The Savvy Sage of Sewing Stimulation

What Are Your Most Important Sewing Goals/Needs?

When you sit down to sew, what are the most important skills you want to have?

What do you want to learn better and more efficiently than anything else in sewing?

I would love to hear your response to this, because what I get in my class is very telling.  Most often what my students want to know is how to improve their skills to a professional or at least semi-professional (which is a far cry better than what’s going on in the FCF-fast/cheap fashion industry), and they want to know how to fit themselves.

fitting3Both of these are manageable.  And I know that a lot of quilters love sewing.  They don’t want to stop sewing just cause there are some things in dressmaking that make them think they can’t be fit.  So they believe they can’t be fit and they sew quilts to keep sewing.  This is a shame, cause this is one of the deceptions perpetrated by the FCF so that you won’t go out and sew your own clothes (which will be better made, better fitting and most of all more of what you want than anything you could find in the FCF store),   They tell everyone that sewing is hard (it’s not – just like anything else you take it in steps and step-by-step you learn);  they tell everyone you can’t be fit, so don’t expect a good fit, so if it’s too small or too big – it’s supposed to be that way (what?…it’s supposed to NOT fit?!!!);  and the final one – that you can’t learn how to fit, even if you do have a small figure with no figure problems (first, who is the one person in the world who doesn’t have figure problems, and secondly, how do they know you can’t learn?)

So fitting is one of those nebulous things out there that is at the top of sewist-wanabe’s Christmas list.  This is not that hard, but it’s made harder because FCF has done so little fitting in the past 20 years – garments were purposefully too tight or too loose; and so how in the world are we supposed to know what a good fit is if we haven’t see what a good fit is in 20 years?  That’s like someone asking you for the quantum equation the 14th dimension!!!! I don’t know about you, but my brain just exploded thinking about that!  I wouldn’t know where to start if someone asked me that, and the same thing is true of fitting.  It’s not some mysterious secret that we don’t know, it’s a step-by-step process, but at the same time you do have to know what your goal is.  Yes, you want to be fitted, but where?….why?….how?


The second part that is most important on my students Christmas list is improving their skills to a more professional level.  This is a lot easier than you think it is.  It’s a matter of putting every seam and step you do in  assembling your garment as well as you can.  If it’s not, then take it out.  Don’t fall for the: “Oh no one will know,” or the “Oh no one will see it on the inside.”  That sort of thinking goes down a path that does not end well.

There are a couple of laws that are pretty sure and pretty true time and again and even though there’s no one law that doesn’t have an exception, these two are as close to exception-proof as you can get!

  1. I’ve never been sorry that I took out a seam and re-sewn it.
  2. I’ve never been sorry that I spent the money to purchase a finer machine/equipment.

So if the seam doesn’t look right;
If the seam isn’t as good as you know it can be:
If you can tell the difference;
If you know the difference (even if it’s on the inside);

Then re-do it.  This thinking goes a long way toward challenging yourself toward better and more professional sewing than anything else you can do.

So what’s on your Christmas list this season to make your sewing better?….what sort of things are you going to challenge yourself to for the New Year?





  1. These are great points about FCF- while I had thought, of course, about how FCF doesn’t bother with fit or quality finishes, I had never really thought about clothing manufacturers deliberately training consumers not to expect or be able to find anything that fit. Thus you keep buying and buying, and purging and purging looking for something that does not exist–by design. Thanks for the food for thought, and yet another reason to sew!

  2. Well, fitting without a doubt, especially without a helper. It’s the whole reason (that and quality) I started sewing again. And I’d like to get better.

    I’d like to know how to sew more efficiently – not take shortcuts, but to finish projects in a reasonable amount of time, with high quality results. I’m lucky to get an hour a day, and usually it’s late when I sit down, so I’m tired.

    • Suzanne – the best way to sew more efficiently is with a schedule. I know that sounds really boring and droll, but it does work. It gets you in the habit of every certain day or part of the day/week to schedule that for sewing. Then it also helps you break up your sewing into tasks: selecting pattern/fabric; prep-work; cutting out (the bane of any sewists!!!); breaking up the assembly into parts if need be; and finishing, and doing this means that you can make the time more relatable; it’s easier not only to see how to accomplish a particularly large project, but also how you can progress….you’ve gotten selection, pre-work and cutting out done and can see you’re making progress as opposed to seeing what you have to do or what’s not done. This is the technique I use when I have a lot of projects going for my clients and get a little panicky when I can’t see the progress – but keeping it out on time sheets lets me realize that even though they aren’t half completed in half the time, I can see that half the work is done!!!

      I hope that makes sense, but it does work. I use an Excel spreadsheet to do this – it seems to be easier that way.

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