What project do I do first? What projects can you recommend? A common question for new sewers that is surprisingly tricky to answer! The project needs to be something simple, achievable and that can be finished in a relatively short time so you do not lose interest but build confidence. However, for most projects, garments in particular, you do need to know a range of sewing processes, such as seam types, hems, facings, darts, fastenings, finishing seams, etc etc, and that's before you hit the fabric shop or try to fit the garment! It's all too easy to be deterred by what some may recommend as a 'simple project'.
This is where the Weekend Wonder comes in, your first sewing projects, simplified and designed for your success. These are a range of genuinely straightforward sewing projects, designed to build your sewing knowledge while also giving you something beautiful at the end to be proud of. Created to be completed in a weekend, some may in fact take only an hour or so, but who is timing?! By taking time with a project, taking breaks between each step, maybe trying some hand sewing, focusing on pressing and accuracy, but basically enjoying the creative sewing process itself you can indulge in the work and fit it into your day however you wish!
The projects are also simple is regards to the materials used. No need to try to understand and find fancy types of fabric, most can be made from materials you already have at home, from tea towels to pillow cases, old clothing to leftover project scraps, we can use them all to produce something fabulous. Not sure what thread or needle type to use, all provided too! This helps remove some of the stresses of starting to sew, what fabric do I need, where do I buy it - all taken care off for you.
A favourite project, I would definitely recommend as somewhere to start, is my Tea Towel Tote. An interesting shaped bag, achieved in only a few simple steps, made from tea towels! It is based on a traditional Japanese cloth bag called Azuma Bukuro, from the Japanese practice of wrapping gifts in fabric - furoshiki. The description is more complex than the sewing!
This project is a perfect sewing start in many ways:
The bag uses two basic tea towels, a familiar fabric, reasonably cheap while widely available in a huge range of colours and patterns
Tea towels can be purchased in supermarkets and stores we are familiar with, no need to try and find a fabric shop or understand the hundreds of types of fabrics on sale, let's simplify that step for you!
As they are already hemmed, you do not need to worry about finishing any raw edges, they are already edged
There are no complex sewing processes involved, no facings, no zips, nothing off putting
By sewing only a few straight lines the bags come together beautifully - only three straight lines for a basic bag
You do not need to be too accurate in your sewing or seam allowances, it is a very forgiving project
The bags can be sewn by hand or by machine, you only really need a needle and thread, so if you are impatient, there's nothing stopping you getting started!
Once you have made one and mastered the construction technique, you can make as many as you like, in as many different sizes and colours as you fancy
A bag can be completed easily in a weekend, great for your sewing skills and your sewing confidence
You end up with a wonderfully practical bag
They look great! You will be proud to say 'Look what I made, I can sew!'
All of the Weekend Wonder projects work in this simple way. They are designed to guarantee sewing success and build sewing confidence, while giving you something wonderful and practical at the end. They also encourage sustainability, allowing you to use fabrics you may already have in your home, or smaller scraps that can be pieced together.
Other examples of upcoming Weekend Wonder projects include, making your own patchwork bias binding - a wonderfully unique way to finish your work and making fabric jewellery, beautiful bracelets and necklaces made from small pieces of fabric, there is also a wonderful long scarf with pockets attached. This is only the tip of the sewing project iceberg, so to speak. Please do check in to the shop as these will be released individually over the coming weeks.
The whole purpose of The Dressmaker's Apprentice is to support people in learning to sew and to start sewing in the simplest ways possible. As our values show, we firmly believe there should be no barriers to sewing, no need for expensive machinery or gadgets to get you started. With this in mind we provide two options for the Weekend Wonder projects:
Free! Yes, you can download the project instruction booklet for free! No charge at all, simply visit our store and add the pdf version to your basket, check out for free and receive the booklet straight to your email. You can then source your own fabric, needles, pins, whatever is required for the project.
Simple! Each Weekend Wonder comes as a complete package, containing all you need to successfully sew it. For example, the Tea Towel Tote includes, tea towels, needles, pins, thread and the instruction booklet. This means you have absolutely everything you need to successfully complete a project. No need to nip to the shops or pop online to purchase anything else, no need to print the instructions, the booklet is provided for you. It all comes directly to your door and you can start and finish your project without having to worry about anything else.
Every Weekend Wonder project will add a sewing skill or two to your sewing library. From simple straight seams or patch pockets, to using interfacing or bias binding, they assume no sewing knowledge, and let you learn and practice something new while continuing to build your sewing confidence.