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Re: [TheCostumersManifesto] Digest Number 1009

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  • Curtis Kidd
    ... First off, there s no way you ll learn sewing fully in a month. Or a year. Or five. I have a friend who used to sew professionally, she still does odd
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 26, 2004
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      > From: "Juliann" <juliann@...>
      > Subject: Embarassed to admit .. I cannot sew
      >
      > Enter my mother, who has wanted to teach me how to sew
      > for all of my 30 years. I'l going
      > to be staying with her for a month starting next week and
      > I figured since we're working on
      > a quilt (all straight lines and no variation of stitch
      > length or tension), I really should bite
      > the bullet and learn sewing fully.

      First off, there's no way you'll learn sewing fully in a
      month. Or a year. Or five. I have a friend who used to
      sew professionally, she still does odd projects now and
      then, but there are a lot of things that she doesn't know
      how to do.

      Now, before you get discouraged by all of that, I've gotta
      say that, up until about six years ago or so, I didn't feel
      like I knew how to sew at all...I could hand-stitch stuff,
      if needed (and, in fact, DID hand-stitch a lot of my own
      clothing repairs that I would now do on a sewing
      machine)...I was a makeup designer and props technician at
      that point. Took a theater tech class, they taught me the
      basics...and from that point on, I've been learning by
      doing. Hate to say it, but a reference book doesn't help
      you if you don't do stuff to reference...and, generally,
      you've gotta get the basics (which CAN be done in a month)
      to make sense of what any book will say.

      We have two machines at work, one is much fancier than the
      other...but, out of both machines, I use only maybe five or
      six total different options. Most of the time, that's
      really all you need, a lot of the fancier machines just
      have added stitch patterns to do embroidered
      embellishments. If you can do a straight stitch and a
      zig-zag stitch, everything else pretty much seems to just
      be more elaborate versions of these or is something that
      can be done with one of these (just not quite as well).

      My advice, having said all that--take the month, try and
      learn everything you can from your mom. Focus on the
      simple stuff. If you still feel that you don't get it
      after the month, go ahead and find a book to use. You'll
      probably want one on hand to refer to for techniques that
      aren't commonly used (I've got two, myself...took both to
      work because I wasn't using them at home at all).

      > I just think I might need some extra help as I'm sure she
      > will expect wonders in a month
      > and I don't want to have to ask her the same things 80
      > times before it sticks...

      If that's what it takes, do it. There are still a lot of
      things that I do, on a regular basis, in the course of
      repairing/rebuilding/constructing costumes that I don't
      know the proper names for...I was told them once, didn't
      ask about it, or I had it demonstrated and wasn't really
      paying attention at the time (remember, I was working in
      props when I learned how to sew...the only thing I needed a
      sewing machine for, at the time, was to build a stupid 6'
      tall teddy bear for one of the shows). There are a lot of
      things I wished I had pestered people about more when I had
      the resource to do it (now I'm the one who's supposed to
      know what to do and explain it to my assistants...most of
      the time, I feel like I'm only two steps ahead of them
      myself).

      I guess, my point is (it's been a long day and I'm on the
      verge of a migraine, sorry if this is rambling on,
      everyone), that once you learn the basics, you can start to
      improvise on the theme, as it were, experiment and discover
      what works and what doesn't, ask for advice from those with
      more experience, etc. But all you REALLY need to start
      sewing is a grasp of the basics...all the other stuff is
      just better/faster/fancier ways of doing the same stuff.

      And, finally, have fun with it! Your mom taught for ten
      years, you said...she will have had to deal with a broad
      range of ability and comprehension, she'll adapt how she
      teaches to try and work with you (especially if she's
      spending enough time to see whether or not you're absorbing
      what she's teaching). Relax and enjoy the ride, it's a new
      challenge to overcome.



      =====
      Curtis Kidd
      "Remember, the light at the end of the tunnel could be you!"

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