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What is Your Level of Sewing Expertise?

How do you rate your sewing skills? Are you a sewing newbie? Have you been at it for years and are continually progressing? Or, do you make your living by sewing? Or, are you somewhere in between.


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  1. bruble | | #1

    I have been sewing for over 40 years but I don't feel my sewing abilities match the number of years I've been sewing. So, I have started to re-create myself in the world of sewing and hopefully will start to see some growth in my sewing expertise.

  2. frana3313 | | #2

    I have been sewing seriously for the past 10 years. I love Threads magazine, especially now that I am retired, and can actually read all the articles. They are so helpful!

  3. lou19 | | #3

    Level of expertise? Not such an easy question.
    I have designed and made wedding dresses for 20 years so therefore ticked "professional"
    BUT I don't sew leather or knits, and can't remember the last time I tailored a jacket.
    Welt pocket I can do, but don't like doing......... ditto bound button holes.
    I also love patchwork and making collaged and decorated clothes in my spare time, here my skills are "intermediate"
    I'd love to improve my embroidery skills and I'm fascinated by the skills involved in making needlelaces and braids , So much to learn.
    The beauty of THREADS is the variety of garment making and needlework. Which constantly challenges me to learn new skills.

  4. darcyc | | #4

    I have sewn as a professional, been side-tracked and am now getting back to what my passion is-fabric and creating! Looking for a simple project to teach at a local shop for the holiday season (in a quilting shop). Any ideas? Thanks!

  5. after8 | | #5

    My mother taught me to sew when I was a teenager, in the 1960's. Had the war not intervened in her training (she was in London, England) she would have become what was then called a tailoress. Since then I've always made most of my own clothes, in part driven by a pear shaped figure, if it fitted my lower half it was too big up top and vice versa. I've always believed that the skill to make your own clothes meant that you needn't dress like anyone else. I remember numerous visits to dress shops where I was driven away by the lack of variety in fabric, colour and design.
    My strongest tip? Never stint on the quality of your fabric, a garment lives or dies on the quality of the material and, here in New Zealand, where garments made of quality fabric are expensive, I can make a beautiful wool or silk garment for a fraction of the price, even when my fabric is very expensive. (Plus, it fits and is in my chosen, not the latest fashion, colour!
    P.S. I've only just bought a serger, having used only an Elna Air Electronic for 30 years! Now that's big step!

  6. Sweet_Pea | | #6

    I've been sewing for 35+ years although I by no means would call myself an expert. I learned to sew in Home Ec in high school. Really funny -- our first project was to make a pair of pants. Mine were bright lime green (the only fabric I could afford to buy). I don't know what I was thinking, but I was so proud of my pants that I actually wore them in public after they were finished. They just about fell apart within days. I guess I didn't get the part about locking stitches at the beginning and ending of the seams. But, I had so much fun learning, that I've been at it ever since, and my latest passion is machine embroidery. Love it, love it, love it!

  7. carrie59 | | #7

    I have been sewing on and off for 25 years. Basic sewing but I'd like to do more. I have a daughter that needs clothes that fit as she is a full figured gal. I've been reading Threads looking for fitting tips to help me.

  8. windyhill8 | | #8

    I have sewed , from necessity for 56 years.My first machine was a treadle that belonged to my grandmother.Next I bought a New Home electric with knee pedal.
    I dressed my daughters, and now my grandaughters.
    The oldest is studying 'Apparel Design and Textiles" at a state University.
    I am very proud of having been the inspiration for two excellent seamstresses.I make quilts, as gifts only.I like to hand-quilt the finished cover.And make the quilt cozy with high-loft inner-lining.
    Recently, I acquired a dress form, in order to now creat clothes for myself.I look forward to continuing my education,
    in sewing and creating.

  9. CactusPat | | #9

    I am a self taught sewer..have been sewing for well over 40 years. I agree at the comment another sewer made I don't feel that my sewing abilities match the number of years. I have been taking local classes to upgrade myself to the many new items that are now available compared to when I started sewing. Many of these sure make the process so much easier than when I started. I have enjoyed the Threads website and have found many interesting ideas there and have made some and enjoyed that experience.
    I am open to trying new interest and have recently starting making purses for my grandchildren and friends. they seem to like them and have actually used them when I wasn't expecting them to..that makes me think they enjoy
    I am trying my hand at some of the new materials and the techniques that Threads have shown for how to sew them have really helped..thank you..

  10. User avater
    SewingWithTrudy | | #10

    I have been sewing for almost ten years, more seriously, though, in the last four to five years. I took a sewing class in high school, but forgot everything I learned. But I more recently in the last few years took some private sewing lessons which has really made all the difference for me. I am now passing on what I have learned to my children.

    I mostly enjoy sewing clothing. I don't make all of our own clothing because I just don't have time. I have five children, with one being a toddler; and I homeschool them all with the exception of our oldest being in college and the baby. But I will make each of the children a few special items and some things for myself.

    I'm really trying to make sewing a priority and sew a little bit everyday so I can improve my skills. I try to get up before the children in the mornings to sew. In April I started a sewing blog to be able to share what I am sewing and tips I am learning or have learned. It has been a great support system. I feel a part of the sewing community. Having the blog also encourages me to sew more because I know people are checking in. My 8 year old daughter also started her own sewing blog, and she shares what she and her six year old brother are sewing. They are really enjoying learning to sew and enjoying blogging their progress and reading the comments from others.

    I get a lot out of the Threads magazines and books by Taunton Press. They are very informative, and everything is so clearly explained.

    My daughter's blog is: http://www.sewingsister.blogspot.com

    And my blog is http://www.sewingwithtrudy.blogspot.com

  11. auntbea46 | | #11

    I've been sewing for a little over 50 years. During that time I've sewn mostly fashion garments for myself and my daughter and ventured into costumes, heirloom and fancier girls dresses as necessity and granddaughters demanded. I've always worked embroidery as the embroidery bag was the easiest thing to tote to the hospital when my son was ill. The last few years my sewing was packed away because of health and remodeling issues. Have recently claimed the family room as my sewing space and working on getting it ready for the machines. Eyesight might limit some of sewing, it certainly has limited some of the embroidery (finer crosstitch) but with the help of wonderful new lighting and magnifying glasses I'm jumping back into the fray because not only do I want to sew clothing for myself, I NEED to be sewing again. It is too much a part of me to lay aside. I enjoy it and it helps me to stay focused. Garments for myself are a first priority, a pile of long-overdue mending will have to be dealt with. Finishing up a heirloom crazy quilt and a few other pieces will also be at the beginning of the list. Beyond that I am going to learn to do some frou frou sewing and decorator sewing ... or anything else that strikes my fancy. I might even break a few rules this time around. Keep on sewing ladies!

  12. User avater
    junctioncats | | #12

    Been sewing for nearly 30 years now, but took a 15 year break and just started up again recently. Have managed to make a few items of clothing so far, and am finding that the "new" ways of doing things are certainly more efficient than the way I was originally taught. My mother learned to be a seamstress during World War II and the depression-era, so it was nothing for her to tear one of my father's suits apart and make herself a dress or skirt or jacket. She taught me the basics, and now I'm re-learning the rest!

  13. grandmabugbear | | #13

    I was blessed with a Swiss Grandma who's mother owned a shop that made fine lace and did fine sewing of ladies undergarments. Grandma came to the USA at age 17. She never worked as a seamstress again, but made sure all of her 6 children could sew, knit, darn,iron and cook. Being the oldest granddaughter I was eager to learn from my beloved Grandma. I can remember we started out hand sewing, cross- stitching my name on gingham, then doing stitches so fine you couldn't see them. Each stitch practiced over and over until the sample met with her approval. When Grandma passed the only thing I wanted was her old Singer sewing machine. I knew Grandma rarely threw anything away including small leftover scraps from her dresses as she could sew a "new" piece in a torn or ripped dress. The sewing machine came to me with all these small scraps carefully rolled and pinned or with an elastic. One of the rolls was a pink gingham with more fine linen scraps with all of my fine hand stitched samples. They all are now a small quilt hanging over my sewing machine. When my Dad first noticed the quilt he looked very puzzled and turned to me asking where I got the scraps from his mother's dresses to make it. I told him they came in the drawers of the sewing machine and in the center is my cross-stitched name. Valuable to me beyond words are the skills I learned from my beloved Grandma. I hope to be able to pass some of my knowledge to my granddaughter some day.

  14. 7armadillos | | #14

    37 years ago I took home ec in Jr. High school and made a horrible shirt. Had no interest in sewing until the birth of my first child when I found I could buy cheap remnants and make clothes for her. I got much better after that. Whe she was 7 I made a dress with matching bonnet and fabric basket that won a blue ribbon at the county fair. I did mostly mending after that until I joined a local quilt club. Now I am making quilts and taking a correspondence course for Dressmaking and Design and plan to start taking in mending to support my fabric addiction!

  15. tru_usps | | #15

    I don't know how to classify myself as a seamstress....Not quite a professional since I don't make my living with it but since I've been sewing for 45 years and I've made wedding and prom dresses in as little as 2 days (cut-out to wearing) and men's suits in a week (I'm currently putting together the 6th one suit for a friend) I'm way more than an beginner! Expert? I wouldn't call myself that, either as I have so much more to learn. I've made practically everything, though. Leather jackets, upholstered furniture, curtains, bedspreads/comforters, shades, women's, men's & children's clothing. You name it and I've probably made it. I'll try to tackle just about anything. My favorites have been the Halloween costumes my sons dreamt up for me to create over the years as were the home decor projects when we've remodeled. The feeling of satisfaction knowing that I've made it (usually without patterns) is so wonderful. Using magazines like THREADS really helps with tips and tricks to make things work and turn out right. I usually read it cover to cover the day it comes in the mail. It's one magazine I will never let the subscription expire for no matter how bleak the ecomony gets.

  16. jlwickham | | #16

    Reading all of your responses has really made me feel like a newbie. I have not been sewing for very long- I really have only been focused on sewing for just under 3 years. I also took a little bit of sewing in high school, but did not really expand my skills until recented started experimenting more with new projects I am a big fan of trying new things and have found magazines like threads have really helped. I have even been able to make my own patterns, I am so excited to hear about the depth of all of your skills and look forward to getting better at the fine details!

  17. Emmapaula | | #17

    What a lovely story Grammabugbear wrote: such memories to be treasured always, her grandmother's legacy to her beloved grandchildren.

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