Giveaway Day!

Thank you again to everyone who entered the giveaway! Thank you also for stopping by to see if there was anything else here that caught your eye. I hope you’ll be back soon to see more.

Your comments were all so interesting for me to read. I identified with the experiences of almost everyone in some way. I also started learning by sitting next to my grandmother as I completed my 4-H project each summer. I also had home ec in middle school, but I was already too advanced for what was taught and finished every project early and then helped my classmates with theirs. Eventually, I was able to work independently and most recently I have advanced my skills by reading books and blogs. All in all, I have had a lot of support and help in learning what I know. What struck me about the winner is that she has learned to sew, and is continuing to learn, but that she has had to work a little harder to find learning sources because she is deaf. I am impressed by her insights into hear learning experience and how becoming deaf changed those experiences for her. Thank you, Nancy Sue, for sharing your story with us! You have won the wool yardage! I hope you’ll be able to use it to learn something new or to teach something new to your son!

Welcome! Today is Giveaway Day, organized by Sew, Mama, Sew!ย This is my first time participating and I am excited to be a part of the online sewing & crafting community that is participating. Today I am giving away two yards of 56 inch wide plaid wool. It is light-medium weight wool. It would be great for a skirt, cape or jacket. The main colors are gray and peach.

To participate in this giveaway, you’ll need to answer a question in the comments. Before scrolling down to see more pictures of the fabric and what your question is, please note:

  • the giveaway is only open to US residents
  • you must provide a valid email address so that I can contact you to get your address
  • the giveaway closes on December 16th at 5pm, PST
  • the winner will be announced here and contacted by email on Sunday, December 18th

ย Since I’m a teacher, I want to know your thoughts and experiences related to learning to sew. Please answer at least one of the following questions.

  • How did you learn to sew? Did you feel that it was the best possible way for you learn to sew?
  • What are you most proud of learning in relation to sewing? Why does this make you proud?
  • What resources do you wish existed for sewists wishing to learn more?
  • How do you continue learning new sewing skills (especially if you are an experienced/advanced sewist)?

I will be choosing the winner based on the quality of the answer. I am looking for the answer that will best inspire me and my readers to be lifelong learners. I will be searching for thoughtful answers that will help me learn more or teach you more.

Thank you again for spending some time here! I appreciate your visit and home you’ll be back soon.

46 thoughts on “Giveaway Day!

  1. I learned to sew when I was 10 years old – from my mother. It was great for me, because I could make some of my own clothes, and had a significant edge when I finally hit that 8th grade Home Ec class. I currently am a quiltmaker, more than a clothing sewist, and I keep those skills updated through online quilty blogs etc. Thanks for offering this beautiful prize (methinks I need to sew up a jacket!)

  2. I learned to sew from my mom when I was little, then I took home ec in school. (I look back on home ec as more a hindrance than a help in my sewing life.) When my husband and I first got married and bought our house, one of the first thing I did was scout out a quilting class. That did more to advance my sewing skills than anything! Then, a couple of years ago, we joined a Rev War reenactment group, where we sew all our costumes. I would say my sewing skills are reasonably advanced, but I am always looking to learn what I don’t know. Merry Christmas!

  3. Ah how I envy those US residents! Am going to answer a question anyway ๐Ÿ™‚ I am mostly self taught. I went to one 4 four night evening class about 20 years ago and made a simple jacket but it gave me some basic skills. When I moved to Spain 6 years ago I found it hard to buy nice clothes that fit me (I live in the middle of nowwhere) and once my sewing machine had been shipped from London I started sewing again. Initially it was very straightforward things with little shape and now I am confident with zips, linings, sleeves and have just completed my first pair of “proper” trousers…which Iยดm very proud of!

  4. 1. My mother and grandmother taught me to sew when I was very little. My mom started me out with simple quilt blocks and Barbie clothing. It was HIGHLY effective as I started with simple lines and simple steps.

    2. I recently began to learn how to draft my own patterns and adjust pre-existing patterns to fit my, lets be honest here, ample busom.

    3. Hm… with the internets at out fingertips these days, it’s really easy to find just about anything you need. I would say, I’d love to find OTHER people my age where I live to sew with… there’s a lot of knitting circles but not a lot of sewing circles.

    4. I still call my grandmother and mom for advice. My grandmother, especially, is a great resource. If she’d had more funds growing up, she would have attended fashion design school so she’s got a great eye for detail.

  5. I pretty much taught myself to sew. I wanted to start making clothes for my daughter, and I knew that the best way to learn, was just to start doing it. I was horrible at first, but now I’m really proud of my work.

  6. I learned to sew in Home Ec in Jr. High. Honestly, I don’t remember much about it, but it probably wasn’t the best way for me to learn. I do much better in one-on-one or small group settings. Most of what I know now is self taught. I continue to learn by reading blogs and other online resources, as well as books. I’ve also joined a quilt guild, which has been an amazing experience!

  7. It was my Granny who gave me a love of sewing. I remember sitting at her old machine, built in the wooden cabinet, and sewing three sides of a pillow from some old patriotic fabric. She then taught me how to hand sew the final side shut. To say it was rough is an understatement. However, this began a love of sewing I would rediscover years later when I had my own daughter. I can look back fondly, knowing that one of my best friends in the world gave me a gift like this. I have taught myself since then, and I learn by doing. Sure, I make mistakes, but I learn from them and often don’t make the same ones twice. Now, I have a three year old who wants to learn to sew. She begs daily. So, I look forward to continuing to share the love of sewing with new generations and encouraging her to just go for it!


  8. I learned to sew through trial and error. After college I was desperate to make asomething with my hands, to use my mind in a creative way. I bought my sewing machine on a whim and just sort of started trying things. I really got into it once I discovered the on-line sewing world and was so inspired and encouraged by everyone. Now I can’t imagine my life with out sewing!

  9. I learned to sew from my mom and grandma. None of us kids ever took a home ec class and we all sew by the seat of our pants. Nothing intimidates us.
    My friend who did learn to sew in Home ec is way more intimidated by the process and takes endless classes to hone her skills. We sew together on occasion and do it well even though we approach the sewing project differently – Mind you, we met in Mechanical Engineering classes at college.
    I keep learning by seeing projects I want to tackle and learning new skills as I go along. I’ve sewn garments, crafts, purses and a cover for our open cockpit biplane. I think the drapes about smothered me but small curtains are still fun to do to freshen up the house. I’m not a very structured teacher (my friend is the 4-H leader) but I have taught piano lessons as well as sewing lessons to kids on our street. I live by the motto, she who has the most fabric wins.
    Interesting question – please enter my giveaway:

  10. Like many others, I first learned about sewing from my grandmother. I loved playing with Barbie dolls as a child and she taught me how to cut out a pattern and use it to sew my own doll clothes. Most of it was done by hand. As I got older, she taught me how to use her sewing machine. We started with basic things like pillow cases. It made me proud to give them to my family and it’s a gift that they still love to receive.

    Now that I’m trying to sew more clothing versus crafts, I wish there were step-by-step resources that walked you through an entire process and explained why or how you do each thing in detail. There are tons of classes offered for quilting in my area but nothing for garment sewing that doesn’t cost a couple paychecks. Some books have tackled individual issues (like fitting) but it’s not the same if it’s not with your exact pattern when you are truly a beginner.

  11. First of all, what a lovely fabric.

    I learned to sew from my mother and grandmother; when I was little. I remember being about 8 and trying to sew through jeans fabric. What a mess that was! My mother never enjoyed sewing so it was a short lived hobby.
    I began sewing in earnest in high school when I took sewing as an elective- from this class I began making my own pants and made my homecoming dress my senior year. This kept me going until about last year when I decided to make my wedding dress- which ended up being a disaster and not really working out (I bought a dress last minute). It was after this that I decided that I needed to up my game. I began reading sewing blogs, and buying sewing books. I also finally gave into the taking the time to press my seams properly. The defining moment of my sewing career came this summer when on a whim I splurged on a Bernina 430 which came with a free serger (I previously had been sewing on a low range Singer). Having a quality machine really has helped with the quality of my sewing- just maybe for the fact that I feel the need to make everything nicer now that I spent oodles of money on a machine.
    Reading about other people’s adventures in sewing also has helped incredibly. It has given me inspiration, but has also shown me skills and techniques I would have never thought I needed to know.

  12. I learned from my mother, and she was a great teacher. I’ve continued to learn from the internet- from tutorials, from bloggers, from youtube videos- and I’m always stunned by the wealth of information available to a good google.


  13. My Mom was the main person who taught me to sew, some of my first projects included simple flannel baby blankets and a skirt for myself. After that I did a lot of sewing at church activities, mostly making quilts for charity. I think that it would’ve been helpful if I had taken a class in addition, since there were some techniques that I didn’t get taught about much. Despite that, I really cherish that time that I spent with my Mom learning to sew, and after about a 10 year hiatus of not really sewing, I still remember the principles she taught me. I recently decided to start sewing again, and I was amazed at how much I recalled.

    I wish that there was an online community for sewing much like is for knitting. I’ve found more resources like this as I’ve searched (like Sew Weekly, and Burda Style), and it’s been really helpful to see what other people are doing and what patterns/fabrics they find interesting. It just seems like there are so many different websites like these that have valuable nuggets of information (if only I knew where to find them!), I wish there was a grand repository of the most helpful ones.

    I mostly use the internet to continue learning and advance my skills, however I’ve recently been invited to join monthly sewing parties with some ladies in my area. I just went to my first a couple weeks ago, and we each bring our sewing machine and work on whatever project we wish. There’s generally a theme with suggested projects, and we each stay as long as we want (I left at 1am, which is saying something for me). I found it to be a fun way to get motivation to work on projects, and also share with one another our techniques and ideas.

  14. I learned to sew at a very young age – my teacher is my mother and she also taught me quilting more recently. In addition, I was in 4-H and learned from the extension agents and club leaders. It was a great way to learn because was taught the correct methods, which remain with me today… even though there was a 25 year gap in my sewing years.

  15. I taught myself to sew two years ago, and I don’t know if it was the best way or not. On one hand, I’ve enjoyed the search for information and being able to see a number of different ways to do something before deciding how I want to do it. On the other hand, it was hard to have to look up every other word and/or technique.

    I think there are far too many resources out there for “cheater” ways of doing things. I started sewing because my clothing tastes far outstrip my clothing budget. Therefore, I set out to make clothing that looks like high quality RTW. I would like more resources for the way to achieve the best results, not necessarily how to complete a project the fastest.

    The things I am most proud of learning are those techniques that take my clothing to a new level. I have recently found a few blogs that post more tutorials about “couture” or higher quality finishes and techniques. I have found that when they mention something I’ve never heard of, I actually enjoy the quest that I embark on to learn more from other sources.

  16. I started learning to sew when I was a kid. It started with some crude hand sewing that my Mom had taken a minute to show me and my progress was pretty slow until my son was born. I wanted to use cloth diapers and couldn’t afford premade one and didn’t want to use pins! Most of my learning was done online- Google was use a lot! After some diapers that didn’t turn out so well, I began to make some progress and for a couple years I mostly sewed diapers. When my daughter was born I began to branch out into clothing. Some things I learned from the sewing patterns I worked with and others I learned when I did a search and found a good tutorial for it!. I almost always use the internet for learning a new skill. I do love to get books from the library, too! They give me new ideas. ๐Ÿ™‚

  17. Beautiful fabric! I learned sewing from my mom and aunts, in part because I needed to hem all of my skirts for school, but also because they were often making things themselves. I have very fond memories of that collaborative experience of learning. Though I learn a lot now from online resources, I feel I learned best from one on one interactions with people dear to me.

    • In realizing that the winner gets chosen by the answer, I totally want to give a more thought out response. But I need to give it more mulling over so I don’t write a treatise on my personal experience. I can tell you that it ultimately still comes down to the same thing: personal interaction. Even online resources are most useful to me when they have a unique voice and interest in me as a reader/sewist/compatriot. But isn’t that always what creates the best learning environment? A collaborative relationship?

  18. i’ve always wanted to sew and finally last year at 43 i thought “i’m gonna do it” i stay home full time with my son so where classes would be my normal route, i didn’t have childcare/funds to support that idea so i decided to teach myself. now, a year later, i feel like i can call myself a sewer! i started with checking books out of the library, then reached out to the great online community of sewers. i use both resources and it’s working well for me. class now that my son i’ve worked on a sewing project continuously for a year now and i’ve gained great confidence and pride in making a pair of pants for my son, or new curtains for the kitchen, or-oh, i don’t have a pincushion-well, now i can make one! it really satisfies my need to use my creative energies each night when my son’s in bed. it’s a great sense of accomplishment and it definitely balances out my desire to teach and my desire to learn.
    thanks for the question and the giveaway!

  19. I learned to sew from my mother, and wouldn’t have it any other way. Not only is it a bonding element between the two of us (both the learning process then, and the shared interest now), but my mother (also a teacher) is a very exacting woman, and I am sure that I learned proper techniques!

  20. I am a self taught sewer…lot of trial and error, but i love love love it! It was not the best way, but it was good for me. I loved to learn to quilt which I learn how to do off a blog so I think there is plenty of things out there to learn to sew. I am learning new things all the time. I have purchased books, and learned off blogs!

  21. I learned some basic quilting from my mother. Because we lived in different states i would call or email to ask questions. I learned so much more through quilt blog pics and tutorials.

    skowens (at) sbcglobal (dot) net

  22. I’m a self taught sewer and knitter. The best part of that for me was that there was no one to tell me that I couldn’t do something. Yes, I messed somethings up, but I also learned how to fix my mistakes.

    I learned way before the internet came along, but I’m still learning and the internet is a great source for me. So many inspirational sites out there to help get the creative juices flowing before I jump into a project with both feet.

  23. I am self taught and learned mostly through trial and error, plus through reading as many blogs and sewing books as I could. I would have loved (and still would!) to have a more structured intro to sewing by taking classes from an experienced teacher. It is, however, incredibly gratifying to know that I was able to not only teach myself a new skill, but able to continually grow by challenging myself to try new things such as a new way to install a zipper or a new kind or construction technique. I wish that more sewing and quilting shops also provided space for an open stitch lounge so that sewing enthusiasts could bring their own machines and have a place to gather and learn from their local community. While I still primarily use blogs and books to advance my sewing skills, I would love to have more direct, in-person contact with other sewists and quilters to share tips and learn from. Thanks for the chance to share and for the chance to win!

  24. I am self-taught really. I learned in high school, lots of years ago and didn’t keep it up. I started back a few years ago and I’m most proud because if I want to make something, I just forge ahead. I learn techniques and tips from blog land and also from lots of books. The recent sewing books on the market are colorful, comprehensive and fun to read and learn from. Having the web available is important to me because I can’t get out in person to places very often. Communication and interaction has been amazing through swaps and blog participation.

  25. My grandmother taught me to embroider, and my mom grudgingly taught me to make clothes (she hates to sew). Mostly I am self taught. I took a job in a sewing factory (very small – only three of us sewed) making nylon bags and duffle bags, then I just dove in and taught myself. I am quite accomplished now (many years later) but I still learn new things all the time – especially thanks to all the great tutorials online and inspiration from sewing blogs and pinterest.

  26. My mother sewed and my grandmother was a seamstress. We would get new dresses for Christmas and Easter. We would get to play with the fabrics and she showed us how to sew one piece to another piece. If I remember she started us sewing with a needle and thread and let us experiment. Then she let us get on the sewing machine and stitch slowly. One year my mother had us pick out the fabrics, the pattern and then said, “Okay, there you go, make it.” Gaah! It was so scary to cut the fabric.
    I think what really helped me to learn was to have fabric around me. To get a feel for what I like in the prints and what different fabrics feel like. I can usually feel a fabric and know if it’s cotton, polyester, silk, etc. If you know your fabrics, it’s much easier to sew and get what you want. I think it was a great way to learn because it was “normal” to have sewing around. I think the best way to learn is from other people. Books have great information, as do blogs, but there is no substitute for having someone there to see what you’re doing and tell you about thread tension, stitch length, feed dogs, threading the needle and all those good things.

  27. Pretty plaid! I learned to sew a couple of years ago using books and blogs. I would love to have had someone else with me, but honestly I learned a lot from trial and error. It probably wasn’t the best way to learn, and I’m probably breaking all kinds of rules, but it works ๐Ÿ™‚

  28. My great-grandmother taught me to sew while I was in grade school and my mother encouraged me and bought me a sewing machine of my own when I headed off to college. I wish they taught sewing skills in schools but with the way they are funded I know most can only afford the very basics at this point. Thank you for hosting a lovely giveaway.

  29. i learned to sew from my grandmother..i think this is a great way to learn ..a pressure free fun experience usually..i then learned to quilt in 8th grade…one of the teachers thought it would be good to offer it as a class during a free period..i dont know if many schools offer sewing as a class option but i think it is an indispensible skill ๐Ÿ™‚

  30. I am in the process of teaching myself to sew. I’ve purchased several books and I research various techniques online. I would say that nothing beats having an instructor and I am looking for classes in my area for 2012! Thanks for the giveaway!

  31. I have only been sewing for about a year but I love it. I started at PrudentBaby blog and they gave a tutorial on how to sew a zipper bag. It looked easy enough, so I dove in. I have been obsessed ever since.

    Thanks for the giveaway; I will definitely pin your blog so I can come back and spend some more time here!

  32. I learned from tutorials. I started with something simple, a head band… and when I was comfortable with that I got something bigger and bigger and bigger…. thanks for a great giveaway!

  33. I was taught to sew by my mom. She taught me how to use patterns, follow the directions and use a machine. she also encouraged me to be creative and hand sew things for my barbies and dolls before she taught me to use a pattern. When I took home economics in junior high I was way ahead of the curve and talked the teacher into letting us sew stuffed animals and I proceeded to make a raggedy Ann doll complete with embroidered face, hair from yarn and all her clothes. Of course my mom always helped with I got stuck. Then I just taught myself from reading books, blogs and some classes. My mom gave me my own machine when I was 18. The best qualities were patience, being daring and creative, loving your seam ripper and most of all having fun.

  34. I was in a Home Ec class in 6th grade. It was awful. They had us making stuffed animals with fake fur? Um – what were they thinking? Many years later I just started making things without direction. I always had an innate belief that I could just make whatever I wanted, and for the most part I did pretty well. Finally, though, I started using Oliver and S patterns and learned some real skills.

    In regards to teaching my daughter to sew, I got her a little 3/4 size sewing machine when she was 7 (she’s 8 now) and we set upon a project in which she makes “plus” squares for a quilt. She does the choosing of fabrics, the cutting with the rotary cutter, ironing. She uses real tools and does something she enjoys. And the best part? She is getting donations of $10 for each square she makes. When she makes 25 squares, we will sew them all into a quilt and send it, with the $250, to Smile Train – an organization that repairs cleft palates of children in developing countries who couldn’t otherwise afford the surgery. Not to toot my own horn, but seriously – isn’t *that* the way to learn to sew?

    Sorry if you didn’t want to know quite so much. ๐Ÿ™‚ I really love your wool. Wool is one of my favorite mediums.

  35. This is unbelievable I have been waiting to find a lightweight wool to coordinate with the two pieces that I have. If I win, I see a cape in my future. Thank you so much

  36. I first started learning through my mother, who quickly lost patience and sent me to a class where I was the youngest by far! The class taught me a lot- starting with mini projects like a pieced pillow and finishing with an item of clothing. I’m most proud of my attention to detail when sewing- I love couture details and finishes! It takes me much longer to finish a project but it makes it so much more professional (and long lasting.) I don’t recall who said it, but I heard a quote about how you should always sew with the best materials and the best techniques because you can buy cheap anywhere but most people can’t afford great. Sewing is a way to get that great quality for much less than designer prices. I continue to learn through blogs, mostly, though I’ve been reading more and more tailoring books and “couture technique” books. I took an online sewing course for one garment which taught me quite a bit about fitting and structure. I also enjoy shopping as a learning experience- going to stores I could never buy clothing from but looking at their seam finishes and construction techniques. So much of it can be applied to home sewing!

  37. I learned to sew from my mother and a middle school home ec class. As great as that fact was, my mother’s sewing machine was tempermental at best, and the schools’ machines were worse. In spite of it all, I remained passionate about sewing. My philosophy is that no matter the age of the student, is to eliminate as much “oopsie” factor as possible. If getting a 2nd hand machine for a student, have it serviced so it’s humming like a rockstar! It’s enough to work on getting seams to match, then to have the machine chew and spit out the perfectly matched seam is frustrating. My 4 yr old son helps me quilt and is learning geometry at the same time. He helps by handing me triangles matched up, squares and circles. I also try to not show my frustration when we sew together, thus the pile of quarters to place in a jar when I want to have naughty words. I love technology and hope all sewers and crafters use it. Youtube has wonderful tutorials, threadbangers is a very hip, repurpose sewing/styling site. I wish we had the internet when I had home-ec class. I also love the blogging world for community/charity outreach tool. Young people can learn to sew for charity as well as for themselves. I also enjoy the blogs for fellowship and community. Being late deafened, I don’t sign in the deaf culture, but read lips. It is really difficult to join a deaf sewing group and it’s difficult to join a hearing sewing group and sew and read lips at the same time. I’m either missing a whole conversation, or sewing my fingers together ๐Ÿ™‚ Reading blogs is the best of both worlds. I hear every word and can control when to sew or when to “hear” ie read. My wish for the future is that all videos were closed captioned automatically as I know it’s time consuming to prep. Google’s beta captions, while hilarious, are not appropriate. The words “President Clinton” and “government” are in almost every clip. I think we live in a wonderful age, where there is so much out there for us to use in order to continue to be lifelong learners, and yet, so much room out there for advances. Thank you for asking these questions in the comments. It’s great for us on the commenting side to read other comments and learn even more….so it’s a win win! Happy Holidays, and thank you for participating in this blog hop , especially during this hectic time ๐Ÿ™‚

  38. I learned to sew in a junior high home economics class. Sadly, a lot of schools have been forced to drop home ec classes due to budget cuts but I really learned a lot of life skills in those classes.

  39. I learned to sew from my Mother to some extent. But mostly from trial & error & books from the library. I wish that there were more affordable classes so that everyone could learn to sew. Online instruction on a free site that would help you with any problems, as well as have either photo by photo examples or live videos of how tos so that questions could be asked as you proceeded.

  40. I taught myself to sew, despite being the granddaughter of a talented seamstress, I just never cared until after she had passed on. Now I wish I had paid closer attention to what she did!

    • Thank you to all commenters! The giveaway is now closed. Check back on Sunday for the announcement of the winner. I look forward to taking more time to read and reread each thoughtful response.

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