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Beginning Sewing- To Sew or Not to Sew?

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I will tell you what is very intimidating and kind of scary.  Going to Snap Conference as a non crafter.  I was surrounded by amazingly talented DIYers and I don’t sew, I don’t paint, I have never held a power tool and I don’t craft amazing things.  What I do though, is read their blogs and pin their projects and wish that I could do them.  So I decided to do something crazy.  I bought a ticket to Snap.   Back story.  I have been always wanting to learn to sew.  I love the idea of creating something from start to finish and I wanted to be able to learn.  So, my husband bought me a sewing machine.  Two years ago.  And it is still, sitting new in box, never used.  Sigh.  Fast forward… I tried to sell my snap ticket many times.  I felt nervous, I felt intimidated and I felt full on scared.  Why would a non crafter go to snap?  Crazy, right?  Well, the awesome thing about Snap Conference is that you are surrounded by 500 really cool DIY’ers that are there because they LOVE what they do.  They want to talk about their skills, they want to share their skills and they want to teach their skills.  They are all pretty awesome and I learned so much.

Thursday morning, I didn’t know how to sew.   But I signed up for EVERY single sewing class that they offered, because what better way to learn then by the best of the best.  The first sewing class I went to was learning how to make kids shorts.  Intimidating, huh.  I had no clue how to thread a machine let alone sew a straight line, but I parked myself in front of the Baby Lock Elizabeth and braced myself for some crazy embarrassment.

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The teacher asked the class if there were any beginners there and I was too embarrassed to raise my hand, so I didn’t.  I am sure it was quickly apparent though when I had to wave the teacher over often for help.  Dana Willard of MADE taught this class and can I just say she was awesome.  Not only was she super cute and super kind, but she was SO patient with me.  In this class she took us step by step in making a pair of kids shorts. KidsShortsI decided to make a pair of shorts for my 5 year old son, and let me tell you, being an ULTRA beginner, I took that pair of shorts from the pattern on a paper that I had to cut and tape together, cut out my fabric, sew, add elastic and more.  Start to finish on my first time sewing by myself and I was quickly hooked.

KidsShorts1
It definitely wasn’t easy and there is definitely a learning curve to sewing, but guess what, MY SHORTS LOOKED LIKE SHORTS.  I don’t know what I expected, I guess I really expected it to be a complete flop but I had so much fun, learned a lot and my son got a super cute pair of shorts out of it.  They definitely weren’t perfect but now I know how to sew a pair of shorts and I look forward to sewing more pairs!

KidsShorts2 My son was so excited when I brought him home his pair of shorts and they fit him perfectly.  I will be honest, I was pretty excited myself!  For lots of awesome patterns and tutorials, check out http://www.danamadeit.com.

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Class number two was taught by Ashley at  Lil Blue Boo.  In her class we were learning about how to sew knits and we made super cute infinity scarves.  She was really talented and had Silk Screened some of the fabric which really made the patchwork scarves “geek chic”.  
ScarfWe had so many choices of fabric to choose from.  For an adult sized Infinity Scarf, we were to choose 8 pieces of knit fabric and for child sized we would choose 6.  I felt a little more comfortable sewing a straight line, so this was a great project for me.  Where I still needed a lot of help, this project went a lot quicker and I was able to complete 3 scarves during the class time. I made two kids sized scarves for my daughter and one for me.  I love how they turned out!

Scarf1I love that the knit fabrics are light enough that you can wear your scarves spring, fall and winter.  If you live in cooler climates, you can definitely look fashionable year round!  My daughter loved her scarves!

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The next class I went to was the one that I was looking forward to the most.  Amy from Diary of a Quilter taught us quilting basics and how to create a half square triangle quilt block. Amy was awesome and incredibly talented.  If you don’t follow her, you should!   quiltPillow

I was very surprised with this class.  I really expected to have sewn literally one small square block for a quilt but we were able to learn how to sew each square together, quilt them and turn them into a pillowcase!  This class was really fun because everyones pillow turned out so different.  We received two Charm Squares from Robert Kaufman and we were able to customize our own design with the colors we received.  
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I will definitely not say that quilting was easy, but I can say that I can do it!  I have always wanted to quilt a blanket and now I have the confidence to know that I can!  I was really excited at how cute my pillow turned out.  It is no where near perfect, but I’m okay with that.  Being day two of my sewing career I was very pleased.   My husband was especially impressed with this project and I think it helped me in being able to convince him to let me buy one of the Baby Lock sewing machines!  🙂

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Being day three of my sewing career, naturally I walked in to my sewing a ruffle skirt class feeling pretty confident.  😉 haha.  This class was taught by Katy at No Big Dill.  I expected a simple kids layered fabric skirt.  That was not what we were making.  Nervousness set in when I saw that we were making like an Ultra cool awesome full on Ruffle skirt.  Like really cool ruffle.  Luckily, I had already learned how to sew a straight line and work with elastic.   The biggest challenge I found with this skirt was making sure that all of the ruffles were pinned in the same directions.  I decided to make this skirt for my daughter and was able to get step by step help as to how to make it in her size.  The thing I love best about this skirt, was it LOOKS really impressive, but it really is a pretty simple skirt.  My daughter wore it to church on Sunday and most peoples comments were, “WOW your MOM MADE that?!?!” Why Yes, yes I did.  🙂 RuffleSkirt

The last (so sad) sewing class I took at SNAP! was Pillow Covers in a Snap taught by Delia at Delia Creates.   This was another class that I was really looking forward to because I have lots of couches and chairs in my house that would look really cute with a coordinating pillow on them.  I have heard that Pillow Covers were pretty simple and fast to make so I was excited to learn myself.  At this point, I had already been sewing for about 12 hours at the conference so I was getting a good feel of the machine, sewing straight lines, ironing and following patterns.  Pillow Covers are so fun to make because they really can be made fast and look adorable.  We had the option of adding buttons but I chose to make the basic cover.  I was excited because this was the first project that I was able to make where start to finish I made it by myself completely without asking for any help!  Ikea was so awesome to donate pillow forms so we could come home with a finished pillow!

Pillow

I had been wanting to learn to sew and quilt for seriously years.  I was always too intimidated.  If you are in my boat, SEW!  You will love it!  I had so much fun and was so excited that I was able to talk my husband into letting me buy when of the Baby Lock sewing machines.  I already have lots of project ideas planned and looking forward to spending lots of time sewing.  In just three days at SNAP conference, I had the opportunity to learn how to:

Read a Pattern
Cut a Pattern
Pin Fabric
Iron every 30 seconds 🙂
Thread the Machine
Load the Bobbin
Sew a straight Line
Quilt
Make shorts
Make Pillow Cases
Make an Infinity Scarf
Make a ruffle Skirt
Have the confidence to achieve a goal!

So, To Sew or Not to Sew?  SEW!  I recommend finding a sewing class near you, attending a conference or finding someone who sews to teach you the basics and then you can start making all kinds of great sewing projects.  I am so grateful that I didn’t sell my SNAP ticket and decided to learn from really some of the best teachers that I could find!

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