We can all use some skill polishing, and sometimes just camaraderie and encouragement!
Here are some of the approaches you can take to learn or improve a sewing or design skill.
Free online wikis and videos
Just use your favorite search engine (I use Google) and type in the skill you want to learn or a problem that you have with a current project. Wikihow can be very helpful. There are YouTube videos, of course, but you can also find videos embedded in fabric stores' websites, public television, bloggers, and more.
Here is one that a dear customer just shared: Made to Sew
Increasingly, the sewing public is expecting more tutorials from the Big 4 pattern companies and other pattern companies.
Check your local 4H, Cooperative Extension office, adult education, and other city and county resources for inexpensive, structured lessons that range from beginner to more advanced. Other resources might be YMCA, YWCA, and New York's famous 92nd Street Y.
Many chapters of American Sewing Guild, Association of Sewing and Design Professionals, and other sewing organizations promote instruction. ASDP offers standards for certification.
Quilting and sewing groups
For companionship, look for a local group. Quilting and sewing groups range from casual local groups to specialized groups with "missions" such as Quilts of Valor. Churches often have specialized concerns such as womens' shelters, quilts for charity groups, deployed service members, hospitals and elderly people, and more.
Bluprint and more subscription lessons
Formerly known as Craftsy, Bluprint is subscription based and has an extensive menu of video lessons. Comcast subscribers are able to subscribe directly through their smart tvs on a monthly basis. Free trials are often available.
Other websites like Sew Daily have similar online lessons.
Some sewing related websites like Pattern Review have tutorial subscriptions.
Conferences, expos, and trade shows
These meetings are sometimes large with dense displays of sewing machines, fabrics, books, etc. Many times there are specialized classes that you can pay for. This is often a good way to connect with a sewing teacher whose skill set appeals to you and complements your need for instruction. The Original Sewing and Quilt Expo is one.
Specialized independent teachers
Want to learn how to fit yourself perfectly? You might learn a lot from a teacher like Cynthia Guffey, a favorite of some of our customers. Or go for that goal-oriented intensive class from a teacher like Sarah Veblen.
University design programs
Many colleges and universities have costume design or fashion design departments. They usually require some basic sewing skills and they may require a portfolio of your projects.
University of Maryland, Virginia Commonwealth University, Howard University, and Marymount University are just a few local to us. Check your local universities and colleges.
Specialized art and design schools
The best design schools are competitive. They usually require some existing knowledge of clothing construction, as well as a portfolio of your ideas. Rhode Island School of Design, Corcoran School of Art, Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising, and of course who can leave out Parsons and FIT? Many design schools are concentrated on the Eastern seaboard and on the West Coast.
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