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Alterations charges can add up fast. Anyone have some recommended websites or videos to learn how to sew? I have a sewing machine and don’t know how to use it, but would like to learn.


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Alterations charges can add up fast. I have a sewing machine and don't know how to use it, but would like to learn.
I think that every middle or high school should include in its curriculum a course on basic cooking and on basic sewing. Mandatory. For all students. The social justice warriors may bitch and moan, but I'm just being practical.

Websites, books, and videos will help to an extent. Better yet, see if there's an older woman in the neighborhood who knows her way around a sewing machine and who, in exchange for a mutually-acceptable fee, will sit with you and teach you how to do alterations. Good old-fashioned one-on-one instruction is still the best way to go.
 

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^^Didn't they used to offer sewing and cooking classes in Junior High School Home Economics programs? I seem to recall that they did. Community colleges or Technical schools in your local area also may offer sewing courses leading to a Certificate in said training. :icon_scratch:
 

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^^Didn't they used to offer sewing and cooking classes in Junior High School Home Economics programs? I seem to recall that they did. :icon_scratch:
They sure did when I was in junior high school-but only for the girls. Guys were assigned either a wood shop or a metal shop course-and they didn't have a say in the matter.

I was required to take metal shop. Under duress, the first thing I learned how to make was an ash tray.

Guess how many times since then I have needed to make a metal ash tray. Now guess how many times it would have behooved me to be able to cook or sew.
 

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Wood shop here, but they wouldn't let us touch any of the lethal machinery I was aching to get my hands on!

While dining at our local Japanese restaurant, when asked, I mentioned that I could cook a little. The hostess responded, "Oh, you like to cook!?" I responded, "No, I like to eat!" The chef looked at me, nodded, and grunted approval! :D

But beyond buttons under protest, I shall leave the sewing to the tailors.
 

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One of my aunts was rather disgusted with the local schools sewing classes. The teachers really didn't understand the purpose of clothes, nor, really how to make them. They were concerned that seams were 5/8 inches from the edge and a bunch of other nonsense. The joy of making magnificent clothes was not part of the class. Tailors generally like, at least in the past, 1/4 inch seams and some places cut beyond, called inlays, in case the seam needs to be moved out there. What matters is that the garments are magnificent and functional.
 

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Metal, wood, ABS, fiberglass and plastic was combined in middle and high schools here. Sometimes I'd like to have a metal lath so that I can make tools and other objects. 3D printers lack engineered metal for the finish product. Read they take a long time to "print" something.
 

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What matters is that the garments are magnificent and functional.
This is sadly no longer the attitude of mainstream menswear. I walked into a shop and the salesman convinced me to try on an overcoat. The wool couldn't have been more than 16 oz, it hardly reached my knees and the sleeves were cut like a straight jacket's. I remember when even cheap clothes served the purpose they were meant to serve.
 

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I remember when even cheap clothes served the purpose they were meant to serve.

College educated for the clothing world have not been taught this. It is all about fast sells now. How many people spend time out doors, or ride in unheated vehicles. The buggy and sleigh are long gone. Sitting in the saddles for traveling is long gone. (Fences everywhere certainly ruined that). Functional seems unimportant for so many people today. Not even sure why some saggers even wear long pants with so much underwear showing. I think we need a more sense of humor than ever before. What's the next big laugh coming around the bend? The word decency has been through how many changes? For clothes, what will the next change be? And, should we be surprised?
 

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They sure did when I was in junior high school-but only for the girls. Guys were assigned either a wood shop or a metal shop course-and they didn't have a say in the matter.

I was required to take metal shop. Under duress, the first thing I learned how to make was an ash tray.

Guess how many times since then I have needed to make a metal ash tray. Now guess how many times it would have behooved me to be able to cook or sew.
LOL. In my case the Metal Shop final project was a dustpan. As I recall, we also had to make a spatula along the way(?). Memory is a fickle thing! :(
 

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Anyone have some recommended websites or videos to learn how to sew? I have a sewing machine and don't know how to use it...
I have some advice (but few bone fides, ask Flanderian): forget about the machine. Get a needle and thread. Hand-do your stuff. Teach yourself how. It's not tough, really. I only know two stitches and I've been screwing with my clothes since my 20s. I did get a machine, when I was 65.* Good for long, straight boring stuff like tapering pant legs. But not much else. A needle and thread. That's the ticket. And a subscription to Sirius/XM so you can listen to the Shadow, maybe the Green Hornet, (all on Channel 148) while you sew.

*I have a treadle Singer (which means you use your feet to power it) which I can't figure out and a WalMart Brother, which I can. Both are nestled in the building you see below, the Lil' House o'Duds, as seen in yesterday's storm and it's not a B&W pic. Squint and you'll see the green door.)

 

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This is sadly no longer the attitude of mainstream menswear. I walked into a shop and the salesman convinced me to try on an overcoat. The wool couldn't have been more than 16 oz, it hardly reached my knees and the sleeves were cut like a straight jacket's. I remember when even cheap clothes served the purpose they were meant to serve.
Why hire people who know how to make clothes, when you can get people who can't to work more cheaply!? ;)
 

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I have some advice (but few bone fides, ask Flanderian): forget about the machine. Get a needle and thread. Hand-do your stuff. Teach yourself how. It's not tough, really. I only know two stitches and I've been screwing with my clothes since my 20s. I did get a machine, when I was 65.* Good for long, straight boring stuff like tapering pant legs. But not much else. A needle and thread. That's the ticket. And a subscription to Sirius/XM so you can listen to the Shadow, maybe the Green Hornet, (all on Channel 148) while you sew.

*I have a treadle Singer (which means you use your feet to power it) which I can't figure out and a WalMart Brother, which I can. Both are nestled in the building you see below, the Lil' House o'Duds, as seen in yesterday's storm and it's not a B&W pic. Squint and you'll see the green door.)

Peak and Pine, it is great to see you posting again and your contribution to this thread is particularly appropriate. As I recall you are quite the talented seamster. Hope you can find the time in your future to stay in touch.
 

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A tailors thimble can make hand sewing much easier. Some cloth and combinations are hard to push a needle through without a thimble.

Here are some directions.
He has a good tutorial for padding collar foundation.


There are more lessons where the last one comes from, Rory Duffy.
 

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Tailors use sewing machines. Anyways, go find a local alterations person who seems to do good work, and pay them a few hundred bucks to teach you some basics. Hemming pants is easy; hemming suit jacket cuffs and taking in the waist are tricky; but it's all learn-able, and I regret not learning it myself when I had the chance several years back (just before an old guy who did great work retired).
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
A tailors thimble can make hand sewing much easier. Some cloth and combinations are hard to push a needle through without a thimble.

Here are some directions.
He has a good tutorial for padding collar foundation.


There are more lessons where the last one comes from, Rory Duffy.
Perfect...Thank you so much!

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