My mom knew her way around a sewing machine very well. Me?--no.
You could attribute some of my sewing hangups to the typical middle-school home economics class, which, if I had paid any attention to the cooking units, would have finished me in the kitchen as well. Or just the fact that I hardly ever had to machine-sew anything, because my mom could do it better and faster, and liked to.
For some reason, it was not only the machine that stymied me for many years (yes, I do have ongoing battles with things that plug in), but the whole bewilderment of patterns. And fabric stores, which not only largely disappeared around here before I ever got the hang of them, but which are usually set up to be as confusing as possible.
My first breakthrough was a pair of maternity overalls that I finished about one week before The Apprentice was born. (Better almost late than never.)
My second was a purple jumper that I retooled for toddler Apprentice from a free pair of corduroy pants. It was, honestly, quite adorable and so was she.
My third was a set of stuffed Christmas elves that The Apprentice helped me make when she was three. (No, she didn't use the machine.) I sold most of them at a craft sale and bought myself a lovely angel which we still have. Which just goes to show that people buying Christmas crafts don't care what grade you got in home economics.
Since then I've become slightly less spatially challenged when it comes to figuring out patterns. (Fabric stores still give me a headache.) I am never going to be making wedding dresses, but at least I know how to get both pajama legs right side out now. The Squirrelings have all grown up quite chummy with our sewing machine. (Maybe because they didn't feel like I knew more than they did?) The one thing I've never done yet is put in a zipper...I don't think my machine even has a zipper foot. And through the magic of You-tube, I may even get past that one. I know Ponytails' ambition is to have a serger someday, and maybe she'll let me use it.
In the meantime, if you share some of my hesitations, or even if you don't, can I recommend my favourite sewing site? Sewing.about.com. Besides basic instructions and tips, there are tons of patterns (with lovely photos) and links to more. If you click on Free Patterns, you get a choice of Beginner, Intermediate, and Advanced, all sorted and ready to go. But there's another link in the sidebar that takes you to this page, and if you keep scrolling down the page, you'll find links to using Scraps of Fabric, Sewing Slippers, Projects to keep You and Your Home Warm, and more.
Got you interested yet?
If I can do it, anybody can.