Nanaro Waters

Profesora de Inglés / Diseñadora de moda

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To sew and sing, getting started with stitches


There’s a saying in Spanish “coser y cantar” which translates to “to sew and sing” and it’s used to describe something that’s too easy to do. Since I started sewing, that saying lost any sense to me…

Sewing is one of those things people usually just have a gift of doing. So, if you don’t consider yourself a crafty person, you have to remember not to give up. On the other hand, if you have the aptitudes for it and you struggle a bit at the beginning, don’t lose your confidence.

Now, whether you’ve already got skills or not,

This are the basic tips you need for your first steps:

  1. First of all, you’ll obviously need a sewing machine. It’s very common to inherit one from your mom or grandma, or decide to buy a second hand one in order not to spend too much money but be careful, it’s not recommendable to start with a machine which is too old and could have mechanical issues. There’re plenty of low cost and good quality options by brands like Singer, Brother or Yamata you can look at; just remember not to get too fancy either, you’ll basically only be working with straight and zigzag stitches at the beginning.

  2. Always read the manual first. Sewing machines can have different steps to follow when threading them depending on the brand or model, and if it’s not well done it won’t work correctly; same for placing and filling the bobbins.

  3. Get to know your machine. Each of them really has its own personality and tricks, so it’s very important to experiment with them before taking on any project. Practice with small pieces of fabric, this will help you get used to the pedal speed, check the different sizes of stitches, thread tension, and other functions.

  4. Start with an easy project. You might be excited about your new hobby, wanting to impress others by making cool stuff, but sewing requires lots of patience and dedication. Don’t expect to make something as tedious as a jacket if you don’t even know how to make a shirt yet. As a first project I’d recommend a blouse with no sleeves, a basic dress or a pencil skirt.

  5. Never cut fabric without a pattern! There are two ways of getting your patterns, you can buy a pattern catalogue or sewing magazine like Burda or Prima with patterns included, or get a book for learning how to make them yourself. This second option will take more of your time but it’s also a good idea as in the future as you’ll be able to make transformations and create your own designs, as well as getting to understand where they come from.  

  6. When it comes to cutting fabric, it’s very important that you equip yourself with other sewing tools, apart from your machines, such as a good pair of scissors, pins, chalk and a measuring tape.

  7. Get inspired. Whether you want to make your own clothes or revamp a garment you’ve already got, you need to “fall in love with your project”. Choose a fabric you really like, be creative and try to add your personal touch by combining different colours or adding some appliqués.

Remember: practice makes perfect, so if you fail at the beginning just play a good song, sing along and try it again!

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