Starting at the beginning with “School of Sewing”

Update: I officially completed the projects on May 5, 2015, with the lap quilt. School of Sewing definitely helped me achieve my goals and I’m grateful it was by my side, building my confidence as a sewer through new techniques, lots of time at the machine, and experimenting with different fabrics. Next up: garments!


I’m not completely green when it comes to sewing, but it’s become obvious to me that the reason lackluster results frustrate me (i.e., don’t meet my expectations and standards) it’s because I try to be an expert without building the experience that makes a person an expert. And when I finally came to terms with the fact that sewing on and off for many years did not equate to skilled sewing, I decided it was time to step back and look at it with a beginner mindset.

My first step toward developing my sewing skills in earnest is to follow along with the book School of Sewing by Shea Henderson and making each of the project in it. I researched many books, reading the advice of bloggers and their sewing audience, and settled on this one (I wish I could remember where I read about it!) because it offered the best mix of projects, with each project gradually building in difficulty and techniques. It’s succinct and relatively compact, and the step-by-step photographs are fantastic, especially for a visual learner like me.

In addition to instructions for 12 beautiful, practical, and useful projects, I was happy to see that the first section of the book covers things like choosing a sewing machine (which I was in the middle of when the book arrived), fabrics, colors, notions, and pressing (finally bought my first bottle of Mary Ellen’s Best Press and am thrilled with how well it works).

School of Sewing presser feet

Tips on presser feet and how helpful each would would be to buy

School of Sewing color fabric

Basic color theory information

School of Sewing pressing

The difference spray starch can make when pressing seams

In short, I am completely in love with this book and carry it with me all around the house, re-reading sections, planning my projects, drooling over the photos of fabric…and getting more and more excited for the final quilt project.

My goals once the projects are completed are to have improved my sewing accuracy, built my experience with different techniques, and established a good foundation for stepping into garment construction.