This is the second part in a series. If you are interesting in Part 1, please click here.
If you are just learning to sew, one of the best things you can do is to find a teacher or a partner. If you would like more formal training, find a qualified teacher or sign up for a class at your local fabric store. I have never taken formal sewing lessons (unless you count junior high home economics... which I don't).
If you are like me and don't want to pay to take actual classes, find a friend who likes to sew and set up a weekly sewing time. Or maybe you have a friend who wants to learn to sew, so team up and learn together!
I recently found a sewing partner. My neighbor, Shauna, asked me to help her learn to use her sewing machine after a failed attempt at hemming her daughter's pants. The first time we got together, we looked through her manual and familiarized ourselves with her machine. Then I had her show me how to thread the bobbin and thread the machine. And I had her sew some straight lines, following the stripes on a scrap of fabric.
Once we got those basics mastered, we moved on to pillowcases. I taught her how to read a sewing pattern, cut with a rotary cutter, press her seams, and fix her mistakes.
I have loved this arrangement because it has given me an opportunity to gain confidence in my own knowledge, to dedicate time to my sewing projects that have been stagnant for a while, and socialize! And Shauna has now successfully sewn four pillowcases -- two with minimal assistance from me.
So find a partner! No matter if it is someone who is an expert or a complete beginner. Having someone there with you will help you dedicate the time to learning and will make you accountable to someone else. Plus you can help each other solve problems.