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Jan 25, 2010



I am trying to learn how to use my sewing machine so let me know if you get any good beginner books!

Anna S

I'm interested to see what books are recommended also! I just bought a sewing machine this summer with grand ideas of sewing a new Renaissance Faire costume. Needless to say, I now have a lot of nice silk in weirdly shaped pieces in my stash! I need to start simpler I guess =)


I JUST learnt to crochet...and have progressed from faceclothes to making little flowers...
JUST blogged about them this morning...
I love the Amanda Soule book, she's got 2...but the first one is easy to follow and has some cute ideas.

In Honor Of Design

I need to learn how to use the sewing machine I just got as well...
I learned the beginnings from my mom.
Looking forward to seeing what you make with yours!


I have newly learnt how to import clay making skills to make some really fun projects. It is very exciting for me! It takes a little place and little tools to do it. (you know Hong Kong flats are so small!)

Anjuli A

I recently taught myself to knit an intarsia pattern, which was really not as hard as I'd always thought! I like to try some new technique with every knitting project I do - last time it was cables, and before that it was knitting in the round. I have my great-grandmother's old 1960 sewing machine (super heavy!) and it definitely took some trial-and-error to sew fabric without jamming the needle or making crooked seams... but I'm sure you'll get the hang of it soon!


Ooo - congrats!! =-D You will probably LOVE sewing, once you get the hang of it. I have vintage machines, too (including one like you talked about: the 50 pound "conveniently portable" model by Singer).

For inspiration, you have to check the Make it and Love It blog here: http://makeitandloveit.blogspot.com/

Happy sewing!


I recently took a sewing class with a friend too and loved it. I haven't gotten an opportunity to sew as much since as I would like, but I can't wait to do more!

Kristen- Marinade Handmade

I have "Bend the Rules Sewing" by Amy Karol (aka. Angry Chicken) and I love it! Lots of good info and beginners projects. Also a fan of the "Built By Wendy" books. Easy garment projects for beginners, plus lots of cute, customizable clothes... Have fun! I have my mom's Robin's Egg Blue 1960s Singer Sewing Machine and it's fantastic! ")


Awesome Jena!

My sewing machine is currently living at someone else's house and I can't wait to get it back. Once you get the sewing itch, it never leaves!

I second the recommendation of Amy Karol's Bend the Rules of Sewing. I think you would also really like Simple Sewing by Lotta Jansdotter (http://www.powells.com/biblio/1-9780811852579-0) and Weekend Sewing by Heather Ross (http://www.powells.com/biblio/1-9781584796756-0). Heather's book has a really great section on sewing 101.

Can't wait to see your first project!


Love it that you are getting into sewing after a long time... I started at age 4, learned the machine in junior high home ec., and haven't looked back since! :)

This year it was my New Year's resolution (after years and years of knitting scarves, mitts, and hats) to knit a sweater... and I'm happy to say January 16th I finished my first one! Horray for achieved goals ! I started my second one last night.

I have every confidence that you will turn out to be a fantastically creative seamstress. :)

Long time reader, first time commentor.


You sound like me. I learned in 7th grade, but was never very inspired. The beautiful fabrics and cool tools I've seen revived my interest. Look at this site: http://sew4home.com/ for lots of tutorials and how-tos.


How exciting for you to be getting into sewing! It's so satisfying to be able to make something yourself. I agree with the other commenters who recommended "Bend the Rules Sewing"... definitely a clear and fun introduction for beginners. :)

Miss Modish

Oh awesome ladies! Thanks for all the book and site tips so far- I'll checking them all out!

Saucy Bird/Kathleen

I've heard Bend The Rules is good - you might also check out Sew Everything Workshop by Diana Rupp: http://www.amazon.com/Sew-Everything-Workshop-Diana-Rupp/dp/0761139737/ref=sr_1_8?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1264453316&sr=8-8

Have fun! :)


Sewing is fun- glad you've started up! The reader's digest guide is a good basic manual. Are you planning on making clothes or crafts? A tote bag is a great first project - just straight lines!

Mallory @ MissMalaprop

Check out the Sew U books by Wendy Mullins (of Built By Wendy fame!). She has some basic patterns that are easily adaptable for just about any wardrobe, but she also explains a lot of great info about the basics of sewing. I sort of learned to sew the ad-hoc way, and so I feel like there's still a lot of technical stuff I never learned, but that book is great for explaining all those little details.


Although it's still within my medium, I've begun working in 3 dimensions with my fabric instead of 2 - and I'm really loving it!

Up above are some great links to simple books, i can't add to that. I can add a great blog that has LOTS of fun tutorials, as well as all sorts of sewing related stuff, called Sew Mama Sew!
Actually, with your blog post title - maybe you've already come across it! ;-)


i mainly did internet searches when i started. a good site for free instructions is http://www.freeneedle.com/

and thepurlbee.com always has really cute projects.


I've been learning jewelry making over the past year. This is my favorite thing I've made.

Sewing is always up there on my list, I really appreciate your readers' suggestions for books. I'm sure most everyone is familiar with Burda but my sister just pointed it out to me recently and I'm so inspired...

and I'm starting a painting class tomorrow. can't even draw a stick figure so this might be a total disaster, but you never know.


I have started a Grandmothers Garden quilt for my 1 year old daughter...i think it will take me 18 years to make as its all hand sewn..but its my first bit of quilting and i am loving it...when i get the chance to sit down that is :) http://bit.ly/ckRfVV


I have some rudimentary sewing skills and a very vintage Singer that I use to hem pants on occasion. I recently sewed my very first zipper! I was always so intimidated by them and when I discovered my machine really doesn't take too well to having a zipper foot put on, I actually hand stitched the zipper on! I was so very proud of myself - it came out great!

Emily Rose

Sewing is one of the most satisfying things I have ever taught myself to do. its super exciting for somebody to come up to you and say "I LOVE YOUR SHIRT, where did you get it? Its such fabulous fabric! It fits you so well!" and you can reply "I made it!" I'm a big girl, and the type of clothes I like to wear don't come in sizes I can buy. But now I have an awesome wardrobe of exactly what I like to wear!

I very much recommend getting into the community at http://www.burdastyle.com - awesome free or very inexpensive patterns, and awesome tips.

You are in Portland, right? GO TO FABRIC DEPOT, GO RIGHT NOW!!!!!!! Or try to go to one of their sales! I bought 10 yards of silver silk for my wedding dress for 90 DOLLARS when they had a big 40% off everything sale. They have them frequently and will update you on their email list. I drive down to Portland just to go there! (I'm in Seattle.)

Good luck!!!!


Oh, and my two favorite books are:
the better homes and gardens sewing book http://www.amazon.com/Better-Homes-Gardens-Sewing-Book/dp/B000AQEDIY

and the Simplicity sewing book, an awesome 70's book with great pictures (the third book down on this page):


this one is coming to me as we speak:


and wendy mullins of built by wendy has a new book coming out:


she also did this one:


and one with knits, but i'm scared of knits.

most important? have fun!!

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