What on earth has a boiled egg to do with learning to sew?
Well, waaaay back in the 90's, TV chef and author Delia Smith realised that people were no longer cooking at home, cooking was no longer taught in schools and people really did not know where to start. So, she went back to basics and taught us all how to boil an egg! This first, achievable, easy meal meant many of us ventured back into our kitchens, successfully followed her instructions, and started to build back our cooking confidence. Delia assumed we had no cooking knowledge and walked us through it. Chefs were outraged - calling this the dumbing down of cookery, however they missed the point! Their wonderful cookbooks full of sauces and fancy sous vide techniques, although fabulous to look at were not getting people cooking - it was too complicated to start - we needed the basics.
I see a very similar situation in home sewing. It is no longer taught in schools and rather than be shown the basics, sewing books, TV programmes and websites assume too much sewing knowledge, too much sewing gadgetry and try to have us dive in at the deep end, with fancy and complex dressmaking patterns, setting us up to fail. How can we put in a zip if we have no idea how to tack a seam, or sew a straight line?
Instead, lets go back to the 'boil an egg' stage - first learn to sew a straight seam! Practice this until you have built your confidence and then move on to the next sewing process. Maybe learn to sew a curved seam, or a corner. As you build your knowledge in simple steps, you can then apply it to a variety of sewing projects - successfully and confidently apply it! As you will have practiced it again and again, so it will no longer hold any fear for you. Scared of inserting a zip - learn the step by step process first, practice it, and then, when confident, pop it into your project. No beautiful fabric ruined, no project left with a dodgy zip insertion.
By keeping a record of these practice exercises, you also start to build your own invaluable sewing reference library. This is the way professionals are taught to sew, none of us dives straight in to a dressmaking pattern and churns out a perfect frock first time. We take time to learn and perfect the basics, so we can build on this foundation and with more complex processes. The more you learn of the art of sewing, the more you can apply this knowledge to what you want to sew and successfully finish each sewing project you take on. This is the concept we apply to all of our beautifully crafted lessons. We take away the fear, while providing you with everything you need to learn each process, to practice and to make perfect.
Ignore those who want you to go and cook the soufflé first! Learn to boil the egg beautifully, and within time your soufflé will be perfect.