Learning to sew is a bit like learning to drive. Both require focus and skill and both machines have pedals. But that's where the similarity stops.
Simply put, if you mess up your first attempt at sewing – no one's gonna die.
Think back to your first driving lesson. The fear factor of being on the road – the anxiety of worrying about what other road users were going to say.
Would they be cross you were in their way?
Maybe you were worried you'd be too slow to keep up with the rest of the herd?
Think – were you ALONE?
You had an instructor by your side, or a parent or someone you trusted, but certainly someone who knew more than you! You learned, you screamed, you felt elated when you passed the test and since then driving has become second nature to you. And sewing is the same.
Practice is all that is required to build confidence with your sewing machine.
So put your pedal to the metal and Just. Get. Going!
Here's my advice to take the plunge:
1. Get an expert.
Nothing is as soothing as someone by your side that you can ask. Be that a Friend or relative, a Sew-a-Long where everyone's in the same boat, a social media group of enthusiasts.
Even good old Google and You Tube can help take the fear factor down a notch. Our Grannies had to experiment. We can watch 100s of examples of any process at the touch of a button.
The Dolly Pattern Sew-a-long that I run for free has both a huge video vault and a direct line of contact to both me personally AND our Facebook group of Dolly sewists.
2. Start small, Start simple.
Getting a buzz from making something well is awesome. I get it.
But, in the same way you didn't take your driving test on the same day you first sat in the driver's seat, you shouldn't expect to pass first time.
Choose a project that is appropriate for your current sewing level. Start with something that does not ask for perfection.
Flaws and imperfections are what gives a piece personality and it's unique identity and I LOVE it.
Keep it organised.
Use patterns with step by steps and break your sewing down into bite size chunks to keep you motivated, focused and on track.
Most importantly, silence the little voice in your head that says ..
By the way, that little voice in your head talks nothing but BULLS#IT! – You can sew. You won't mess it up.
Even if you produce the worst looking, wonky thing in all of history YOU DID IT.
And the first step is the hardest.
Feel the thrill and pride of finishing.
Remember, no one's died. No one but you is judging your work (and no one should!). Get your self confidence in check, girl! Give yourself a stern talking to in the mirror.
You ARE amazing and you've totally got this. But, if you're worried about messing up - Do what the pro's do ...
3. Trial by Toile.
Heard of a Toile? (Pronounced TW-ahhhh-L, in case you were wondering!)
Essentially it's a practice piece made from cheap fabric – like calico. Make a toile first to check your measurements and that the concept works BEFORE cutting into expensive fabric to make the final piece. Grab some cheap fabric and make a mock up! Make your mistakes there and don't repeat them on the real thing.
I love a good practice piece. Equally, bear in mind that fabric is replaceable. If you stuff it up, you can get some more. Any excuse to go fabric shopping, right?!
4. Make time.
For yourself, for you sewing.
For learning. For Fun.
For mistakes – they are not your enemy! They are a fabulous way to learn and not at all a disappointment.