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It takes a village

2013 May 21
by elizabeth_admin

I know I’ve written about this in passing before, but it bears repeating.  It deserves its own post actually.

I didn’t start sewing until after my son was born.  And I was old when he was born.  So I don’t have the experience or years of knowledge that some sewing bloggers have in spades because they learned when they were little.  I took some classes at Purl Soho and at Sew Fast Sew Easy in NYC.  I even hired a private teacher, Thea, when the babysitting for the classes became too much.  But every new project I make has its own unique problems.  Stuff never covered in classes.

One of my first projects, a wrap skirt

One of my first projects, a wrap skirt


Sure I have tons of reference books.  Books recommended by other sewists.  Books that I bought without recommendations.  Books that random people have bought for me.  I look at them.  I look for particular answers to my particular problems.  But there are inherent problems with books.  If you are a visual learner, reading about a method might not be particularly helpful.  You can’t have a conversation with a book or ask it questions.  And worst of all, it might not address your problem at all.

And here’s where your sewing friends come into play.  I like to crowd source my sewing questions/dilemmas.  I am so lucky to have so many sewing friends who are way more experienced than I.  I don’t know how lucky they feel to be my friend though.  😉    I couldn’t have completed my Gatsby dress as successfully as I did without Beth, Sherril, Jeanette or Kellie.  I don’t think I have completed one project without the advice and/or a shoulder to cry on since I started sewing.  Some people are lucky enough to have fitting buddies, some have a mother or aunt or grandmother nearby to bounce questions off of, and some have friends the next town over.  Some, like me, know that fitting/sewing advice is an email or phone call away.

When I first started sewing, reading sewing blogs and became a member of PatternReview, I started meeting other sewing people and bloggers because no one I knew sewed.  I am a social person.  I like to talk about my passions, so I sought out like-minded people.  At first it was just to share the pleasures of sewing and fabric shopping, but it soon became clear to me that I had found people who could help me on my journey to sew better.  And sewing people are very generous.  Generous with their time and expertise.  I am one lucky bitch to have such great friends, the sewing kind or otherwise.

It takes a village to learn how to sew.  At least it did and does for me.  How about for you?  Do you have sewing friends that help you out when you need it?  Do you have a fitting buddy?

My latest sewing project, the Gatsby Dress

My latest sewing project, the Gatsby Dress

8 Responses leave one →
  1. May 21, 2013

    I believe that one of the prime ways to keep the spark of passion well fanned for any craft or undertaking is to share it with friends. Both the successes and failures. If you can’t share your love and enthusiasm, there seems little point! It’s great that you’ve gathered a group of sewist friends who provide feedback and advice. It does take a village! xoxos

  2. May 21, 2013

    Nice post in which you articulated some of my own feelings. I depend on the internet for help and support, and my library. I have a few friends in town who sew but not with the obsession I do :-). I have a friend about 45 minutes away who shares my love of sewing, and riding. In fact, I bought my current young horse from her. Fun, huh? I met her through blogging.

  3. May 21, 2013

    I too am a social person – and a social learner. I cannot express how the world of sewing blogs has enriched my life and my craft. I know practically everything I do from other sewists who write and post about their knowledge and personal experience. I can name a dozen people who have significantly promoted my skill with their assistance and support – and dozens of others who have given me new information on an ongoing basis. We are incredibly lucky, I agree.

  4. May 21, 2013

    I don’t have a fitting buddy – need to buy me one of those (ha). But I do have the telephone and internet (email) type of sewing friends that are always so very helpful. I use to sew in a small group of three on a regular basis, but now our schedules always seem to conflict. It was so much fun when we use to get together, but to tell you the truth, I enjoyed the sewing talk so much that I actually never got very much completed during the sessions. Sewing for me is still mostly a solitary venture. It just wouldn’t be convenient for friends to run over here every time I needed fitting or technique help which is quite often. I have learned a whole lot via the internet (that includes) googling help and asking questions of other more experienced sewing bloggers. I think you do some fantastic work Elizabeth! One thing about you from what I can see is that you are always on a quest to do better and better work and that’s what it’s all about.

  5. May 22, 2013

    Oh my…absolutely beautiful dress!! The color, the fit…oh goodness! Ahem…yeah, the online community of sewists is the best. I’ve no close friends or neighbors who share this passion. Mainly, if I tell people I sew, they want to bring over their mending, or curtains or whatever-you know, since I “love to sew”. But, the online groups understand and appreciate the challenges and creativity of sewing; people are always eager to help. Did I mention your dress is gorgeous? 🙂

  6. May 22, 2013

    I started sewing when I was 16, when there were no blogs nor sewing communities. I had no teacher, and in general, no one to ask help from. My sewing had a long path through trials and errors (a LOT of errors!), but it was fun. I discovered sewing community on internet back in 2008, when I joined Burda Style website. Boy, was I thrilled! I used to hang over there 12 hours a day! I had an urge to show off everything I had ever made, and I was amazed by all the tutorials I discovered. My skills improved rapidly! I was an experienced sewist at the time, but I was still making some beginner mistakes because no one ever told me there was an easier way to sew something. I became an expert over night (disclaimer – I don’t think I’m an expert, but some people label me as one), and my passion for sewing increased even more.
    Now when people ask me if they could learn to sew by themselves, I say yes, they definitely can. However, I wish I had someone to guide me through the process back then when I started. I believe it would affect some of the decisions I had made meanwhile. For example, had I known I was a talented pattern maker back when I was in high school, I would have pursued a pattern making career instead of pushing myself into the IT industry and software development. Live and learn!

  7. May 24, 2013

    Firstly, a fabulous colour for any dress 1920 – 2020s – whatever and it really suits you. You rely on a village? myself, I’m dependent upon a city both real and virtual – and I love it that we support each other across oceans.

  8. Lois permalink
    May 25, 2013

    What a fun dress!! I hope you enjoy wearing it.

    Lois K

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