Open letter to friends who don’t sew (yet)

A little love for our non-sewing friends today!

About 2 1/2 years ago I was visiting my parents for the weekend. I had a little baby and we lived in a little apartment. Little baby was about 6 months old so staying home was starting to get a little too… easy? Perhaps “boring” is more honest. So when my Mom started batting her eyelashes at my Dad and talking about the sale on sewing machines at JoAnn’s, I said, “I want one too!” My sweet husband said yes and we called it a combination anniversary/ first Mother’s Day present.

I bought an adorable book about sewing for kids (Lotta Jansdotter) and headed home to sew some amazing little clothes and toys for my baby.

But… first I had to learn how to thread it. I got out the instruction manual (whoever wrote it definitely doesn’t speak English as a first language) and labored over threading the needle for quite a while. Once I had that major victory, I discovered the bobbin. What the heck is a bobbin? Shoot. Now I had to unthread my needle, learn how to wind the bobbin and then start over. I actually got out a second spool of thread in order to leave the needle threaded.

The process of setting up the machine took me an entire evening.

The next day I made this sad, lumpy little pillow:

DSC04594 DSC04603

But it was a start! A few months later I made my first quilt and that was the beginning of the end of all other interests for me. Not long after that I discovered the online community of quilters and I was just smitten by the beauty and fun of today’s quilting (and fabric!! Oh, the fabric…).

My message to people who are interested but haven’t tried it: give it a go! It’s really not all that hard. There is so much great, free help (and endless inspiration) online. It is such a useful thing to know how to do. And even when things turn out a little lumpy (see my poor pillow above) you’re somehow still proud of the fact that you made that.

My message to my fellow passionate sewists: you gotta help a sista out! If someone admires your work, offer to teach them.

I was at a family reunion for my husband’s family a few weeks ago and brought along this english paper piecing (EPP) project (you can see my tutorial hereΒ and more about the EPP projects I’m working on here):


My husband’s lovely young cousins showed interest in it and I ended up being able to teach them how to do it! Now I’m sending them each a little starter kit.

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I don’t know if it’ll catch on for them or not, but I think it’s our duty (and pleasure) to at least try to pass on what we know. The more people sew, the more they support our community by buying fabric and books, reading our blogs, and then becoming contributing members themselves!

Linking up with the weeklyΒ And Sew We Craft Together linky party.

18 thoughts on “Open letter to friends who don’t sew (yet)

  1. Very sweet starter kits! I agree. My mom taught me to use a sewing machine when I was 10 but I HATED it and didn’t want anything to do with it. I did retain information–I knew how to thread a machine, wind and insert a bobbin, and how to sew straight–but it took years and years for me to decide it was something I wanted to do.

    I tell people all the time that I am 90% self-taught, and that it is easy. It’s hard to get that through to people…good to hear from another self-taught quilter!

  2. Joel’s Uncle Doug brought me an article that he found tonight about quilting. It goes on the say ” Quilting isn’t just for your grandmother anymore. Really, its not!. Google search yields dozens of talented quilters in their 20’s and 30’s. Go for it. Very contagious!

  3. I’m fairly new to the quilting world too and love it for all the reasons you mentioned — the warm community and all that fabric. And, I chuckled at how you got out a second spool of thread to wind the bobbin. I remember I thought I could take over the world when winding a new bobbin and putting it back in the case no longer took 10-15 minutes of reminding myself what to do. Good knowledgeable friends are definitely such a blessing when it comes to getting started.

  4. This is lovely. I didn’t have any help when I started. It is much better to learn these social arts and crafts with other people. For inspiration and for camaraderie. Great post and sentiment.

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