Introduction to Sewing

by Stacy Zogheib
A sewing machine makes fast, even stitches.

A sewing machine makes fast, even stitches.

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Historians can trace the origins of the sewing machine back to 1755 when Charles Weisenthal applied for a patent for a needle that that was intended to be used for a certain machine. Since 1755, the art of sewing has expanded to include embroidery machines, long-arm quilting machines and sergers, and ordinary sewing machines. Sewing is a flexible and creative hobby that allows you to turn fabric into beautiful and functional objects.

Why Sew?

People learn to sew for various reasons. You could learn to sew purses or bags and try to replicate products that are online or in a store. Sew clothing to get a custom fit and make garments to fit your unique tastes. Take up quilting because you appreciate the time and creativity that goes into these works of art. Sewing is a hobby that attracts men and women of all ages and from all walks of life.

What to Sew

Sewing can be as simple as using a hand needle and thread to reattach a button or as complex as a patchwork quilt. For your first few sewing project, choose a straightforward pattern. Basic purses, skirts with elastic waistbands, pillows and crib-sized quilts are all excellent first projects. Small projects allow you to practice basic techniques without getting overwhelmed by details. Curtains are also a manageable first project if you have a large enough work area. Once you complete a few smaller projects, start exploring more difficult ones like larger quilts or more fitted garments.

Learning to Sew

Find a friend or relative who can teach you to sew by hand. Alternatively, many stitch guides are available online or in sewing books. To use a sewing machine, first familiarize yourself with how it works. If you have the manual to your machine, read it. Learn what the different levers and buttons do and experiment with different stitch patterns. Practice threading your machine, following the manual carefully. Use scrap fabric and sew straight lines through two or three layers of material. Follow the directions for your first project, work carefully and admire the final product.

Improving your Skills

Improve your sewing skills with practice. Find a project or pattern at your skill level that you like and try to make it. Search the Internet or sewing books to work out unfamiliar techniques. Use the seam ripper to take apart and correct any mistakes you make. Take a class at your local craft shop to learn new techniques. Find friends or relatives who sew and ask them to show you a few tricks. When you sew, there is always something new to learn so you will never get bored.

About the Author

Stacy Zogheib's writing has been published in various online publications. She is a teacher and educator with experience teaching first grade, special education and working with children ages 0 to 3. She has a Bachelor of Arts in elementary and special education from Wittenberg University in Springfield, Ohio and a Master's degree in Early Childhood Education from Northern Arizona University.

Photo Credits

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