Make This the Summer You Learn How to Sew

Last year I had the honor of teaching a beginner sewing class for adults who had never sewn before in their lives.

Learning about bobbins–Day 1 of bootcamp.
Finished Tote–with gusset!

This was not a refresher course for lapsed Girl Scouts and 4-H members. These women had never touched a sewing machine.

What motivated these women? Their daughters had started sewing lessons to learn to sew and these moms wanted to get in on the fun. And fun it was!

I called the class Sewing Bootcamp and promised that after two 2-hour classes, they would be able to fearlessly sit at a sewing machine make stuff. We started by learning that the sewing machine had a top thread AND a bobbin—and how to wind that bobbin. Then we raced through basic cutting, stitching a straight (or straight-enough) seam, pressing, and accepting that as beginners, sometimes “good enough” is good enough.

By the end of the first class, this adventurous group had wound their own bobbins, threaded their own machines, and made small tote bags. And not ordinary tote bags, mind you. But tote bags with gusseted corners!

After that, there was no stopping the Bootcampers. The following week we learned the basics of standard sewing patterns, cut out a pair of pajama pants, and finished them—including the waistline elastic. Whew! Bootcamp was the perfect name for the class. Sewing muscles were discovered and strengthened—and buzz cuts were not required.

If you’ve taken an introductory class and want to expand your skills, or you are just getting a hankering this summer to sit down at a sewing machine and learn how to sew, check out the Liesl Gibson DVD bundle at the Sew Daily Shop.

How did you learn to sew? Tell us about it in the comments below.

Happy sewing,



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12 thoughts on “Make This the Summer You Learn How to Sew

  1. When I was 10, I wanted to learn to sew like my mother. We began with a sleeveless blouse. I got to sew all the straight seams while my mother did the curves for me. I was never more proud of a garment.
    Since then, I have continued to sew including many dance costumes with all the sequins. It is my relaxation!!!


  2. My mom taught me to sew as well. I remember starting with a gathered skirt. I’m sure there was no pattern involved–just a length of fabric gathered in a waistband she would have measure by wrapping it around me. And I’m also sure she did a lot of the gathering! I wish I had that skirt…

  3. I learned to sew in what could be called 3 steps. At age nine my best friend’s mom wanted her daughter to learn and figured she would be more likely to learn with a friend. We made an apron. I loved sewing my friend did not. We moved away – end of lessons.
    At 12 my mom’s cousin offered to teach me because I wanted to learn more. I started making my own cloths. I was very small for my age and store bought cloths were to big that were age appropriate. I was off and running.
    At 15 I took home ec in high school. I was way ahead of the class and had to do all the “beginning stuff” over again.
    I still sew some of my cloths and both of my grown daughters, who both have fit issues, one is very tall the other is very busty. Both get many compliments when they wear something I made them.

  4. My mother-in-law bought me a sewing machine last year when she came out for my daughter being born. I now own my own business selling handmade baby carriers, bags and more!! 🙂 Sewing has opened up a whole new chapter for me. 🙂

  5. I sewed quite a bit for my daughters when they were younger–and I’ve just started sewing for them again now that they are grown. Usually I pick a designer or pattern that I’m interested in trying, and email some fabric choices to get approval before I get started.

  6. Mi mother used to sew for us,her girls only,and I gave me all the leftover which I used to sew for mi dolls.That’s the beginning of mi sew carrier.
    I love mi sewing machine and I sew Bags acessories all you can sew love it.

  7. Mi mother used to sew for us,her girls only,and I gave me all the leftover which I used to sew for mi dolls.That’s the beginning of mi sew carrier.
    I love mi sewing machine and I sew Bags acessories all you can sew love it.

  8. My grandmother was a sample maker for a large garment factory in Kansas City, Missouri. My grandmother taught me to sew. I made doll clothes, sewing them by hand. When I couldn’t find a blouse that fit me (too busty) my grandmother took a sheet of newspaper and made a pattern for me by fitting and marking it against me. I cut the pattern out (adding the seam allowance) and finally had a blouse that fit. My mother also taught me many things about sewing. She was the supervisor over many seamstresses in the same factory where my grandmother worked. This was a nice factory, no “sweat shop”. I still do quite a bit of sewing at age 72, and still love to sew and make things. I am so glad that sewing has become popular again!

  9. I learned to sew at both my Mother and Grandmothers` knee. When She and Grandpa would come to visit she and mom would sit by a living room window , with me sitting on the floor watching , and they would sew, talk and drink alot of coffee together. Come to think of it , thats where I got my love of coffee from the first! LOL. But they taught me together. I`ve been sewing ever since. Miss them both dearly.

  10. I took sewing in Junior High for two years starting at age 14 ands HAVE been sewing ever since… When I got married my mother-in-law taught me more than I ever learned in school..So I’ve been sewing now for 53 years.. I fell in love with quilting 12 years ago and just recently got started back sewing garments again since some of my granddaughters are at that age now to where they want grandma to make them some clothes and want to learn themselves… My mother never learned to sew so my sister and I had to always make or remake her clothes since she was so hard to fit [ big busts and high waist ]… I never liked adjusting clothes and still don’t… I finally learned to tell people ‘no’ when they ask me… I’d rather take a beating than remake something… Gail

  11. What fantastic stories–and interesting journeys in The Sewing Life–and that so many of us have learned by watching–and thereby wanting to learn. I’m excited to see the resurgence of garment sewing again–from sewists of all ages. (And I also agree with Gail. I do not enjoy doing alterations! I found the name of the best alterations tailor in town and just handed out the phone number!)