What are some good sewing sites?

My mom wants to start sewing. She can sorta puzzle through a pattern, but it’s really hard for her, and she hasn’t done it in a long time. So she asked me to ask about some good “how to” sewing sites.

I’m just posting in case somebody does provide some links.

My trusty black jacket needs sewing again. I can do it, and I know to hide the stitches on the inside. But I keep having a problem with the thread knotting. Mom taught me to sew with a loop of thread (the needle at one end of the loop and the two ends of the thread knotted together at the other.).

That, and I recently realized I need to through out some old clothes. From the myriad old shirts and bathrobes, I should be able to find fabric suitable for making body for the plastic goblin head I got at a garage sale a few years back. I can definitely sew a body. But, I want to know how to give it more shape.

Try the boards at Sense and Sensibility. There’s also some fab links for sewing and supplies.

I second the Sense & Sensibility forums. They’re some great sewing folks.

There’s always http://www.sewing.about.com which has a specific beginner’s section. The advice there is usually sound, though the ads get pretty damn annoying.

For pattern reviews, try http://www.patternreviews.com which are really helpful when you’re thinking about a pattern, but are worried about whether it’ll be worth buying or not.

Apparently, PatternReview has online classes too, starting in February. You can get into a class for free if you sign up now for a free membership.

Check out the Sewing for Dummies patterns from (I think) Simplicity. They’re all really straightforward and are a good launching point if you want to sharpen your pattern-reading skills. For clothing that you actually might want to wear, most New Look patterns from Simplicity are pretty simple to follow and don’t require super-duper-seamstress level skills.

Also, I’ve gotten a ton of how-to-sew books from the fifties, sixties, and even the the twenties that are full of simple, good advice that no one bothers to tell you. Books from Better Homes and Gardens and Good Housekeeping. I pick mine up at thrift shops for less than a dollar.

DocCathode, invest in some beeswax. Run your thread across before you thread it through the needle and it shouldn’t tangle. Go to a fabric/sewing supply store and ask one of the clerks to help you find it. I’m kinda reluctant to spend money on wax when I’ve got a ton of candles lying around, so I just grab a stubby taper candle and run my thread across that and it works just fine. You should never work with thread that’s longer than 18 or 20 inches, too. If you do both those things, your tangling problem should clear up.

When you say give the goblin body more shape, what do you mean? Do you mean feet that point forward and a little rounded tummy and maybe some hands? If I were you, I’d search for “teddy bear patterns” or “doll patterns” on Google and check out the various free ones out there. Otherwise, if you don’t feel up to it, I can sketch up a basic teddy bear-esque pattern that will sit up if you put rice or sand in the bottom and stuff the rest with polyfill. I’ll e-mail it to you or attempt to post it on my website, of course, rather than waving it at the computer screen.

Thank you, that’s exactly what I mean. I’m worried it will come out as a vaguely rectangular body with four shapeless limbs. I want a little gut in the front, big meaty hands on the ends of the arms. I’m not sure a teddy bear pattern would work. Your offer to create a pattern is appreciated, but I’d like to try and do it on my own.

BTW- Does any company make a male adjustable tailors’ dummy? All the ones I’ve seen are female. Or does it not matter?

And of course my real problem with sewing- My fear that it will convince cute, artistic women that I’m gay and hitting on me would be a waste of time

“But, he was so cute. And he likes kids. And ren faires.”
“Sue, he’s gay. Forget about him.”
“But, I’d give him riches from my insanely gigantic inheritance! And pleasure him in any way he wanted, for as long as he could possibly desire!”
“It wouldn’t matter. He doesn’t like women.”
“You’re right. Our love could never be. I shall avoid speaking to him, it would simply be too painful.”

This is one of those worries that keep ya up at night.