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Suggestions for the beginning sewer

SAINT AUGUSTINE –  I once was asked the question, “where do you start if you are just beginning to sew?”  I suggested some necessary equipment and beginning projects.

Here are some ideas.  Do you have a shirt that is too low?  Why not add a lace insert.  Just cut a piece of store bought lace and stitch it in place.  Lace is always in season.

A one-piece wraparound robe can be your very first made-from-scratch wearable.  It is a one-size-fits-most project that everyone in your family will want after they see how comfy and practical yours is.  All you need is one yard of 60” wide velour fabric, and 1 yard of ¾” elastic.  This is a great project to practice your fancy machine stitches, embroidery capabilities, and trim.  Last your imagination go wild.  This also leads you to think about initials on towels and perhaps a shower curtain.

Do you have a litter box in your bathroom and you would prefer it not be so obvious?  If it is under your sink, get a spring rod, and a colorful piece of fabric and make a curtain.  The cat can get in and out without trouble, even he might think it looks pretty.  Besides, he will have some privacy.  And we all appreciate that.

One of my favorite first-time projects, are pillows. Nothing brightens up a room more than pillows. Throw pillows on a bed are fun and functionable.  (if that’s a word.)

If you have lots of T-shirts, make a memory quilt.  Cut the design out of the shirt, making the squares 16” by 16”.  To stabilize the stretchy cotton knit fabric and make it easier to join to other blocks, fuse lightweight interfacing to the shirt wrong side, covering the area you intend to use before cutting the block.  The more squares, the bigger the quilt.  If your child is going off to college, this is a great project.  When you are finished, baste around the quilt ½” from its edges.  Fold the excess backing fabric to the quilt front in doubled hems approximately 1 inch deep.  Position the hem inner folds to slightly overlap the basting stitches and topstitch the hems.  Or you might prefer bias tape on the edges. Again, there is no right or wrong.  Just have fun.

Instead of notching your woodwork, record your child’s growth milestones with a fabric marker on an appliquéd chart. Hang the fabric on a dowel and it will be perfect to monitor your child’s growth.

Other ideas: Tote bags, Christmas stockings, placemats, napkins, tablecloths, book covers, and a game table cover.

Perhaps you didn’t just get a new sewing machine, but you need to dust off the old one.  Whatever the situation, plug it in and get started.  It’s time for you to have a little fun.


About Sally Cowan (51 Articles)
After Keeping You in Stitches for over 45 years, Sally enjoys her memories of events that happened on her way to retirement. Author of 6 books, lectures, teaching, and TV host on PBS and now has time for her many cats and Snuggles, the dog. She also loves playing trumpet in the Anastasia Baptist Church orchestra.

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