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Sewing

Sewing is a terrific hobby to start out with no matter if you are young or old. Below is a terrific introductory article where you can learn the basics and how to get started. You can help grow our learning community by contributing your knowledge to the article. Just click on the edit tab in the wiki article below.

Use the white subtabs above to navigate the other Sewing resources. We have a Sewing forum where you can get your questions & doubts answered, a page with Sewing how-to videos, a page with the best handpicked links to other sites, and a page with the best Sewing books and products.

Good Luck and Have Fun!
Karen Davis

 

Introduction


Sewing can be a very useful and rewarding hobby. There are a number of different types of sewing and they all serve their own unique purposes. You can also choose to sew by hand or learn to sew by machine, with each offering their own benefits and their detractions. Sewing is seen by many as a dying art but it can be a very relaxing and rewarding hobby, as you are able to create beautiful masterpieces and repair clothes.




Sewing can be used to tailor clothes, create quilts, bags or just about anything. You can even learn to decorate and personalize a variety of different items.




History of Sewing


Sewing is a skill practiced by nearly every human civilization on the planet, both past and present. Current archeologists place sewing all the way to the Paleolithic era (30,000 BC). Needles have been found made out bone that were used to sew together furs and skins. It wasn’t until the 3rd century BC, in Germany that needles were made out of iron. Then in a Han temple in China the oldest thimble was discovered as part of a full sewing set. The thimble dates from around 200 BC to 200 AD.




This would be as far advanced as sewing would get until 1790 when the first sewing machine was invented. This sewing machine created chain stitches and was designed for leather and canvas, mainly for creating boots. It wasn’t until 1830 that the first practical sewing machine was invented. Ten years later these machines were employed in the creation of French military uniforms, unfortunately the factory was destroyed by tailors who feared being replaced by machines.




But despite their success none of these sewing machines were able to compete with hand sewing. That was until 1846 when Elias Howe created a machine that could sew perfectly straight seams. Sewing machines continued to improve and provide more services as the years advanced.




Today many people sew both by hands and through sewing machines, this is both due to preference and through necessity. Many people claim that items sewn by hand are of a higher quality while items sewn with a sewing machine are often more precise. Machines used by the average person are sometimes too bulky or narrow to use on certain projects, so it is often necessary to have an idea of how to become involved with both types of sewing.




Types of Sewing


There are two main types of sewing. The first is known as plain sewing and the second is known as fancy sewing. Plain sewing consists of the sewing that creates clothes, simple blankets and even shoes. This type of sewing can be easy to learn at first but more advanced clothes can involve more difficult stitches and patterns that can sometimes be tricky to understand.




Fancy sewing involves the more decorative types of stitching such as embroidery, shirring, smocking and quilting. Embroidery is among the most well-known and most pursued by hobbyists. Most craft stores will sell cross-stitch and embroidery kits to create works of art that can be framed or blankets for infants. Larger embroidery projects such as tablecloths and napkins can also be purchased as kits and are perfect for the beginner.




Embroidery involves a number of different stitches but all of these are explained in the pattersn to the kits. There are two main types of embroidery kits, counted cross-stitch and stamped cross-stich. Counted cross stitch can be more difficult for children and people who are not confident counting stitches on a grid. Stamped cross-stitch involves stitching over a stamped pattern on a cloth. The two types are usually for different types of projects with counted cross-stitch usually for creating farmable art and stamped cross-stitch is for creating blankets, table cloths and other projects.




Working from kits and patterns is often easier for a beginner but once you gain confidence you can start learning how to create your own projects and create truly unique and personal gifts and creations.




Tools of Sewing


There are many different tools of sewing that go far beyond the basic needle and thread. But beyond the basic needle there are a wide variety of different needles that are used for a number of different types of projects.


The following is a short list of just some of the different tools you may encounter while learning to sew.


 



Thimble


The thimble was created and is used to prevent the needle from slipping.


 



Seam Ripper


A seam ripper is a small tool used for unpicking stitches.


 



Sewing Machine


A sewing machine is a very useful tool for anyone who wants to become involved with tailoring clothes or quilts. But depending on the features you want they can also be very expensive. The most well-known sewing machine brand is a Singer sewing machine and they are often credited with being among the best.




Sewing machines can do a number of different stitches and some of this most modern machines can even embroider entire designs with just the touch of a button. Basic sewing machines can be found for around $200 but more elaborate machines can go as high as $2000.




Understanding Sewing Patterns


Sewing patterns have long since been developed in order to ensure that clothes or other objects are created the same every time. Now they are used as a way to help people at home create their own clothes.




Using these patterns can often be tricky even though they come with instructions. Bold lines usually imply where you cut and each piece that you cut will tell you how many to cut. Sometimes it will tell you to cut on the fold. This means that you line up the pattern with the edge of the fabric and then cut around it and leave the fold entact.




There are also small triangles to cut or areas to mark that will help you line up the patterns. Normally the patterns will be laid on top of the fabric and most people will use pins to attach them to the fabric to make sure that the pattern does not move while cutting.




The pattern instructions will then tell you how to sew the pieces together, but the most complicated the article of clothing the more difficult the stitches may be. Some of them will involve pleating and other techniques which may be difficult for the beginner. For that reason it is good for someone just starting out to try their hands at beginner projects first. These are normally projects that involve mainly straight sewing, either by hand or with a sewing machine.




Sewing can be a very time consuming and difficult hobby. It can also be expensive if you choose to purchase a sewing machine in order to pursue this hobby. But for the person who wishes to sew by hand or learn to embroider by hand, the projects can be very cheaply done. Patterns can be found for free online or complete kits can be found at craft stores for around $20 - $30.