Help and Advice Needed!

My partner’s daughter is going to be 12 next week and, as she has enjoyed sewing a few things with me, we have decided to give her one of my old sewing machines. I wasn’t sure if this would be as good present as its a fine line between encouraging a child and pushing them into something which they later don’t enjoy, but we asked her if she wanted it and her response was beyond excited.

She doesn’t live with us and her Mum is not a sewer so if her sewing machine is not going to sit in the corner unused she could do with a book to help her and that’s where I need some advice.

So far we have sewn a simple dress which I drafted for her, an elastic waisted skirt and a t-shirt which we copied off one of her favourite tops. So she hasn’t really had any experience of sewing with patterns or making anything complicated. If she’s going to progress she really needs to start having a go on her own and make things she wants to make.

There are lots of beginner books out there but most of them are so pretty as to be off putting to a tomboy like Sas. She wants to make clothes she can wear to show off to her friends, that means t-shirts or sweat shirts or leggings, not pencil skirts or vintage dresses or cushion covers.

So does anyone know of a book which is good for absolute beginners and will help her to make the sort of things a self respecting 12 year old will want to wear?

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5 thoughts on “Help and Advice Needed!

  1. I don’t have one (taught by my mum) but howabout a practical Reader’s Digest or Vogue sewing one? I’ve got old Singer books – and while daggy looking they are easy to understand with good pictures.

  2. Oops another thought. Even just a few of those ‘learn to see’ ‘sewing for dummies’ that Simplicity etc put out might help. Often those step-by-step projects teach you the most and you end up with a wearable garment – more inspiring than anything else.

  3. I learnt to sew from Sew U by Wendy Mullin. Very 90s but not girly and with great emphasis on adapting patterns to what you actually want to sew. Also Yeah, I Made It Myself. Can’t remember the author and sadly I no longer have the book. I lent it to someone who never returned it.

  4. I don’t know of any books but my kids definitely turn to the screen in the first instance when they want to learn stuff, so while you’re looking for the right book, you could direct her towards Youtube tutorials; look for crafting and DIY fashion. My fave “tutor” is Professor Pincushion.

  5. What about a Japanese pattern book? Simple Modern Sewing has some lovely styles, including loose trousers and plain tops. You might have to help her decode the pattern sheets, which are a bit intimidating when you first look at them.

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