What do you do to become a better sewist?

What I love about people’s personal sewing blogs is that I get to see their evolution as a sewist. From the first skirt to their first Bra. How their passion shaped their wardrobe. I love that some people only make basics and wearable while other make couture.  Two different ways of self improvement. They are still stretching their skills even if they don’t think so. One by repeating and improving and the other in exploring and opening their minds to new ideas.
I find myself in the same evolution journey. I been sharing my makes for a few years now and in my blog archives have so many projects I’m still totally proud and others are very good lessons learned. 
I wouldn’t be where I am now without all the mistakes in shape, fabric and trying new skills. When I look at a finished project where I’m comfortable with my skills I enjoy feeling proud of my end result.  The comfort of knowing where I stand.
Every new challenge makes me feel on edge. Is it going to turn out like dog’s dinner? The only way that my comfortable projects got that way was because of those practices and so many trow away makes of the past. Every new skill gets repeated over and over in different projects until it feel like driving home. I’m not worried to have bad projects or wonky stitching from time to time.
To improve my skills I :
Study. I read/ research a lot from well know authors.
Share: Talk/ Listen/ Learn with other sewists. My favourite exchange.
Practice: Make Make Make.
Join: I take professional classes
Teach: You learn a lot more than you teach. Is an amazing experience.
But I don’t have a development plan. I don’t write skills I need to learn next. It’s kind of an organic growth. I go with my feelings. I don’t know what I want to achieve as a sewist but i’m excited about the next 40 years of skill building.
What do you do to become a better sewist?
  • I agree, I really enjoy reading other people’s sewing improvements and achievements!
    Sometimes I like reading them from a fashion perspective also.
    What I do to improve is similar to you. I read lots of sewing and patterncutting books, I attend class (whenever I can afford it as most are very expensive and some of dubious quality!), I also think more before I cut…. You know, what can this material do. should I line or underline? What’s the best interfacing? How must I finish it inside etc..
    So much to learn, so little time, but I must admit, the sense of achievement is priceless!!

  • So true! I think I mostly educate myself about sewing through other people’s blogs & tutorials, I really value all the time & effort most sewing blogs put in explaining how & why they did something. There are so many sewing books out there that I wouldn’t know which one to get!

    Apart from that, I mostly learn by doing. I get very critical about my makes; they have to be near perfect for me to wear them 😉 Lots of discarded endproducts as a result; so I am sticking to easier projects nowadays to hone my skills before moving on to more difficult projects.

    Oh & by starting my own blog I hope to really get to see a learning curve in my work! Writing a post really makes you evaluate what you did.

  • I love reading blogs for helpful tips but sewing sewing sewing is the best way for me. I took a no shopping challenge last year and the improvement in my sewing abilities by the end of the year was shocking. I learn a ton about my body, fabric and adjustments.

  • I just made my first dress (still working on the zip! ) after years of worrying and procrastinating. So it is a relief to read that you also have these worries – thank you!

  • I haven’t really had a plan to improve, but I’ve been trying to be more intentional about learning new skills and really taking my time to get things right on my sewing projects. I definitely learn the most from sewing, sewing, sewing, but I’ve also learned a lot over the past few years from perusing blogs and sewing books. I actually took my first sewing class a few weeks ago (a bra-making workshop), and it was amazing how easy it was to create what I had thought was such a complicated garment with someone holding my hand!

  • I like to read other blogs, find their tutorials and “pin” them. Also, practice and slow down as I sew. Lots of sewing books handy, too.

  • I think the best way is just to dive straight in. Set yourself a challenge and go with it. What’s the worst that can happen? You can’t waste time and money because you’re learning a new skill and that’s priceless. I prefer to find a project and then do some research online if I encounter any problems so I usually just feel my way along. Classes are great for introducing you to techniques that you might not have seen before but the real learning comes in practising.

  • What you mentioned is pretty much what has expanded my sewing skills as well. I have learned a lot by reading books but also blogs, did try a sewing class recently but didn’t turn out well, i was very disappointed but didn’t give up, am actually having a sewing class this weekend in london, hope this time i will have a better experience. The most significant however is to actually sew, thats how i think I’ve achieved most of the progress, some times i get a bit intimidated about a project and spend a lot of time reading every single information available avoiding sewing, that’s happening right now with a mans coat I’ve started. What i want to say is that it is good to study but in the end practice makes perfect.

  • I found taking pattern drafting courses was the beginning of an evolution for me. It finally understood construction. I also take a lot of classes on the Craftsy.com platform which usually are very instructive and useful.

  • I feel like I really started to improve when I began to make things over. For example, my first proper shirt was for a baby. Then I made a buttondown for myself, and another, then tried a different buttondown pattern. Repeating similar techniques makes it easier to figure out what works and it makes scary tasks familiar! Similarly, once I had made a couple of different blazer patterns, I felt like I understood more what the goal was and which techniques would help me get the best results. I’ve learned so much just using lots of different sewing patterns!

  • My biggest improvements came after I had my kids. They are only two years old and an 8 month old, so I have far less time to sew. I noticed that every aspect of my sewing improved when I slowed right down. If I only have an hour to sew, I’m going to sit and enjoy it. No deadlines, or rushing. A lot of thinking over things in between sessions.

  • I really recommend taking sewing/dressmaking lessons. I took some lessons with a sewing teacher who used to work for the Couturier Catherine Walker, this helped me to learn to make garments the professional way, avoid making many mistakes and sewing good quality garments as a beginner. Also, lots of practice and taking my time with projects. And reading tips from other bloggers is most useful.

  • Great post! I learn a lot by watching others, reading their posts, and just being inspired by photos, magazines etc. I’ve always had a desire to go to school for formal education other than some of the many courses we take on sites like Craftsy (which are great ones too!). Now that the kids are all grown, work is slowing down (because I’m about to retire!), I can now go back and get that formal training! Obviously, this is for my own benefit, not to in my career and I’m so looking forward to it. I learned about an online college on victorious blog “Ten Thousand Sewing Hours” of an online fashion Design college. This was right up my alley!

  • …whoops there goes the typos again! I meant Victoria’s!

  • Connecting with the online sewing community has been great to improve my skills. I have learned so much from you and other sewists. I love it how people are so keen to share their knowledge. Also trying new things and making mistakes are big learning curves

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