Learning to Sew Again

More than a decade ago, I had a sudden itch to stitch. Again. 

I found myself shopping for patterns to use a bright Hawaiian print I had purchased on a recent trip to Oahu. My father was stationed on Oahu when I was small, and from living there, I had developed an abiding affection for bright tropical prints. If you haven't been to a fabric store in Hawaii, you are really missing something. The one that I visited was filled with brilliant cottons and gorgeous barkcloths.

My color-splashed cotton sarong!

While I remembered the basics of sewing from when I was younger, and I had sporadically done a project here and there in my 20s and 30s, I was really feeling my way in the dark. I wasn't sure what to make with my treasured tropical textile, but I knew that it had to be simple. I landed upon a sarong-style wrap that was part of a bathing suit pattern.

I read the back of the pattern envelope carefully, as I had been taught. This pattern was the first of the hundreds that I now have stored in a sewing cabinet, and I have held on to it, as I do all my patterns, for strictly sentimental reasons.

The pattern very specifically indicated that it was suitable for two-way stretch knits. I unfortunately had a woven. I already had my heart set on my Hawaiian fabric, and thus I began the first of a long career of breaking the rules in sewing. Scandalous! I used a woven fabric with a knit pattern!

I have to say that this is the only way to really learn to sew. While rules are nice to know, it's also liberating to forget about them and follow your heart. I have learned more about sewing from following my gut instinct than any other method. 

I happily stitched up that sarong and wore it for the rest of the summer. As a matter of fact, that same color-splashed cotton sarong found its way into my suitcase on a recent vacation.

You can never go wrong in sewing if you follow your heart. And never be afraid  to break the rules–you might learning something new!

For many easy sewing patterns that will delight any returning sewist, check out the 30% off sale on ePattterns in the Sew Daily Shop.

How have you broken the rules in sewing as a part of your learning process? What rewards did you reap? Tell us all about it!

Happy stitching!


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About Amber

Amber Eden is the editor of Stitch and SewDaily.com. She LOVES sewing and editing Stitch and SewDaily.com. She also loves dance, yoga, iced decaf triple espressos, and her two golden retrievers. She divides her time between Boston and New York.

15 thoughts on “Learning to Sew Again

  1. I broke the rules and cut out a pattern on the bias when the grain line called for a straight grain. I learned that it offers more of a shapely fit, but that the seams must be handled with utmost care (supported by a staystitch and possibly a walking foot) to keep them from looking wavy. I also learned to “rest” the garment by hanging it for a couple of days (best on a body form your size and not just a hanger) to let the bias fall and then hem it. I had to hem it again because I did not do that.
    Kathy Barnard

  2. When I was a senior in high school in 1966 I chose a pattern that was a traditional double breasted suit with three quarter length sleeves. My teacher thoroughly approved of it. It was the Jackie Kennedy Era and I updated the sleeve to a cap sleeve that Jackie made so popular. It is still my favorite sleeve and I see it making a comeback. My teacher hated it.

  3. I was wondering if you could share the a name of the actual pattern you used for this sarong. It’s such a cute one ! I’d love to make matching ones for my daughter and I.
    Just found this blog and I really like it! Thanks so much !

  4. I searched through my pattern drawers, it was not there, so it must be packed away in a box! I have found a similar pattern: Kwik Sew 3330. but I will keep looking!