First Unsupervised Project

My experience sewing solo. No workshops, just me at home with my sewing machine.

A few days ago, I started and completed my first unsupervised project. It was another ‘envelope’ back cushion and the results were not too shabby. I could easily pick apart (pun intended) my project and be really hard on myself, but I will resist the temptation to do so. I have to be realistic: it’s my third EVER sewing project, it’s my first ever time following the instructions and creating it by myself, PLUS I finished it within 3 hours. I’m very proud. Here is the finished product:

‘Envelope’ back

My mum will be the lucky recipient of this cushion, along with my one of the items of my next project that I’ll start today, which is 2 aprons. For the aprons, I have had to create a pattern using the original, completed project, as I was not provided with the dimensions for the material. This has meant pushing myself further and taking the initiative to start learning more sewing skills. I’m very excited for where this will take me in terms of upcoming projects (pillowcases followed by a simple gathered skirt, perhaps).

Remember when I wrote about my unsuccessful use of the overlock stitch on the sewing machine, during my first unsupervised sew, which prompted the purchase of the overlocker? Well, I have to admit that I am now very happy with my decision to purchase the overlocker. An expense that I could perhaps have done without, however the results are brilliant. See for yourself:


Now that I have proved to myself that I can really sew, that it’s not just a fluke that occurs when I’m in a sewing class, I am ready to start the next project. I’ll let you know how it goes. My sewing adventure continues.

Overlocker Arrival

The unboxing of my new overlocker.

The overlocker has arrived. My thoughts: ‘What a complicated looking machine.’ It has come ready threaded, which I am extremely thankful for because threading that machine is the last thing I need. I just want to crack on with my sewing. I’m really eager to get going as I’ve really missed my time away from the sewing machine (is that a normal feeling??). I will give the instruction booklet a quick read and I may even watch parts of the instruction DVD. What are weekends for, if not to get to know your overlocker better?

My overlocker of choice is a Brother 1034D. The online reviews were quite good but I must admit that the deciding factor was the price. I get married in 4 months time and with a wedding to finish paying off for, I am barely justifying my sewing purchases. My motto is ‘A happy wife-to-be makes for a happy life with me.’ If I were to go on looks, which is all that this newbie can really go on, this overlocker appears to be able to do the job. When the time comes to eventually re-thread, the clearly marked, color-coded pathway of arrows should make it a relatively simple task. Here are some photos of the new arrival:


Just like the sewing machine, it was well packaged in order to avoid any damage in transit. I also received an instruction manual, warranty and instruction DVD. Plus, a bag filled with various accessories that I cannot name for lack of adequate knowledge, and I don’t imagine I’ll be using them any time soon:

Instruction manual, warranty and instruction DVD
Goodie bag
Foot pedal

Overall, I am impressed with the product so far. I definitely intend to get my money’s worth. There are sessions running at various venues in my local area that enable you to bring in your overlocker and get advice on how to use it. If I struggle to get to grips with the main functions of the overlocker then at least I have a backup plan, but that shouldn’t be necessary. I’m hoping to learn as I go along. Sigh…being a complete novice can be excruciatingly painful and frustrating – I just want to fast forward past this stage, but I know I’ll get the hang of this eventually. Enough procrastination, it’s time to sew. Fingers crossed, my next post will be another completed project.


Unsupervised Sewing

Trying the overlocker for the first time and seeing the results.

Basic sewing kit: Check!

Sewing machine: Check!

Fabric and accessories required for projects: Check!

Skills required to complete the projects: Lacking….

…Or perhaps that’s just what it feels like going it alone for the first time. So far, I’ve been working under the guidance of experienced tutors in a really supportive environment. It’s only normal that I would encounter problems when sewing unsupervised for the first time. This is the logical part of me reasoning with myself in hindsight. At the time, I was very frustrated, to say the least. I had started my first project, the cushion, and had gotten to the part where I needed to overlock two sides. I do not own an overlocker and had made sure to obtain advice on how to ensure the edges of the fabric did not fray. I was shown on the sewing machine I eventually purchased how to use an overlocking stitch on the fabric. I felt confident that I could achieve the same result at home. I was aware that it would not be as pristine a look but that it would do the job. Well…see for your self:

Attempt number 1:IMG_2843

Attempt number 2, which turned into a practice when I realised I’d messed it up again:

Attempt number 2

There were multiple attempts that followed, but none of them much better (some much worse) than the examples shown above. After spending an inordinate amount of time trying to perfect my skill with the overlocking stitch, I decided that enough was enough. I would buy an overlocker. The results when using one were so much better:

Results using an overlocker

This really made me disappointed in myself, because it felt like the classic case of the newbie who enthusiastically purchased everything. It still feels that way. SO much so that 3 days after this frustrating defeat, I’ve not picked up my sewing where I left off. My overlocker arrived today and I couldn’t even bear to open it. Having read through my earlier posts, it has given me the push I need to continue and reminded me that there will be moments in my sewing journey that I find challenging. However, I must persevere. In any case, the overlocker has now been purchased and if it helps to remove a barrier that has stopped me from sewing for 3 days, then so be it. Judge as you wish! I’ve grown accustomed to using an overlocker and it would have eventually been purchased at some point.

I have been researching beginner’s dressmaking and sewing courses in my local area and have come across one that starts in April that will enable me to learn and practice the basics. Overlocking stitch, you may have won the battle, but you will not win the war! I’m taking the easier way out for now to avoid discouraging myself any further, but I will continue to practice the overlocking stitch on the sewing machine. I know it will come in handy one day. In my opinion, if I can’t get the basics right then I’ll struggle to advance. Fancy machines can only get me so far. Tomorrow, I will continue my project and also find out what’s waiting for me inside this box:

The boxed overlocker