Ever fancied learning to stitch but lack the confidence for a sewing course? Well you aren’t alone. At this time of year loads of people try something new and – secretly – are terrified that they’ll be crap at it when they do. There’s nothing like signing up for that dressmaking or embroidery course to make you wonder if you’re about to make a mahoosive tit of yourself.
Well, one thing I’ve learned about running my own Easy Embroidery! course is this: you can be given all of the technical advice in the world but if you’re scared of trying it, it’s meaningless. Your fear about not being as good as everyone else or feeling overwhelmed are grenades on the battlefield of your education (which is one hell of a bad metaphor, I know).
That’s where I bluster in. The trick is to make improving your confidence for a sewing course part of the learning curve. Think of it as an extra module, like understanding French knots or box pleats. And whether you’re doing Easy Embroidery! or any other course, mastering the course confidence module first makes the rest of your learning a piece of stitchy cake. So are you ready? Let’s go…
Remember that it is just sewing. If you get it wrong you can unpick your stitches and start again. You’re not being taught to do kidney transplants. No one will die if you bugger this up.
Be kind to yourself. Allow yourself to make mistakes without beating yourself up. In fact before you start the course give yourself permission to make mistakes. Repeat this to yourself: “I will screw up and that’s how I’ll learn.”
You’re not supposed to be confident. This is new territory. If you were utterly without any feeling of anticipation, fear or excitement I’d call the social services.
Did you know that Beyonce practiced for 8 months for her two hour Homecoming gig? That’s how much it’s OK to give yourself time to learn.
Another way to improve your confidence for a sewing course is to remember that you are not alone. Many students will feel exactly the same. Try to imagine what kind words you’d say to other nervous course members then say that to yourself.
Make ugly things. Forget perfect stitches. After the first lesson, get a piece of practice fabric and deliberately mess up what you have been taught. So, with Easy Embroidery! try running stitch in the way I show you and then try it again but putting the needle in a slightly different place. It’ll look wonky, weird, inconsistent, messy and… you’ll live to tell the tale.
Don’t be intimidated by brilliant sewing. No one ever picked up a hoop or pattern and spewed out designer perfection without spending several years making a mess first. The difference between them and everyone else is that they just kept trying.
Don’t be intimidated by me either. There’s nothing like picturing me crying because it’s midnight and I STILL haven’t completed that embroidery to boost your confidence for a sewing course
Post pics online of what you’re working on for accountability or support, like we do in my Facebook group. I know, it’s a horrifying thought but hear me out: the first time is scary but every time after that it’ll be easier and your confidence will grow. The first time I posted a pic of my palsied face I thought villagers would come to my door and drag me to the local ducking stool. They didn’t so I posted another and another. Now? I’m hounding Vogue.
Don’t see it as lacking confidence. See it as gaining courage. And confidence comes from courage. The first step is bravery, every time, and I just KNOW that you can do bravery.
Don’t look at the course as a whole. It’ll send you over the edge if you’re nervous about it. Just think of the first stitch of the first lesson instead. And yeah it feels like a BIG stitch, I know, but if you hate it that much put it down and walk away. I won’t set the local sewing mafia on you, I swear.
Fuck perfection. It’s boring and dull.
Improve your confidence for a sewing course by embracing mistakes. In fact, enjoy them. Try to see every mistake in a new way: can you use it to create a different shape to the one you intended? Can you decorate it in some interesting way? Is it not a mistake but just an unintended way of doing things?
Picture what you want to be by the end of the course. A good basic embroiderer? Someone who can complete a course? Someone who has faced her fears? Of course, keep it realistic (don’t decide to run a global empire of sewing factories) but aspirational too. Then see yourself being that thing and keep that goal right in your mind.
Don’t go into this saying that you can’t sew. You can. You just don’t know it yet.
Think of the transferable skills you already have. if you’ve ever decorated your house you already know what colours and styles you like, right? If you knit then you already know the feel of textiles in your hands. If you’ve sewn a button you can aim a needle at fabric and get it in exactly the right place. See, you already have what you need!
Stop comparing. It sucks the joy out of everything. And don’t forget that if you do see the brilliant work of others, it’s all an illusion. They’ll show you the finished piece of embroidered brilliance but not the tears, stress and ruined stitches that got them to that point.
Be scared, do it anyway. If there is one thing I’ve learned from a year of daily yoga it’s that it’s possible to look The Fear in the eye and then tell The Fear to just wait over there while you get shit done. It works on embroidery hoops as well as yoga mats.
If someone has told you that you cannot sew, use this course to tell them to go fuck themselves.
Create a learning space that gives you the maximum chance of success: a fave armchair with lovely light, a quiet corner where there are no kids, propped up on the bed with the radio on… and the more you use that space the more you will equate it with the course and the more it’ll give you confidence before you’ve even picked up your next lesson.
Set tiny goals to ratchet up your confidence for a sewing course : I will only do the first lesson or I will show my work in the group or I will make three stitches… and then set another goal. And another.
Just ask for help. I’m in my Facebook group every day for Easy Embroidery! and want to help you learn. Any good teacher will be ready to catch you if you fall. You just have to jump.
If you fancy giving Easy Embroidery! a go, here’s your chance. It’s been designed for complete beginners and will teach you how to stitch your own embroidery hoops in just 12 lessons. Shift your arse though because course intake closes on Friday 18 October until 2020! Find out more and sign up RIGHT HERE.