Sewing is not only a craft or hobby, it is a skill.
Not only that, it has so many layers to it and just keeps on giving as each decade or generation passes: from upcycling a garment to fit in with new fashions as a teenager to sewing toys or patchwork quilts for your grandchildren, it is worth learning sewing techniques for all the rewards they bring over the course of a lifetime.
Whether you decide to learn how to thread by hand or you opt for machine sewing, there’s a heap of information to learn!
What’s interesting is that sewing, whilst hugely popular among women during the early 1900s, became less in vogue in the 80s, 90s and through the millennium. However, despite being seen as an old-fashioned tool or trade by young millennials, crafting has soared in popularity again over the last decade. I can’t help thinking that the rise of personal shops like eBay and Etsy are contributing factors in this increase in uptakers, because there now seems to be a big call for homemade, personalised items.
More and more people are setting up craft businesses in their homes, selling items on online shops like Etsy. Photo credit: Roebot on Visualhunt / CC BY-SA
Sewing, these days, incorporates home decor (i.e. soft furnishings) sewing, quilting, embroidery, upcycling, toy sewing, and much more.
For instance, with nothing but a cheap or mini sewing machine (no need for an industrial sewing machine just yet!), you can turn basic household items into unique features and really make your home living space your own.
Jazz up cushions with your own embroidered messages and slogans, add fringing to your boring bedspread, or take up those curtains you bought on a whim that ended up being far too long. You can even make your own original accessories like a tea cosy, tissues holder, coasters, bunting and whatever else takes your fancy – these make great gifts for any occasion too. That’s this year’s Christmas presents sorted then!
Also, do you have a wedding coming up? Did you know that you can attend sewing workshops for hen parties (or as we’d like to call them: “hem parties”!) during which you can make bridal items like a veil or a garter?
One other advantage of becoming a master of the seam, and probably one of the most important, is the savings it can offer. This applies to saving the world as well as saving your wallet or purse strings!
By using your newfound skill to make alterations to old clothes, handbags, accessories, toys, and home decor items, you are in effect giving trash items a new lease of life, saving them from being scrapped. If everyone were to take this approach to their belongings, this would make a significant difference to the amount of trash in our dumps and could impact the effect that this waste has on our planet.
Moreover, saving some cash is another incentive for learning to sew. Why would you want to spend your hard-earned cash on new fashion design if you had a transformed wardrobe every season thanks to your confident and creative sewing efforts?
And if you are scared about learning how to sew, afraid of the needle or how to wind your bobbin up, then don’t fret!
There are many people around the world willing to share their expertise and tips with you. All you need to do is run a basic search on the Internet and you will be inundated with video sewing tutorials and step by step guides!
However, if you would like to implement some structure in your learning journey, then don’t hesitate to hire a tutor to give you a well-rounded and logical explanation of how to get started with this craft. You can find numerous talented individuals either online (like at Superprof), or in your area, running workshops or providing lessons from home.
An ICHF event, Sewing for Pleasure including Fashion & Embroidery is a workshop that was held in March this year at the NEC. The sewing tutorial was designed by experts to allow participants to unleash the creativity within them and to inspire and fill them with ideas to take forward. Dubbed a stitcher’s paradise, this course (which covered sewing, knitting, and patchwork as well as embroidery styles) offered hands-on demonstrations and the possibility to learn from experts within the field.
Attendees were wowed by an array of fabrics, yarns patterns, and threads and were taught how to refine their embroidery skills, a very valuable capability in this day and age with embroidered fashion heightened to the max!
Embroidered clothes and home decor items are all the rage right now. Photo on VisualHunt.com
On a course like Introduction To Sewing Juniors, which is designed for children of 6-11 years of age with little or no experience in sewing, you can take steps towards creating an item that appeals to you, such as a soft toy.
For children and adults alike, there is nothing better than taking pride in the fact that you made something by yourself, and what’s more is that you can take this truly personal item home with you to treasure forever (depending on how well you made it!).
Moreover, the skill that you acquired during the process will inspire and enable you to design and make more unique pieces during your lifetime. You never know, a junior course could spark a passion and lead you onto a specific career path that involves sewing!
Beginning quilting is not easy, so enrolling on a course is advised if you want to be happy with your homemade quilt. Adult classes held at the Cadet Training Centre in Birmingham focus on traditional patchwork and quilting methods and are led by Joy Edgington of Pastures New Quilting.
In a supportive environment, participants learn at their own pace using a step by step approach to ensure that everyone builds on their skills and can demonstrate each new technique learnt. The workshops are adapted for all abilities and you can choose from a range of day classes, short courses or monthly programmes. You can tell that this class is a winner just by the number of return students she has going!
For absolute beginners who simply want an introduction to sewing so that they can move forward in any which direction they choose, this entry-level course is great for teaching the basics like how to use a sewing machine.
Taking place on Thursday 5th July 2018, this course is limited to six places and is an introductory workshop into using a sewing machine (or a refresh for those who haven’t used their sewing machines in a while).
During the daytime lesson, you will learn how to set up and thread a sewing machine, recognise the different parts of the machine, change a sewing machine needle, wind the bobbin and set it in the machine, how to change the stitch length, how o guide the fabric when sewing, and much more. During this time, you’ll be taught how to make a basic tote bag, which you can take home with you at the end of the day.
Since there are only half a dozen spaces available, it is wise to call the organiser and see if any places remain or if you can be placed on their waiting list. Alternatively, enquire as to whether they have a newsletter sent out at any time of the month so that you can be kept informed of any future courses that might suit your needs.
You can attend courses which show you how to use a sewing machine. Photo on Visualhunt
Remember, however, that I don’t necessarily have to find a sewing studio on my doorstep in order to find sewing classes near me – I can even take one to one lessons with experienced tutors from the comfort of my own home!
For example, Superprof counts three suitable tutors on its platform, with prices ranging from £8 and hour to £17 an hour.
The least expensive tutor on the records, Sobia, does not hold a qualification in sewing however she is passionate about the craft and is keen to pass on this love for sewing and to help you to improve your abilities. Beverley, who comes in at £15 per hour, is a textiles fashion teacher with almost two decades of experience in this field. Finally, Katherine is an experienced seamstress and costumer who provides beginner sewing lessons to adults and kids, giving you the expertise and inspiration you need to make your own clothes, costumes, pillowcases and tote bags.
Nevertheless, you don’t have to restrict yourself to the instructors based in your city.
While we are sure you will agree that the three tutors listed display a very good range of experiences and skills and all at reasonable prices, you can open yourself up to hundreds more tutors if you are willing to learn your new skill online via a series of emails, illustrations, live video calls and pre-recorded tutorials.
While you can find many of these learning tools online using your own searches, the benefit of having a tutor dedicated to helping you to develop your skills is that they can take control of the learning journey and guide you along the way.
Their experience and knowledge in the field will be passed on in a way that is tailored to your own needs and desires and the best thing is that you can ask all the questions you want! Unlike watching a YouTube video, you can pause the demonstration and ask for something to be repeated or shown again before you proceed to the next step.
So, if you’re still wondering whether to sew, or not sew, then remember this: sewing has been proven to be a great way of stitching your worries away!