra work. Any fitting tips would be greatly appreciated.
    Thanks for reading.

    • I would suggest you try Colette patterns, as I think they are drafted for your body shape. They are lovely anyway and come with good instructions.

      • Gill says:

        I was looking at the Collette patterns yesterday. Think their Peony dress might be next on my list. Thanks for the tip.

    • Ksaunm says:

      Sewaholic patterns might be a good fit, too. Plus they’re really well written.

    • Sewer From Across The Pond says:

      I personally wouldn’t have started with denim. It’s a thick fabric and not as easy to sew as others. The thick seams have to be carefully negotiated. Some machines have presser feet that lift up, other don’t and you have to use something to create an even level so you can sew over it.

      Not everyone is able to attend a class, but this is one reason why it can be a good thing. No responsible teacher would ever have a beginner sewing with denim. They would suggest a stable, medium bottom-weight fabric.

      Read the machine manual and see what’s recommended. When you start a line of sewing, you have to hold both thread fairly taught for the first couple of stitches and then check otherwise you can get a thread nest on the underside.

      The problem could also be the tension disks, or the way you’ve threaded it, or the fabric may need to be stabilized in some way. If you can’t figure it out I’d take it into the shop for examination and a tune-up.

      I’m 5’2″ as well and couldn’t get the free Colette Sorbet pattern to fit me after two muslins. I gave up. I later read that it’s drafted for women with a C bust. It’s helpful to know the qualities of the he pattern maker’s target customer.

      • Sewer From Across The Pond says:

        “you have to hold both threads fairly taut”

        I wish this site allowed the editing of comments. I always seem to have a typo or two.

      • Gill says:

        Thank you for the tips. After lots of hunting about on the Internet I found out to increase the tension and shorten the stitch which sorted me out. Luckily I had scrap fabric to mess about with until I got it right.
        The fabric was a light weight denim so not too different than a heavy cotton.
        It actually sewed up really well once I sorted the tension issue.
        After a full day of sewing yesterday, am now the proud owner of a Miette skirt and am very pleased with my little self. It’s not perfect but I learnt loads.
        Will definitely be booking on to some lessons. I live in the UK and there are some very good classes run by a nearby fabric shop. But the beginner ones aren’t til later in the year, and I’m impatient!
        Already looking for my next project…

  11. Laura says:

    I think it’s all good.. the more sewing blogs I read in the day the more terms I learnt. Still a lot to know though.

  12. Shar says:

    I admit I googled TNT when I first saw it on someone’s blog earlier this year. I would like to understand interlining vs. underlining vs lining. Also I never, seem to pick the correct pattern size even though I base it on the printed measurements. Most bloggers post the pattern size they use but not always their measurements (maybe too personal?). I try to figure out if I look close in size to them if I’m using the same pattern, but actual measurements would be helpful.

    • senjiva says:

      I find that commercial patterns (i.e. the big 4) tend to work waaay too much ease into the pattern. Find out just how much ease is given for the largest part of your body and work down from there. So, for example. Let’s say you are a printed pattern size 10 based on your measurements, but the pattern gives enough ease for a size 12 to wear it, then perhaps look into getting the size 8 pattern. Does that make any sense? I’m a terrible teacher but a good stitcher.

      • Shar says:

        It makes perfect sense – thank you!

      • Also, your measurements are flat planes at a few given points on the body. They tell you nothing about the relative positioning of those planes around a central point. Think of a stack of tiles – even if it isn’t perfectly lined up, each tile is still the same size.

    • Sewer From Across The Pond says:

      “TNT” is a home sewer’s term for a basic block pattern.

      Some people claim that interlining and underling are the same. But here’s the distinction that I make:

      Interlining is a layer of fabric added for warmth, such as in outerwear. It could be placed in between underlining and lining fabric. It can be warm, thick and spongy, like batting.

      Underlining is fabric that is hand basted to the fashion fabric to give it body or opacity. After the fabric is attached to the shell fabric, the two pieces of fabric are treated as one for the rest of the construction process. It can be handy because certain hand sewing stitches can be sewn to it instead of to the fashion fabric. For example, seam allowances can be tacked down to it. It often is a fabric that matches or is slightly lighter than the fashion fabric.

      Lining fabric is used to protect the garment, prolong its life and helps the wearer put on and take off the garment. It can be used with underlining and interlining, depending on the type of garment. You probably would only have lining or lining and underlining on a dress to keep the silhouette slim. It is often, but not always, slippery and made from a man made substance like Bemberg or polyester or from some kind of silk. But I have seen cotton linings.

  13. Linda says:

    I would love a post demystifying the whole toile/muslin process. I understand the basic concept, but am quite clueless about what adjustments can be made and how, and then have no idea how these adjustments are transferred to the pattern or the “real” garment. I’m not necessarily looking for a tutorial (though that would be lovely!) but if you had some online or print resources that helped you out with this, I’d love to know!

    • Sewer From Across the Pond says:

      Fitting books illustrate how to make adjustments. Very briefly, you start with a basic shape and pinch out or let out fabric where necessary and create a kind of trail of bread crumbs by marking the altered areas with a pencil. You then take apart the muslin, connect the lines, true them, and transfer the changes either to paper or a new muslin with tracing paper and a wheel or a spike wheel (used to transfer to paper). You have to preserve the original grain line at all times to ensure that the altered shape hangs correctly after the adjustments. You also need some pattern making skills if the adjustment is more the minor in order to make the pieces sew together.

      Susan Khalje’s Couture Dress class on Craftsy goes into the process in some detail, although it wasn’t enough for me to do it on my own and I don’t like the pattern they offer. Watch for a Craftsy sale.

      What I’ve learned has come primarily from taking classes and working with a professional sewing teacher. I remember looking at books in the past and wondering, “Why are the making a tuck THERE?” I didn’t realize that the tuck was just for fitting and would be incorporated in the new shape of the next iteration of the muslin.

    • Keep it simple. Baste the pieces together and try it on INSIDE OUT so you can get at the seams easily. Then you can pinch them in and pin, or easily rip a bit of stitching out and let them out, or even slide the two pieces apart and pin. And write on it – add an inch here, or draw lines on it. Take photos. It’s a working thing not a facsimile of your garment. This is easier to achieve with a person who can pin for you where you can’t reach – they don’t need to know what they are doing if they are willing to follow your instructions, but it’s useful to have a seing buddy if you can find one.
      I am very passionate about this and I am giving a lecture on it in a few weeks at a national symposium, with live models in toiles. should be fun!

      • Trying on inside out – such a great tip!

      • Inside out works for me too! And also using safety pins to stop me ending up looking like I’ve been pulled through a bramble hedge when I take it off…

      • Julie Tate says:

        If you put right sides together and try on inside out, you are fitting the right side of the garment to the left side of your body and vice versa. I prefer to baste wrong sides together and then try on. This way the seams are still on the outside and the garment is on the correct side for fitting.

  14. Hayley says:

    I’m confused about fabric types as only have one fabric shop near me which sells mainly quilting and curtain fabric so am a bit scared to order online as not sure which are thin fabrics and which would look like curtains. A glossary of types would be useful such as voile,poplin,lawn etc

    • This is such a good idea, Hayley! One fabric swatch a week, just explaining what the heck it is. Fabric Focus! I’d learn a lot, too.

      • This is exactly what I was going to say! I am clear on some but not on others – what makes some cottons tana lawn for eg – seems to be only thing Liberty prints are made of on eBay. Problem is though that it’s rather difficult to transcribe the real article to online description. Unless you can feel or see some fabrics, no matter how eloquently one paints a verbal picture of them, I’m not sure i would be able to find them without help. My local fabric shop is also mostly upholstery, and I fear making myself look like a sofa without meaning to …

  15. Maggie says:

    I am only recently returning to garment sewing after decades away from it. I have been scouring the sewing blogs, and I admit some of these terms were a mystery, but for most things you can find the answers on search engines. I think most people are used to doing that, so no need to explain every term in every post. Maybe you could do periodic posts aimed at beginners to help them to catch up?

  16. Sewer From Across the Pond says:

    Karen:
    It’s very nice of you to take a break to go back to basics, and of course this is your blog to do with what you will, but there’s absolutely need for a blog to be all things to all people. The strength of the best blogs is found in presenting a particular point of view consistently. We’re on the web, it’s not as if readers can’t look up stuff. (I see that Maggie just said that.)

    I still read a fair number of blogs and occasionally pick up information about a useful tool, but I learn most from IRL interaction: taking classes in which I’m taught and corrected while performing techniques or getting fitting help, because I can’t fit myself. I also find that if I only stick with blogs I flit from one idea to another, sometimes never settling down. If I take a class, there’s a prescribed set of techniques. If I hire someone to help me with fitting, there of course is a built-in focus.

    Cheers.

    • Good point! Though I love the fact that even opening up this conversation is allowing readers to exchange information and advice in the comments. Bring it on, my friends!

      • Sewer From Across the Pond says:

        True enough. i just gave an outline of the muslin process. But it’s hard to understand at the specificity necessary without being shown. And then even if you understand the mechanics, most people need someone to fit them unless they have a dress form padded to their exact dimensions. No tutorial or book can show everyone’s fitting needs and especially, how they present themselves on a particular body.

        Not trying to be discouraging, just realistic. A while ago, I was reading a blog that I usually enjoy very much and the author told beginners that they didn’t need to buy a French curve in order to draft a skirt. Sorry, you need a French curve and a hip curve.

    • I agree re fitting and the need for someone else in the room. It’s so difficult otherwise.

      • Interesting. French curves are fabbo and I am a recent convert to their use, but I made hundreds of garments, many tailored, for 30 years before I had even seen one let alone used it. In my experience, you don’t need any fancy tools to sew. They are useful and some are fun and a pleasure to use also, but one does not need them πŸ™‚

  17. Janette says:

    I started learning to sew about a year and half ago and found the sewing blogs invaluable! I would love to see lessons from you in your wonderful writing style. specifically, I’m now at the stage where I need to improve my fitting. This is so confusing. I can have a muslin and even if I can figure out roughly where it needs to be adjusted, I don’t know how to transfer that to the paper pattern.

  18. Karen says:

    I love your blog – it is one of the first I followed! I would agree that fitting helps would be great. When you differ from the standard clothes for sale, you often differ from the basic patterns, too. I followed your pyjama tutorial just a few weeks ago to make some summer pyjams. I think basic sewalongs like that are really great since a beginner can go back later and still follow along! I also saw that you had taken a class and found a teacher to lead you through a sewn garment. Could you offer any suggestions on where to find teachers? Thanks so much for the fun blog!

  19. I think fitting techniques are even more important than sewing techniques. How many people at the beginning make an item of clothing that looks great on the table and really crappy on them as it just doesn’t fit right? I know I did- several times over!! It was SO disheartening. And can be a stopping point for some sewers. I wanted to sew clothes for me- and better results came from understanding my body’s shape, and so was ultimately more about fitting.

  20. Irene says:

    I started sewing one and a half year ago and I am now to a point where I am not scared to try new techniques and new patterns, so I agree with tania above that the process of fitting is now more important for me that sewing techniques (although I would welcome explanations on the lining/ underlining process). The focus now is more one fitting, I am not satisfied with so-and-so fitting, I aspire to really good fitting result.

  21. Helen Johnstone says:

    This post cheered me up. I am where you were, reading blogs and trying to find the courage (and time) to start sewing again. The whole making your own pattern thing freaks me out completely. As for the challenge of trying to find fabric when the nearest fabric shop is over an hour away and I am left with wading through the web. I have decided to start with some simple drawstring pyjama trousers for my sons (adults) as I was inspired by the Great british sewing book but now I am told the pattern is rubbish. So my little bit of courage has been battered again and like tania I need serious help with understanding fitting. I have a little bit of a tum on me these days so how on earth so I get a skirt to take this into account – gathered skirts dont suit me so I want fitted A line or pencil but I am too scared to take scissors to material

  22. Roobeedoo says:

    “Insert the zip”: three words which frightened me then and frighten me still!

    • I’m not sure that fear ever goes away!

      • LinB says:

        Not for at least 46 years, in my experience. I’d rather do a double row of 37 buttonholes any day than insert a zipper. Although zips are really insanely simple, when you finally bring yourself to insert one. And they are a reliably secure fastener.

  23. AnotherKaren says:

    Six months into my sewing adventure and I was ready to give up. It suddenly dawned on me that when pattern companies say that a pattern is ‘Easy’ or when the people on Pattern Review say ‘Even a complete novice could tackle this’ they mean that the SEWING bits are straightforward. I’ve never had much trouble with the sewing bits anyway – and what I don’t know I can look up on Youtube, a blog or my books.

    And then I came across your post on Vogue 1179. Thank you for it. You pointed me in the direction of a quick, easy-to-fit, easy to sew dress and it was DKNY too. I got it, I made it, I loved it and I made it again, and then a top and then another dress. With each version I got better and better at understanding my body quirks, tweaking my Swedish tracing paper copy, feeling that I was moving forward. It gave me back my confidence and reminded me of why I wanted to climb this hill.

    It went downhill when I started buying so-called ‘Amazing Fit’ and ‘Today’s Fit’ patterns. Like hell they were! I scoured your archives and found the Portfolio dress and a brilliant sew-along at another site. Thank you again. I was back on my feet and trudging up that hill with a spring in my step and a song in my heart (“The Only Way is Up, Baby”). It was something wearable, comfortable, interesting to sew and satisfying – but more importantly, I enjoyed the learning, tweaking and making it my own.

    I am currently sitting at the bottom of the hill once more, looking for signposts or someone with a map or a GPS to pass by. That’s you.

  24. suth2 says:

    Love the way your blog generates so much discussion and helpful advice. Thank you.

  25. zora read says:

    So much discussion here, One thing I have found over the years is to keep trying the garment on at every stage possible. I think that fitting a garment is one of the most difficult stages to learn, and how to accommodate your own body’s quirks and foibles to achieve a garment that looks made for you. A good sewing book and sewing blogs are invaluable for ideas on how to achieve this.

    • LinB says:

      And remember to check multiple sources. Don’t just rely on one trusted advisor or book for guidance. Your particular fitting solution may be addressed in unexpected places … it’s even worth reading Victorian and Edwardian sewing manuals for advice.

  26. I’m struggling choosing material, it sounds so simple but its so intimidating walking into big fabric shop thinking, righ,t where’s the gabardine! I no longer drag my 3 year old with me and avoid the pay anddisplay fabric shop as time and rummage ability are a neccessity! Never heard of FBA before so I’m off for a read x thanks for the help!

  27. Fitting is a PITA. That is not a sewing specific term! I’m giving a lecture on it, I wonder if it can be videoed. Hmm. My photographer of Win is one of my models so that was dumb wasn’t it.
    I am going to at least post about it with as many photos as I can. We’re using Simplicity 2648, which is not an amazing fit it turns out, and B4443. Both I chose as they have princess seams, which is a great line for getting a close and comfortable fit.
    I also think that blogs are awesome but classes and sewing in company are really, really important. Observing people doing something is an amazing way to add to your learning. On Sunday I took a private class for two, in which they learned about 20 processes between them. NO way could we have got through that much learning without getting down and sewing. I was able to judge just how much extra info I could pack into their heads, which it turns out was heaps. And I could immediately spot rabbit holes too, and avert them.
    I’ve learned a lot from the blogosphere – new tools, tips and techniques, it’s been amazing. But I am also conscious that a lot of what goes around is too technical and overly complex and I see people trying to analyse things too much and not get hands on, and sewing with others really helps to get past that. πŸ™‚

    • I agree with every single thing you’ve said here. I got to a stage sewing home alone, where I just KNEW it was time to take a class and get a teacher involved.

      • Learning from a teacher rocks, learning jsut from sewing with other people rocks in a different way too πŸ™‚ But really, tifftoffee below put it much better. Too much information, too much overthinking, not enough sewing and getting hands on. I want people to forget every term they ever heard about technical pattern making and get hands on with their own bodies and makes, and learn from the process of exploring what happens when you move something or tweak something. Then you know it at a heart level not just an intellectual level.
        None of this devalues the learning of technical stuff people have benefitted from of course! πŸ™‚

  28. tifftoffee says:

    I am sort of new to sewing and i’m finally finding my feet. I actually think the problem is there is just too much information right now! I find that the most intimidating.

    I started sewing a few years ago when I knew nothing about grainlines or drape or pretty much anything. Needless to say everything looked terrible, but I still wore it had fun. I stopped sewing for a while and decided to come back to it… I read a lot of sewing blogs and well, I became terrified of sewing. Is my fabric perfectly on grain? Did I do the SBA completely right? Have I made enough muslins? In the end the pressure became so much that I just wasn’t sure if I was ever sewing ‘correctly’.
    Now I just sew and I have learnt so much more by just sewing. I don’t make muslins and sometimes things are a little tight or loose around some areas. Now I can kind of eyeball when something will be a bit of a problem for me. And by sewing more some things just become automatic. I used to often forget to sew darts in (I know!) but now it’s automatic – look for darts, sew, next step.
    The other thing is I think people need to remember that they are sewing for themselves, not for others. I strove for perfect fit at the beginning but then I realised I only did that because I was scared people will notice I didn’t do a perfect SBA before I sewed something! Honestly no one cares in the end and no one will pull you over for it. Once I nearly threw a perfectly good skirt into the incomplete pile because I noticed I had not finished some raw edges in the seam. In the end I retrospectively zigzagged it, and no one came to hunt me down and the world didn’t explode.

    So I really wish the sewing community would just stress the importance of just sewing. I know that doesn’t make for a great post, but that is honestly the only advice I wish I was given. Now I realise I was scared by nothing at all :).

    By the way: I love your blog! I really like how you acknowledge the ‘not so good’ bits of sewing and blogging. A lot of blogs only show successes and I felt like such a failure whenever I did something wrong. It’s good to know that the process is bumpy for everyone!

    • This is a great comment! If you don’t already, you should definitely read the blogs So Zo and Tilly and the Buttons because they both approach sewing with an ‘anyone can have a go’ take that I think you’d enjoy. So Zo is certain that muslins/toiles kill the creative joy of sewing. She has a point and there is room in this world of ours for all approaches. You’re quite right – none of what we do is going to get us arrested, even by the fashion police!

  29. maddie says:

    We are in this together. You’re so right!

    Because I worked in tech design, some of the terminology I use isn’t said anywhere else except in the industry. Great idea to ask readers what they don’t understand and what you can clarify. You’re awesome!

  30. jackielb79 says:

    I’ve been sewing for about a year, but it’s been very disrupted and I only have a couple of skirts to my name so still consider myself a rank beginner.

    I’ve found the few times I’ve started a blouse or a top, I can *never* get the sleeves in. No idea what I’m doing, but I usually end up with one being inches bigger than the other.

    I am *loving* the online sewing community though. I spend waaaay more time reading blogs than actually sewing myself, but bit by bit all the collective tips and inspiration keep me motivated to keep going when I have those “now just how the eff does that work” moments at my machine.

  31. jackielb79 says:

    *snorts* And WordPress is being VERY weird with comment registration – the link in my previous comment is going to some random blog that is NOT mine – this comment should have the right link lol.

  32. I am new to the world of sewing blogs and have yours and a few others in my Reader now. My favourite thing to see posted is the projects that folk have made. Often the pattern envelopes are very uninspiring, but seeing the garment made up and modelled by a real life person throws a whole new light on it. It has really helped me to pick the patterns I want to make. The other bonus has been discovering indie designers such as Colette and the fabulous Sewaholic creations for pear shaped girls just like me. Keep doing what you do, just as you do it. It works for me.

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  34. Liz says:

    I am partway through my first sewn clothing since a disastrous unfinished attempt at a blouse nearly 20 years ago. When I say partway through, I mean I’ve tacked two seams and then retreated to the safer territory of knitting!

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