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Sewing Tuesday 1

Posted on Tuesday, January 24th, 2012

Dave!My online sewing classes have started!

I learned to sew when I was pretty young. My grandmother thought it was important that I be able to mend a hole in a shirt or hem a pair of pants, so she taught me the basics. Over the years I've made use of my sewing skills from time to time. Usually to fix a piece of clothing I've ripped up, but sometimes to do something interesting. Like make a Halloween costume...

Dave and Mr. Flibble

Dave as Avitable's MURDER CLOWN!

But I've grown rusty over the years, and the last thing I want to do is embarrass myself in front of my grandmother the next time I have to use her sewing machine.

And sew (heh heh) I signed up for an e-course over at Whipstitch Modern Sewing called "Essential Sewing." It sounded like exactly what I needed to get my confidence back and hone my skills for whatever sewing-related emergencies might come up. The itinerary is surprisingly comprehensive, and takes six weeks to complete (all for the ridiculous bargain price of $179!).

The e-course started with an intro video yesterday.

It's nothing like I thought it would be.

It's actually fun.

That's because Deborah isn't content to just throw out instructions, her videos are all about getting everybody excited about sewing. And she's funny...

NOTE: Deborah doesn't actually say this. I'm paraphrasing.

Students started out by introducing ourselves, talking about our sewing experience, then telling everybody our "sewing fantasy"... what we aspire to do once we've completed the course. My fantasy is to be able to neatly extend sleeves on shirts and jackets when I can't find them in "Tall" sizes (which is all the time). Fingers crossed that Deb will make all my fantasies come true!*

Tonight was the second video where Deborah starts digging into the tools you'll need. Like scissors...

Deborah Says These scissors suck!
NOTE: Deborah doesn't actually say this. I'm paraphrasing again.

Apparently, when it comes to scissors, ideally you want eight long hard inches of steel. I was kind of embarrassed when I had to tell everybody in the class that I'm packin' two inches of soft aluminum... with pink plastic handles...

Dave's Pink Scissors

What I didn't have the guts to share is that my grandmother's sewing machine is like... sixty years old or something. Oh well. It totally works...

Grandma's Sewing Machine

From there we went on to learning about irons...

When it comes to irons... you'll want it hot, heavy, and steamy!
NOTE: Deborah doesn't actually say this. She SHOULD though, right?

Oh yeah!

When I signed up for the class, I was excited about becoming a better seamstress seamster(?), but kind of dreading having to do the work to actually get there. But now? After only two videos, I am completely psyched to dig in and learn to sew stuff good!

I've decided to post my progress on Tuesday of each week. THAT aught to be interesting.

In the meanwhile, if you want to join in on the class (or take a look at the classes offered for all experience levels)... click here to visit the Whipstitch e-course page! Then prepare to have your world rocked**.


*I'd be dubious, but she wouldn't be the first woman putting videos on the internet that have promised to make my fantasies come true, then delivered on that promise!

**Or at least nicely tailored.

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  1. Kailyn says:

    I learned to sew from my mother at age seven. Learned well enough that my first job was in a fabric store. And those scissors with the orange grips? Yeah, they totally suck. As soon as I could, I used my employee discount and got myself a pair of Gingher. Have a screw in the middle so you can take them to the guy to have them sharpened.

    No need to be embarrassed about machines though. Unless you don’t take care of it. I oil my machine on a regular basis. Heh. Next time in class you should say that. One of my friends recently got a really fancy machine. All I need mine to do is a straight stitch, zigzag and buttonholes. When I worked in fabric stores, I’d use the sergers there for finishing.

    And she’s also right about irons. I used to go cheap there. No more. If you can’t press that seam correctly while you’re sewing, then why bother? I also hope she mentioned the importance of proper padding on your ironing board. Sometimes that little cover is not enough. Sometimes my mama would add a towel to get the proper padding. Just an idea though.

  2. Invader_Stu says:

    Brilliant Rimmer costume.

  3. Tiphaine says:

    Hey There,
    I am your “colleague” at whipstitch !! Nice to meet you !! Just a quick word because you made me laugh this morning !!! I will stop by now and then since I have discovered your blog !!!

  4. the muskrat says:

    I can’t wait til you complete it…we can go to Italy together to get fabric, and then I’ll have you make me a nice suit for a fraction of what I’d pay at the store! Was hoping my wife would do this with me at some point, but I’ve given up, so now I’m asking you.

  5. john says:

    I have enough knowledge of sewing to be able to repair a hole, replace a button and hem a pair of pants. I certainly don’t know how to construct a garment.

    Despite this, I am lucky to possess some great sewing tools. I have three pairs of shears that fit the 8″ of steel requirement. They are the sharpest things known to man! The first time I touched the blade, it peeled off skin. I also have a mean pair of pinking shears. My mom sews and uses the same machine she has had since she got married nearly 60 years ago and it still works like a charm.

    I do, however, use my orange handled Fiskars (the orange handled scissors) on paper all the time, but I sharpen them all the time.

    Good luck in your class!

  6. A. Lewis says:

    2 inches of pink….really??? Oh dear. I’ve got a couple of ideas for things you can sew for me. I’m not sure they’ll let you make them in class… public, you know…..

  7. Shannan says:

    Hi Dave – I’m also one of your colleagues at the online sewing class. You totally intrigued me and I was glad that you included links to your Halloween costumes. I love that a single, straight man in his 40’s is taking a sewing class – very cool.And your halloween costumes? Wow – pretty impressive. I love your recap of the class and like you I am very excited about all the things she promises to teach us. Oh – you must post pictures of your scissors on the flikr group once she starts. So funny. I’m originally from Seattle, WA and wondered what part of central WA you currently live in.
    Well that’s enough for now – I’ll definitely check back in with you on your Tuesday recaps.

  8. Shannan says:

    Oh and I forgot to mention that the first sewing machine I learned on (two years ago!) was a Singer 1960’s machine that looks a lot like yours. I’ve taken it to be serviced by sewing professionals and they ooh and ahh over it because it is a solid (very heavy) machine. They all tell me to hold on to it because it is really the best machine out there for most types of sewing. So I’m keeping it and even though I have a computerized machine that i’m currently using I’m going to teach my sons on the old Singer.

  9. Sybil Law says:

    I love that you’re taking this class! I would do it, but I don’t have a sewing machine at all. I should probably change that…

  10. so excited for you!
    looking forward to watching the process…

  11. sizzle says:

    That sounds like a lot of fun. I love that you sew.

  12. Avitable says:

    I don’t even own a pair of scissors, but someday I want to take her class. Her book was so approachable, even for newbies, that I’m sure the class would be just as fantastic.

  13. claire says:

    I’m totally intrigued by the idea of extending sleeves. It’d be pretty awesome to be able to tailor your own clothes since I have height/fit issues too, but I’m not sure I have the patience for it.

    Your grandmother’s sewing machine looks rock solid, probably loads better than the cheap plastic of an intro machine now. Be proud! 🙂

  14. Deborah says:

    I think that sewing machine ROCKS! Singer, yes? I had an older gentleman, who does the upkeep on his wife’s TWELVE Singer treadle machines, tell me there’s nothing you can do to an old model Singer that a little WD-40 won’t fix. Some of hers are 100 years old, and she uses them every day.

    You might not have some of the buttons I’m going to show you next week, however. Still! Vintage chic!

  15. What a great post!

    Hope you have a blast with the sewing lessons.

    Your machine is a beauty btw … Most likely it’s Japanese made – Janome bought New Home in late 50s early 60s – It is a real workhorse – I have a new Brother but I still press my 1957 Novum into service when I want really consistent stitching and speed … man, it goes at a lick!

    Now I need to go and do something to get the image of that Halloween clown out of my head before bedtime!

  16. Etienne says:

    OMG! I have my grandmother’s old ‘New Home’ sewing machine from the 1950’s and have done may projects with it, too. As someone else used the term “heavy”, mine feels like it made from elements of a of a collapsed star as it feels nearly like it is almost unmovable and requires real determination to set it up. After that, it still works like a charm, though.

  17. Faiqa says:

    This course is on my bucket list, and this is good because there are only about three things on it: take a professional world class photographs, initiate global nuclear disarmament, find a low calorie substitute to nutella that doesn’t compromise on taste and learn how to sew. (BTW, I had no idea you made those costumes — that is truly impressive!)

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