I have this theory that anyone can learn to sew if they are given the right pattern. So many people want to learn to sew, dive in headfirst to the wrong kind of project, and end up feeling defeated and discouraged. As a self taught seamstress, I went through my own struggles learning how to do things, then learning again how to do things the RIGHT way. I am still learning, everyday, and one of my greatest joys is helping people find the right tools to grow in their skills. I recently posted in a local mom's group that I would give a free intro to sewing lesson to one person who was willing to be my guinea pig and help me test my theory. I was inundated with responses from women who wanted to learn, some who had tried before and failed, and many who even owned their own machines but had no clue how to use them.
I had been talking with Bonnie from Fishsticks Designs about her Go Fish series because I was looking for a good starting point for new sewing students. Bonnie explained that the Go Fish series is not only great for beginners, but the patterns in the series are also ideal for experienced seamstresses looking for some instant gratification, or for crafters looking for a quick sew to make stock for shows. Fast and easy? Just what I was needed for my experiment.
Did my theory pan out?
Lucky Rachael was the first to comment on my post. We made arrangements and she arrived at my house with zero experience and lots of ambition. I told her that I would give her the most basic instruction she needed to get started, but that the pattern would really be her guide for the day. She chose the Going to Lunch Tote Bag.
She read through the pattern (4 pages including cutting directions, no pattern pieces) and picked out her fabrics from my stash.
After a quick lesson in ironing....
And some tips about cutting...
I taught her to thread the machine, forward stitch and backstitch. We went over the seam allowance requirement and she was off stitching.
Rachael had no problems navigating the pattern.
In just a couple hours, she had a gorgeous finished product.
After watching Rachael successfully tackle this pattern in one sitting, I am convinced that more people would succeed if they just found the right starting point. I frequently see people talking about wanting to learn to sew and others excitedly telling them "Yeah, go for it! There are tons of free patterns on Pinterest and lessons on Youtube." It's a big ol' scary internet out there, folks; do them a favor and share the Go Fish Series with them. I picked my way through the internet to learn to sew for years; if only I knew then what I know now!