It's OK to be self-taught!



I’ve loved reading all the email messages and stories that have come through for ‘Sewing School’, but a comment that keep popping up is ‘because I’m self-taught’.

I sense that there is a feeling of needing to ‘qualify’ how your sewing skills have been acquired – YOU DON’T.

This issue also arose for me this week.  I’ve been asked to provide a bio on myself for a project I’m involved in (but more on that another day) and when I sat down and put pen to paper, well, I’m not actually ‘qualified’ for anything.  If only I hadn’t deferred that accounting degree offer back in ’89 I would at least have some kind of qualification beside my name!

The same goes with sewing.  Although I have attended some classes and workshops, by and large my experience has come mainly from running a business where sewing almost every day for 6 years has given me the wealth of knowledge that I have.

I’ve learnt as I’ve gone along from the internet, books, crafty friends and family. I made plenty of mistakes along the way but have learnt from each one of them.

I understand that many of you feel you need to fine tune your skills and would love to have someone to show you an easier or better way – that’s all perfectly reasonable too.

But, it’s more than OK to be self-taught and each and every one of you should be proud of that achievement.

Are you self-taught with a sewing basket full of experience? Leave us a comment below and show how proud you are of that achievement.

10 comments:

Bree said...

I think being self-taught is just about the best way. I do like attending workshops too as you always pick up useful tips from the teachers and classmates.
Just about all my craft/sewing/knitting is self-taught although I did get basics from my grandmothers and my mum.
I think one of the benefits of being self-taught is you're not afraid to jump in and have a go!

Megsy-Jane said...

My sister is completely self taught in jewellery making - something I find amazing! Whenever I hear the term self-taught and see the work, I think 'wow!' I learnt a lot from my Mum and Grandmother, so always had somewhere there for each new skill, I learnt even more from my mistakes and through the creation of many different projects. When I began creating things on my own, without any help or through an online tutorial, I felt really great when I did it all by myself and succeeded, using my own skills and creativity. So to everyone who is Self Taught...you should definitely consider that a qualification!

Anonymous said...

Self taught and proud!!! Of course I love any knowledge that people will share but if its not there I just have a go!!

Amy @ Flowerflame said...

With the exception of some Textiles & Design classes back in high school (didn't we all have them?!) I'm completely self taught. I think it's amazing how much we can all learn as the years pass by - through trial & error trying things out ourselves, as well as picking up tips from friends & family. :)

willywagtail said...

Interesting. Originally I was taught by my mother who was taught by hers although I have a feeling the chain rather broke down at that stage because my Omi came from a privileged family and would only have learned the finer skills. As for the rest, I have attended six nights of hand patchworking years ago which added to my time in needlework class could be used to say that I am not self taught. However, I probably really am as experience is the greatest teacher when it comes to the fiddly bits and often is the only thing that gets me through manouvers that I hardly ever do. Cherrie

whiterabbit said...

I don't remember not being able to sew, as I was tiny when my mum, aunts and grandmothers set me to hand-sewing. However the internet is now my main teacher! There are so many sewing / craft tutorials and blogs, very useful for learning about newer equipment, techniques and products.

Vintage Sew and So said...

I'm self-taught at just about everything I do. I think people see being self-taught as a less than perfect thing. To be able to teach yourself is such a skill in it's self becouse not a lot of people are able figure things out for themselves.

Vanilla said...

Hi Jodie,

It was a relief to read our post.
I started sewing a year ago and am slowly grasping the basics.
I've made some quilts and and some zippered things, but I'm finally "almost" ready to take the leap and start sewing clothing items. The fabric for a skirt has been lying on my table for a week now, and I just cannot muster the courage for it.
I tell myself, no big deal, the worst that can happen is you ruin a yard of material... so why is this is hard to tackle?
Fear of failure? Fear of disappointment?
I have searched my town for sewing lessons and cannot find some place nice; So, alone it is...

Megsy-Jane said...

Hey Vanilla,
I still have this problem with my own clothes even thought I've sewn a couple now :-) If I cut it out right, and follow the instructions (which can sometimes be confusing, I know) it usually works out fine :-) The part I'm still scared of is not liking the style on me or doing something really wrong. So I've started doing mock-ups - the pattern cut in a fabric I don't care about and so far it's working for me and giving me loads more confidence because I know when I go to make the finished item in the nice stuff
I've already cut it out once
I've already sewed it once and found any confusing parts or bits where I made mistakes
I know if the size I cut fits and if I like the style

Tiff said...

Oh, me too! I did sewing and design in Year 9 and 10 but I am otherwise self taught.... I did teach myself to machine embroider ... With the help of some books! X