Quick And Easy Sewing Projects For The Novice Seamstress

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Do you remember HomeEc classes? You know the ones where you had to create a pillow or apron. If you do, then you know how a bug can get started. For me, I had been introduced to sewing before this because my older sister went through the class before me, but once I got in that class something took a hold of me and hasn’t let go.

I don’t do as much sewing now as I used to, but I still can be found hunched over the sewing machine late into the night when my daughter (who is 28 and still makes requests) needs a special item for an event. Or, you might find me creating curtains from a shower curtain to match the rest of the bathroom as I recently did for my mother.

This article isn’t about my love for sewing. It’s about being new to sewing and some of the wonderful quick and easy items you can make to get you started. Read on to find out more.
Sewing Basics

The basics of sewing are pretty easy. You will need a sewing machine and know how to operate it and a pattern in most cases. I say “in most cases” because I don’t always use a pattern now. Over the years, I have let my imagination create the pattern for me.

You need to make sure that your sewing machine is right for your abilities. When you are just starting out, you don’t need a machine with so many bells and whistles that you become intimidated. Choose one that has simple instructions and is easy to operate. I get by with a basic Brother 21 stitch machine for all my sewing.

The pattern is the next thing you need to look at when you start out sewing. Many of the pattern companies have realized that HomeEc is no longer taught in schools and have created great easy and simple patterns for the novice home seamstress. Choose one of these to get you going in a style that you like. You will want to read the pattern carefully and if there is anything you don’t understand, don’t hesitate to make use of their toll-free number to ask.

In order to get you started, let’s make one of my favorite gift items for a new home owner.

The Plastic Grocery Bag Holder

You will need a kitchen hand towel, thread to match the towel, 1/4 inch satin ribbon (one piece about 3 inches long to create the hanger and one piece 24 inches long to create the bow), and 1/4 inch elastic (two pieces about 6 inches long).

If the towel has a pattern printed on one side but not the other, you will use that as the outside of you plastic grocery bag holder.

Place the towel face down on your work surface. Two inches from the end of the towel on each end is where you will pin your elastic in place. You need to stretch it all the way across the towel and pin it down. Take it to your machine and sew the elastic down with a straight stitch down the center of the elastic piece. Do this for both pieces of elastic.

Fold the towel in half lengthwise and make a seam using your straight stitch down the open side of the towel.

Attach your first piece of ribbon to the top of the towel where you just created the back seam. You can machine sew this or you can hand sew it, just make sure you form a loop with the ribbon to create a hanger.

Once your hanger is done, Lay the towel down on your work surface with the seam down the middle of the back. You are looking to find the center of the top of your grocery bag holder so that you can place your decorative ribbon bow there. When you find the center, attach the ribbon to the bag with a few stitches. Tie the bow and you’re done.

Another item that I like to make for new home owners are coasters. You can buy ribbon with embellishments such as beads, feathers, etc to add to squares of felt.

Cut your felt square about three inches by three inches. Pin your ribbon to the square and attach via a straight stitch. You can make these up relatively in an hour and you have a unique gift to give.

For the family who has just had a new baby, I buy plain bibs at the dollar store and add my own embellishments to them. On some I might just add a prettier ribbon and on others adding a embroidered applique might be the touch I want.

Pillows are easy to make and stuff with the new pillow forms you can buy at the craft stores. Just cut two pieces of material slightly larger than the pillow form. Place them with the inside of the fabric facing out and stitch all the way around with a straight stitch. Make sure to leave a three inch opening so that you can turn the material and stuff it with the pillow form. Stitch the opening closed with your machine or by hand.

I hope you found some ideas to get you sewing here today.

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