Unless you count the wobbly, unusable attempts made at school, I finally learned how to sew at 20. Forced by the curriculum of my home economics class, previously I’d sewn a shirt that would have only fit a foot-tall person three times as wide. I like to think my skills are a bit better now.
As a craft, sewing is like riding a bike. Once you've got the basics of sewing down, it's hard to forget. Crochet stitches blur together after a while, calligraphy needs constant practise, and knitting – well, let me just say that your intuitive feel for gauge and tension will be pretty rusty after a long break. Sewing still benefits from practice but it's more forgiving. The steep learning curve pays off.
When I finally did learn to sew, I took advantage of magazines, blogs and some of my mother's enduring patience to master the basics. Love Sewing is exactly the sort of magazine that's perfect for a beginner. Every issue has something you can start with.
Each issue of Love Sewing is amazing: full-sized patterns, a huge variation of projects and news you’ll actually enjoy reading prove it's a magazine made for crafters, by crafters. The latest free guide ‘Learn to Love Sewing; Your Invaluable Beginner’s Guide’ is just one of the worthwhile freebies that come with every issue. Invaluable is right; learning as you go, one project at a time, is the most satisfying way to learn a craft. At least in my experience.
A few dozen projects later, my sewing kit includes a few typical and some atypical bits and bobs that have proven their worth:
- Pinking scissors, for cute and durable seam allowance
- Dressmaking scissors
- Safety pins (I'm a bit clumsy, so I use these if something needs to be pinned for a while, e.g. in storage)
- A multitude of rulers (clear plastic, wood, and metal)
- A giant self-healing cutting mat
- A bone folder for creasing seam allowance before ironing
- Plenty of bobbins, so I can easily switch thread colours in my machine
- Spare machine needles - essential!
- Quality thread - spend a few more pennies for quality - your machine will thank you
- A few seam rippers, because mistakes happen
- 2B pencil & fabric marker for tracing patterns
- A cute DIY pincushion
Sewing is creative, practical and methodical all at once. There’s a meditative flow to the process of ironing, cutting, sewing, ironing, trimming, sewing… Love Sewing understands that process well and it shows. Practical tips and easy-to-use patterns mean you can enjoy the flow of making something beautiful, practical and tactile that is far removed from everything digital.
Saying that though, sewing machines can have some seriously cool features. (Love Sewing reviews them too!)
Do you sew? What's your favourite source of inspiration?