I have wanted a sewing machine for a while but I had been putting it off, but a few days ago I decided to get myself a sewing machine. This is my first project.
Choosing a new sewing machine
There are a wide range of machines on the market and it is easy to become overwhelmed when looking for a sewing machine. As a complete beginner, I had absolutely no idea what I was buying. Drawing on my only previous experience sewing, I really wanted a computerised machine and I was also won over to the Janome brand by my previous positive experience with a Janome machine. I therefore did very little research really and jumped straight in with a Janome 230DC, which seemed the best compromise between price and features. I was very excited once I had ordered the machine and it was then time to choose a first project.
Choosing a project
Typing the words ‘Free sewing pattern’ into google returned the V&A museum page very high on the list, with a free pattern to make a Mary Quant style mini dress. Since this was free and came with complete video instructions on how to make the dress, I didn’t think too hard about choosing this as my first project. I had envisioned making clothes from the moment I bought the machine, so this seemed an idea way to start and learn.
Choosing some fabric
It was then that I realised with a sewing machine on the way, I had no fabric to sew. At this point I had no idea where people even get fabric from and I don’t know anything about fabric. So once again google was the answer here and a quick google search reveals Minerva crafts right at the top of the list. Navigating to site site and typing in shirting cotton, as advised by the pattern I was immediately presented with the coral rayon shirting fabric which I purchased, lured in by the reduced price, great value at £2.99 per meter. Adding also some interfacing to my cart, I checked out and waited patiently for my fabric to arrive and start sewing.
Fabric arrives and I start sewing
So when the fabric arrived I was a bit surprised to find the plastic like feel to the fabric. This is the danger of ordering fabric online I have learned. You can’t really tell what your are going to get, especially if you aren’t familiar with fabric types, as I am not. You can of course order a sample but I was far too impatient for that and I wanted to get started straight away. Anyway, this fabric would be good for a craft project (I used it to line a pencil case later on) but I wouldn’t choose it for a dress. I decided to use it anyway however, as I didn’t have anything else.
While I had been waiting for the fabric to arrive I had taken the time to print the pattern and stick it together. This was quite a major job in itself and I hadn’t managed to get everything lined up perfectly. I continued on regardless and got the pattern pinned to my new fabric (after washing the fabric of course.)
At this point I was ready to start cutting. It was then when I came across my next challenge. I only had a pair of kitchen scissors. These did not even cut the fabric at all, they just mangled it all up. So back online I found a pair of fabric shears, ordered them, but had to wait three more days for delivery of those. At the same time I ordered some buttons as I had also realised I needed those.
After the scissors finally arrived I was able to start cutting. Everything progressed pretty smoothly from that point as the instructions were very clear and the video was extremely well produced and very helpful for a beginner such as myself.
It took me more than two weeks in total, although most of that was waiting for deliveries of supplies. I didn’t really know what I was getting into when I started this, but I learned so much as progressed through and was so satisfied once I finished. There area few wrinkles here and there but overall I am very pleased that I managed to persist through. I learned something about choosing the right kind of fabric as I would definitely not have chosen this if I had seen it in person before buying it. I learned that I should be more organised and plan the materials I need before ordering them I and I learned a lot of new sewing techniques including preparing a pattern, cutting, applying interfacing, using facings in fact too many things to list as everything was brand new to me. I really enjoyed this project and would like to try again one day in the future once my skills improved and I look forward to my next project.