One thing that struck me almost instantly was the sheer volume of sewing patterns available. You could spend hours (days, weeks…) trying to find the perfect pattern. Not just that, but the vast differences between patterns labelled as ‘easy’ or ‘beginner’. Take Rachel’s skirt, for instance, and compare it to mine. Hers was a wraparound skirt, which involved lots of sewing, but no add-ons – the pieces ‘simply’ needed to be sewn together in the right way. Mine, on the other hand: a zip, buttons, straps, top stitching, the works. And Rachael’s was different again. See for yourselves – here are the links to all three patterns.
Mine, from Victory Patterns.
Rachel’s, from Tilly and the Buttons.
Rachael’s, from Vogue.
So, if you’re a beginner and you really are looking for a very simple make, my advice would to have a close look at your pattern, like Rachel did, and try to give yourself an idea of what it might entail. This could be tricky if you haven’t already bought your pattern, but you could probably get a good idea by checking what notions you’ll need – you should be able to check this before you hand over any money.
Having said that, all three of us have managed to construct skirts that, miraculously, remain intact and are very definitely wearable – the three mus-skirt-eers! So, perhaps there is something to finding a beginner pattern you like and just going with it. It worked for Rachael and me! Plus, you will hopefully have a sewing instructor on hand to help when you need it (which will be often!).
Read your pattern thoroughly and trust what it’s telling you! I’ve already had a couple of instances when I’ve thought, ‘That doesn’t seem right; I’ll just do this my way.’ Cue lots of unpicking and cursing at your sewing machine (because it’s always the machine’s fault, obviously). Well, I’ve learnt my lesson there.
Whichever pattern you choose, good luck! And please share your projects with me – I’d love to see what you’re up to.