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Advice for the Advanced Sewist

Suddenly you find yourself in a position where you can make a pretty thing or two! You are probably adapting patterns, possibly even pattern making your own, not only to create the perfect garment but also the perfect fit that makes its wearer smile (that's not to say that there won't be the odd failure along the way - that is part of learning right!!). Not only have you gained a new skill, you have gained a new form of escapism and enjoyment. Bring it on!

However, choose your projects wisely!!

 

Everyone will want you to hem their pants, alter their waistbands or sew buttons on their shirts. BUT remember you are not obliged to do so. Something that non-sewists aren’t aware of is just how long it really does take to alter a garment, let alone make something from scratch. Double that time if you want to do it really well or are still learning certain techniques. Quadruple it if you are a sewing perfectionist, which you are pretty much guaranteed to become the more you sew. Most people are time poor and have to fit sewing around work, family and other life commitments. Make sure the sewing you do really does count. There is nothing wrong with helping out friends and family but make sure you are happy to do so. It needs to light the fire in your belly to want to do more and progress as a sewist, not put you off going anywhere near your machine. It really is worth taking five minutes right now to think about a 'no' response (should you wish to use it) that won't cause offence to friends and family.  

 

Push your boundaries

Try to work with new fabrics, patterns and attempt new techniques. Think tailoring, bridal wear, swimwear. Don’t always play is safe, sometimes the real rewards come from pushing your comfort zone. Stitching place settings for three years will create boredom and your relatives will dread every present you hand them (although there's nothing wrong with the odd place setting if that's what floats your boat!). Lifting your game will improve the outcome of your garment - for example pattern matchingyour fabric will really push garment quality up a notch and move it above looking home made. Knowing how to alter commercial patterns to create a beautiful fit will make all the hours you spent sewing totally worth it. Furthermore being able to take it to the next level and draft your own patterns will be super rewarding. Imagine walking in to your favourite designer shop, eyeing up a beautiful dress/skirt/top and being able to go home and recreate it at a fraction of the cost.

Find a 'go to' teacher 

Even as you become 'experienced' there is probably more you can learn. It is worth finding someone who can adapt their lessons to your topic of interest, whether that be tailoring, bridal wear, lingerie. You will probably find you won’t need to attend classes regularly, however it’s good to have somewhere to go when you stumble across a problem. Particularly when you get into drafting patterns. 

Consider teaching a friend or teenager

Another really good way of cementing knowledge is to teach a friend or teenager. Often we know things in our head, but explaining things helps us to realise our own gaps in knowledge. This is a fantastically rewarding way to really cement your basic sewing skills. It can also be great to see that individual progress.

And finally enjoy the journey, keep it fun and sew, sew and sew some more (but only the sewing that YOU choose to do!).

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