Sewing School – Getting Started Sewing
Sewing School – Getting Started Sewing
Welcome to the first week of Sewing School – Getting Started Sewing! This week is all about getting to know your machine! I know we are all anxious to get going and have a finished product right? You may have thought we would sit down at our machine today and pump out a project. Let me tell you what that would look like…that would be you getting super frustrated, maybe doing something harmful to your machine, and ending up frustrated with a heavy sewing machine paperweight or dust collector!
This is the second post of the series. If you are new here go see Sewing School – Interactive Class first to get details on supplies and our Facebook group. This is an interactive class where you can ask questions and get tips in the group.
One of the biggest things that I want to stress about sewing is that it is all in the preparation. The actual act of sewing is an extremely small part of any sewing project! So before we actually sit down at our machine and sew we need to talk about a few things!
The very first thing that I want you to do, and this is really important so don’t skip this step, is to pull out your manual. Seriously pull it out. Now grab a cup of coffee and READ IT! Yup read the whole thing, cover to cover. I have been sewing for a long time and I still keep this in the drawer of my sewing table and look at it on a regular basis. Before you turn your machine on it is super important to look through this manual. Grab a few sticky notes and mark a few important pages. The thread tension page, the machine diagram, and the machine maintenance page are the ones that I refer to frequently.
Next we want to prep the fabric. There is always the wash or don’t wash the fabric debate. For this project we will not need to prewash. That is because we are just going to frame the quilt blocks and we won’t be washing them. Here is the rule I go by. Treat the fabric the way you plan to treat the finished product. If you are making a quilt that will be washed repeatedly then wash the fabric the same way you intend to wash the quilt (this rule does not apply to precuts.) For this project to prep the fabric we want to press it and get all the wrinkles out.
For this course I am going to use the help of youtube videos because I think that they can be really helpful. I have watched a lot of videos to try and find the ones I think will be most helpful. (My tutorials always include a lot of pictures so once you have these techniques down you will be able to easily follow my tutorials.)
Once you have pressed your fabric you will want to get out your rotary cutter, cutting mat, and clear ruler. Then give this video from Hobby Lobby a watch for some great techniques on using these tools. For some reason this seems to be something that a LOT of people have a hard time with. Go slow and be extra careful until you have the hang of using these tools.
Ok now that we have a general idea how to use our cutting mat. Let’s talk about what sizes of fabric we need to use. We are going to make three different quilt blocks. As I said sewing is all about planning and putting thoughtful work in before you sit down at the machine. We will cut all the pieces we need for two of the blocks now before we ever sit down to sew.
My first step is always the graph paper. Don’t worry I did all the work for you! If you are not a brand new beginner though this is a great step to add into your routine! Like I said I have planned this month’s projects with 4 fabrics. In the graph I have labeled each fabric with a different color. Each square on the graph paper represents 1″. Then with sewing you always add half an inch to your pieces for a seam allowance.
So here is the breakdown of what you need for all three quilt blocks.
Pink: 3.5×12.5, 2.5×4.5, 2.5×6.5, 2.5×10.5, 5 triangles.
Purple: 4.5×12.5, 2.5×2.5, 2.5×6.5, 2.5×8.5, 6 triangles.
Green: 2.5×12.5, 2.5×8.5, 2.5×2.5, 2.5×4.5, 5 triangles.
Blue: 3.5×12.5, 2.5×10.5, 2.5×12.5, 5 triangles.
***Save all the scraps that you have leftover this week. We will use them for next week’s assignment!***
<<<<Store your cut pieces in a large sandwich bag so you won’t lose track of any of them>>>>
My recommendation for cutting is to do this: Cut strips that are 5″ by 18″ (if you got half a yard 18″ is the total width of the fabric.) Then you can go back in and make the smaller cuts to get to the sizes listed above. A 5″ strip is also what is needed to cut the triangles. For cutting the strips you will want to watch the video above and it should be pretty straight forward. I do want to say a few things about cutting the triangles. On the triangle ruler I cut strips that allowed me to use the 4.5″ line, so the strips should be 5″ tall. Then as you can see below I line the ruler up on the 4.5″ line and draw a line. Then you will flip the ruler upside down and trace another line. Continue down the strip flipping the ruler up and down up and down to create all the triangles and save space.
My personal preference is not to cut along the triangle ruler. I find it hard to grip so I trace the triangles and then line up my clear straight ruler and use that to make my cuts.
The last important thing to note for cutting triangles is that once you cut them out of the strip you need to go back in and cut the edges, as I have done below. You should have a flat edge on all three corners. Don’t skip this step, it is hard to line the triangles up without these flat edges, I promise they are there for a reason! (If you want to see another fun project I made with this ruler check out this quillow tutorial.)
Ok that is it for the week. Read your manual, watch the cutting fabric video, and cut out the pieces we need for this month’s projects. I have laid out the three blocks below so you can see what pieces we should have cut out now.
Snap a pic of your strips and triangles so we can see what fabric you chose and share it over on the Sewing School group. I will be checking the group frequently so if you have questions please feel free to post them in the group or shoot me an email or message.
The next post in this series is Sewing School – Prepping the Sewing Machine.
Have a great time getting started sewing!