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Sewing. . . it sounds simple. But what do you need to know in order to sew successfully? To sit at a machine and sew requires hand, eye, and foot coordination. You must also control not one but two layers of fabric (sometimes more) and sew a consistent distance away from the cut edges of the fabric. And besides sewing a straight line, you must sew concave as well as convex curves.

This is just the tip of the iceberg. You need to know how to hold your scissors when you cut fabric, how to grain the fabric, what size pattern to purchase, how to pin a pattern to the fabric, how to read the information on the pattern envelope, how to follow the pattern instructions, and how to press seams.

You must choose not only fabric for your garment or project, but you must also select the proper sewing machine needle, hand sewing needle, thread, interfacing, as well as an assortment of other notions and trims.

Let’s go a step further. How do you know which fabrics will work best for the garment or project you want to make? Will the fabric need to be preshrunk? Will it need to be underlined or interfaced? What’s the difference? If you’re making a garment, how do you know if it will fit you, if it will be flattering, and if it will be comfortable?

As you get more intrigued with the creative aspects of sewing garments, how do you change pattern style lines? How do you make fitting adjustments? How do you record these adjustments on your pattern? How do you draft patterns? How do you drape patterns? How do you combine different fabrics? How do you combine different garments to get an interesting ensemble?

What fascinates me about sewing is that the choices of sewing techniques, of fabrics, and of styles (patterns) are endless. Rather than being overwhelmed by all these choices, if you can take control of them, the opportunity for creativity is endless.

There’s a direct avenue for taking control of all these choices, and that’s to study and understand the “why” that is behind each decision you need to make. Why should you choose one sewing machine needle over another? Why do pattern seam lines need to be trued? Why is it important to grain fabric? Why are some fabrics harder to work on than others? Why will underlining a specific fabric improve the garment? Why do some garments feel comfortable and others don’t? Why are some garments more flattering than others?

As a student learns the theories and explanations to these and dozens more questions that pertain to the art of sewing, a wonderful process starts to occur. Rather than doing something because it’s what the instructions say, knowledgeable sewers are confident in their own assessments and therefore happy to make their own decisions and choices. As a teacher, my goal is to help lead my students to this level of sewing, for this is where creativity is simply limitless.

   
     
 
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