Weird as it seems, people didn’t actually die of boredom before television was invented. Instead, they had hobbies: many people could play a musical instrument at least passably well or spent their idle hours creating handmade objects, either for their own use or as gifts for their family and neighbors.
Unlike with modern, mass-produced products, a present’s uniqueness and beauty were just as important as its usefulness. Creativity was seen as everyone’s birthright, not just an attribute belonging to a lucky few.
If you think crafting seems like a good alternative to Netflix and video games, you may want to give sewing a try. It’s cheaper and easier than you probably think, and you’ll be amazed at what kinds of projects you can tackle with even a basic sewing machine.
Beginner’s Projects You Can Try on a Basic Sewing Machine
As long as you use it every now and again, a good sewing machine truly pays for itself.
Where do you start, though?
Well, it takes very little time to figure out basic skills like those you need to hem some pants or replace a zipper. Here’s a good tutorial for stuff like that.
Being able to do this yourself is useful; however, repairs and alterations aren’t much fun. Don’t restrict yourself to the boring stuff!
Instead, try a couple of the following beginner’s sewing projects to learn new skills while enjoying yourself and creating a couple of charming gifts besides.
Up-Cycling Clothes for the Little Ones
Fashion waste is now being recognized as a huge environmental problem. Landfills are brimming with clothes that outlived their stylishness.
Simultaneously, many parents are scratching their heads over how to clothe their fast-growing offspring without going broke.
These are two problems that can help solve each other.
Converting adult clothes into children’s sizes really isn’t that hard, especially since you can re-use much of the sewing that was originally done in the factory.
These up-cycled clothes don’t have to look shoddy or boring, either. Depending on how much effort you’re willing to go to and what kind of sewing machine you have, you can personalize them to the nines. With the right equipment, for instance, embroidering their initials or any design you choose becomes easy.
If the last sewing machine you used belonged to your grandmother, you may well be amazed at how far they’ve come in terms of versatility. Even fairly modestly priced ones these days include multiple types of presser feet and are capable of numerous kinds of stitches.
This means that, as long as you have a little patience and an eye for color, you can sew your own bed comforters from fabric scraps. Though not too difficult a project for a beginner, most people will understand how much effort goes into sewing a quilt, making them treasured gifts.
Reusable Gift Bags
Wrapping paper is not the most useless human innovation ever; that honor belongs to the selfie stick. Still, once your age is in double figures, tearing open your presents is no longer the highlight of your birthday, and you may want to look for alternatives to single-use items meant to just be thrown away.
These cloth gift bags are ridiculously easy to make with a sewing machine yet look very elegant.
You can go wild with decorating them. Iron on a printed design, glue on some sequins, or give tired fabric scraps a new lease on life with some creative dyeing techniques.
The idea that young children need things with batteries in them in order to have fun is a total myth. Quirky toys with sentimental value, including dolls that have their own personalities, can still be favorites.
One person I know, a man in his thirties, still keeps his hand-sewn childhood companion in his bedroom. It’s named “Roadkill” on account of having lost its stuffing over the years.
Creating your own rag doll is one project that really doesn’t require a ton of sewing experience. You’ll be amazed at how many different types can be made in under half an hour.
A Giant Teddy Bear
It’s not a gift for all occasions, but sometimes a colossal ursoid really does say a thousand words.
As it turns out, huge stuffed toys are very similar to smaller ones. In fact, you could say that a novice at sewing actually has a greater margin for error when creating one of these.
As these guys figured out, you can basically just scale up a small bear to create a large one. As you work on it, you may use bits of your old clothing, incorporate inside jokes you share with the person you’re giving it to, add lavender leaves to make it smell good, or do whatever you think will make your teddy bear more special. Give it claws and fangs, if that’s something the recipient will appreciate.
A Simple Bean Bag
If something is supposed to be shapeless, even the most amateur sewer can hardly go wrong. At least, this is the case if they own a sewing machine capable of handling heavy upholstery fabrics.
Bean bags aren’t as popular as they once were, but don’t count them out especially for use by children. If you have a blanket or two you’re willing to turn into furniture, making your own may save you several hundred dollars.
From Basic Alterations to Beautiful Apparel
Sewing is just like any other skill. At first, you won’t know your ankle from your elbow. So, you try a few beginner’s projects, mess up a couple of these, but also become more familiar with the basic techniques and also the idiosyncrasies of your sewing machine.
Before you know it, stuff that used to be hard becomes automatic, and things that were once impossible begin to seem merely difficult.
If you keep practicing and work through the frustration, you may well find sewing to be a great hobby as well as a way to save money. Every time you learn something new, you gain a different way to express your creativity – before long, you’ll be much less reliant on patterns and instructions and may even work up the confidence you need to call yourself a fashion designer.