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Learning to Sew

Updated: Apr 15, 2022

Beginning to Sew

Coming from a family of dressmakers and tailors I had thought that I should be able to take on a sewing project like a breeze. I was wrong. Instead my mind was filled with anxiety as I embarked on my first project. Just the idea of flipping that switch on that the noisy drill of the machine filled my head with thoughts of everything and anything that could go wrong. What if I stitch incorrectly; what if I sew the wrong side of the fabric, or sew the arms together or worse still sew through my finger and end up with the needle stuck followed by a trip to A&E. Thoughts of cutting the fabric were not that much better - I could cut outside of the lines then the finished product wouldn’t look right.

Such anxieties aside I thought its best to start simple. For my first project I chose to sew a pillowcase. I had found a pretty robust pure off-white cotton fabric. The fabric was simple with no “wrong side”. The absence of any bold patterns meant there was no need to match when joining the edges. Cutting out the fabric I was careful to stick to lines outlined to make the pillow. The fabric was folded on the edge twice so I had cut the two square pieces to make the pillow in one cut. The two pieces were identical - clever part of sewing – making things simple. I matched white thread to the pillowcase as it was easy to purchase without having to be too specific to get the exact colour match of the pillowcase. I threaded the machine in accordance with the instructions. By the time I was ready to start sewing with my fabric pieces, I simply had to press the pedal and I was away. Pillowcase completed within a day. Actually cutting incorrectly or selecting the wrong side wasn’t the main difficulties. In the end the what was my sticking points? Being pleased with my newly straight stitch only to find I had run out of bobbin thread which meant nothing was actually stitched together so I had to add more thread to the bobbin and re-stitch the entire line.

My take home after my first project was that the actually sitting at the machine and sewing was the shorter part of the entire thing. Cutting out the fabric and setting up the machine took more time.

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