Sewing 101

Thursday, April 29, 2010

For 3 weeks now, I've been taking an adult continuing education sewing class. It's a 4 week course, and they teach you the basics of sewing and you get to complete a project.  Since this is my first time sewing, our instructor Roberta, recommended that we pick something simple like an elastic pants, skirts, or pj pants.  I chose to do  elastic pajama pants!!

So for the first class I needed a sewing machine...and if you've never purchased a sewing machine before the task can be kind of daunting.  Some families pass machines down from generation to generation, but I had to buy my own.  Did you know sewing machines can cost upwards of $3000???  For that much the machine better know what I want it to do before I know what I want it to do! I ended up purchasing a $90 Singer Machine from Target. I like it so far, and I don't need all that fancy stuff just starting out.

When I say I am a sewing novice, that may be an understatement. The last time I've SEEN a sewing machine in person was in my 7th grade home-ec class, and lately I've just been seeing them on TV via  episodes of Project Runway.  Needless to say, threading the machine, winding the bobbin, positioning the bobbin, not breaking the needle while changing stitch patterns, and even using the machine was all new! But now in my 3rd class I think I have the hang of it. 

First I had to pick my pattern.  As mentioned earlier I decided to make PJ Pants, and Roberta recommended Simplicity Patterns as they are one of the easier patterns to follow pattern:
The pattern tells you how much fabric to buy for your size, so once I had the pattern figured out, I went hunting for fabric.  I knew I wanted flannel because those are my favorite kind of pjs.   This is what I chose! I thought it was so me! But of course buying this fabric with this print was mistake number one.  This type of pattern is a "One-Way" print because you don't want to end up with words upside down.  Luckily Roberta gave me the fix for this and now the words read in the right direction. 

I've concluded that pinning pattern paper to fabric is not easy.  It's an aquired skill, because the paper has to be perfectly level with the edge of the fabric, even the slightest slant can mess up your design.  Took me a while to pin my patterns...and I definitely stabbed myself numerous times...

I've also decided that pattern instructions are written in another Greek.  They have little "pictures" to help...but it still wasn't working. I tried to decipher what they were telling me to do...but for fear of messing up going with my own interpretation I wound up just asking Roberta.  Once she explained to me, I was pretty good at executing, it was just initial comprehension issues.

For 3 weeks, I've been carrying around my sewing macine and supplies in a suitcase.  The suitcase works for the machine, but the supplies were getting everywhere. So during Jo-Ann's 50% off Sewing Basket sale I purchased one.  Now my supplies are all together and organized.  I still need to invest in a sewing machine roller case, but at $70, I'll wait for a sale!!

Also, since I want to continue this hobby after the class, I converted my dining room table to a sewing station.  I rarely eat at my dining room table, so why not make use of it?

Last night was my next to last class. I pretty much finished up everything on my pants.  All I have to do now is hem the bottom of the pant legs and add in my elastic.  I'm hoping to finish up my pants early next week to learn how to alter jeans, and add zippers. :-) Then I'm going to pick a new pattern to do...I'm thinking of doing a "skirt"

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