Resources to Use to Improve Your Sewing Skills
Sometimes we need to take a break from sewing to think about how we can improve our sewing skills. Of course, every time you sew an article is an opportunity to improve, but sometimes you need to make a dedicated effort to improve your skills by learning to use new tools or trying different techniques. One avenue to explore is to attend a sewing expo if one is offered near you. For years I attended the American Sewing Expo in Novi, Michigan every fall. Unfortunately, that show went out of business after the expo in 2016. I enjoy attending sewing expos because it gives you a chance to see vendors from across the United States and sometimes Canada. You can see new products as well as some other products you may not even know exist. Sewing expos usually offer a variety of classes that may not normally be available where you live.
We did not have a sewing expo in Novi in 2017, but we did have one this year. It was the Original Sewing & Quilt Expo. It was good to have another sewing expo in Novi, but it was definitely not as large as the other one. Hopefully, they will return next year with more vendors. I am thankful that Country Stitches of East Lansing supported the expo and provided machines for many of the classes.
There was one vendor that really caught my attention. It was DittoForm from Detroit, Michigan. The company makes a computer scan of your body and then makes a dress form that is a “ditto” of you. You can call the company to schedule an appointment for a scan. The owner will also travel with the equipment to your location if you have a group of people who want a scan. Our ASG chapter is considering asking her to do a presentation and/or scans for our group. I would love to have one of these dress forms. I think it would make fitting so much easier. I will mention it on this blog if Carol Huls from DittoForm comes to Lansing to do a presentation/scans for us.
A second avenue to explore to improve your sewing skills is online resources. You can get information and videos for almost any sewing technique by searching on line. Some sources are better than others. If I search for a “how to” for a technique, I will look at the information given by several different sources and then go with the one that has the clearest instructions and pictures or videos of the technique. Several years ago, I searched for information on installing a fly front zipper. I looked at several different sources and then went with the one that was easiest for me to understand. I cut small samples for fly fronts and then practiced putting in zippers. Practicing the technique works. It gives you confidence that you know how to do it before you try the technique on a garment.
Another good source for online information about sewing is the American Sewing Guild’s website. You can go to the website if you are not a member, but to get to the valuable sewing techniques information and videos, you must be a member. Then you can go to the “Members Only” section of the website and get information. I am guilty of forgetting about this great resource. I need to make sure I am taking advantage of all the information available in the “Members Only” section of the ASG website.
Threads magazine also has videos and information that is available online only to members of its “Threads Insider” subscription service. I am sure there are many others available to you if you take the time to do the research.
A third avenue to explore is classes either online or on site. Local quilt shops and fabric shops offer classes. Check their schedules for subjects you may want to pursue. ASG chapters also offer classes occasionally and they usually offer presentations at their meetings that cover techniques and other sewing topics. Websites such as Craftsy.com and some individual instructors offer online classes. Try searching online for the class of your choice if you can’t find one in your local area.
And a fourth avenue to explore is books and magazines. Books are available on almost any sewing subject you can imagine. There are books on learning the basics of sewing, patternmaking, making clothes, sewing crafts, fitting patterns, and many different sewing techniques. If you can name it, there is probably a book that tells you how to sew it.
There are several good sewing magazines. The two I know best are Threads and Sew News. Both are sold in bookstores and on the rack at JoAnn Fabrics. Both also sell subscriptions. I have had a subscription to Threads for many years and it is the one subscription that I will never let expire. I look forward to each edition and read it from cover to cover. There is always so much sewing information in that magazine! I even read the ads.
So, I hope you will take a break from sewing and think about the areas of sewing you wish to improve. Determine where the resources are you need to use. Take the time to research the best resource and take advantage of it. Review the information and practice on a sample. After that, you are ready to plan to sew a garment or other article and put your new skill to work.
I wish you success on whatever project you decide to tackle!