Textile & Sewing Resources for Beginners


Lately I've been getting my feet wet in the world of sewing.  For quite some time I've had some creative projects I've wanted to pursue (and perhaps sell!) and I've finally had time to explore my options and learn some new skills.  Some great things I've discovered (so far): 

1. Online Tutorials
I'm not one to really enjoy taking classes publicly when I don't know what I'm doing (see: many turned-down invites to yoga), so I got really excited when I found two super online (comfort-of-my-own-home) resources that are helping me learn some techniques when it comes to sewing.  The last time I touched a machine was when I used to sew pillows for my dolls when I was about...7? so really I'm a complete beginner.   

The first resource I stumbled across was the Sewing 101 class on Brit + Co.  This inspired me to order some awesome tiki printed fabric from Spoonflower (which also happens to be in Princeton's colors sooo it looks like I'll have an awesome custom skirt for Reunions this year)!  [Side note: since I'm still waiting for my fabric to arrive, I just took the Brit + Co Photography for Bloggers course and it offered up some great tips.  It's inspired me to start taking photos with my NEX-6 every day so I can feel as in control with my digital camera as I do with my film camera.] 

I was later introduced to Creativebug since they're offering a textile design course in partnership with Spoonflower (more on that below).  So far I've enjoyed taking their classes, which have allowed me to get my new sewing machine set-up, master some basic techniques, and begin to understand all that goes into quilting.  I like that they have a variety of free classes too so for people looking to learn something without spending any money, there's still a lot of great content available. 

2. Fabric Resources
Coming from the worlds of architecture and interior design, I LOVE materials so I've naturally been apt to wander around fabric stores and peruse sites online.  I'm also super into good graphic design so whenever I find fabrics that really pop and fit into my mid-century/tiki theme, I get really excited.  So far I've managed to explore Diamond Foam & Fabric, Jo-Ann, Sew L.A., Target, Michael's, and Mood all here in Los Angeles.  Online, I've found: Spoonflower, Warehouse Fabrics Inc, Joybird, Fabric.com, and Luna Textiles.  Here are only some of the swatches I've amassed so far (I've actually turned into a bit of a fabri-holic).

I also love, love, love this yardage I have of Shag's fabric but I'm so hesitant to even consider using it just yet!  The fabric in the middle is actually somewhat rare (I picked it up at the Modernism Show in Palm Springs last month).  Maybe I'll use one of these for an outfit for this year's Mod Palm Springs...or my Tonga Hut Grog Log completion! 

3.  DIY Textile Design 
Naturally, as a designer, I'm itching to develop my own fabric for my projects!  In many cases, I've been unable to find exactly what I've got in mind so I've been working on designing some fabric of my own.  I've been so happy to find that this is super easy to do on Spoonflower.  Even better, they've partnered with Creativebug to offer an online series called How to Design Fabric that I'm loving so far.  

One of the designers, Denyse Schmidt, is really inspirational.  She left a fast-paced graphic design job to get crafty and interpret quilts in a new way, which, in a lot of ways sounds very similar to what my own trajectory is becoming.  I like her modern approach and it's really influencing the way I'm considering going about some upcoming projects.  

I've also liked that in the first video of the series, Lizzy House offered up a technique for creating new textile designs by hand.  I've been tinkering around with some ideas and will take my favorite options digital soon! 

Ok, time for me to get back to working on my prototypes!  I can't wait to show you all the products I've been working on once they premier in my online store as well as in the Keystone Art Space studio store (featuring the work of fellow resident creators)! 

Have any sewing or fabric resources that I might not have stumbled across just yet?  Please share!