A lot of people ask me how I got started with costumes and sewing, and if it’s something I’ve always known how to do, if my grandma taught me, or if I got extensive training for it at school. Of course, this is the only way to pick up a hobby – to have known how to do said thing forever, or have someone personally train you.
Nope. Not so.
I don’t even know how well my grandma knows how to sew, and she certainly never would have taught me (lefties can’t learn anything! So she says). I didn’t even start using a sewing machine until I was 20. Really. I had no idea how. And I didn’t take a class in college that taught me how. It was all trial by fire and reading a lot of instruction manuals.
I know kids as young as 12 (no kidding, and boys too!) who are better at sewing than I am, but just because I didn’t start young doesn’t mean that I can’t do it all. I’m still learning, and I’m not a perfect seamstress at all, and I don’t know how to do everything. Some things I just make up as I go along. And, so far, it’s working. And I didn’t let the lack of knowledge stop me from picking up a hobby that has been turning into solid work.
Despite how old I feel, I know that I’m not actually old so it’s still easy for me to learn new tricks.
Kind of. As long as the brain fog hasn’t settled in too thickly.
But even so, whether someone is old or young or busy with a crazy job, there’s time to become involved in a new craft or pastime.
Just do it.
Want to learn how to sew? Do what I did. Just do it.
Want to start playing a sport? Look for a local league in your town or area and at least start practicing. Your teammates can help learn everything you need in order to play the game. I had a friend who took up rugby one summer and learned everything she needed to know while she was out practicing on the field and made lifelong friendships.
Want to start a collection? Afraid you’ll never catch up or find all of the pieces you want? Well guess what? You’re not getting any closer just by sitting there and thinking about it. And part of the fun is all in the hunt and chase while looking for your prized collector’s piece. It took my dad year to find the last Beatle to his Beatle doll collection, but he never gave up and he became excited to hunt for his missing piece at every flea market and antique store.
So here’s how it works in just a few easy steps.
Read about it. What do you need to get started? Do you need to read up on the process, craft, or items you want? Need to find a local sports group, reading group, or other hobbyists to trade with? Research it! Learning is fun! We’re so lucky to have the splendor of the interwebz to make this so easy in this day and age. YouTube, the library websites that connect you to any library that has the book you need, web forums, it’s all out there.
Go big or go home and buy the equipment. There’s no turning back once you commit to the equipment. I bought a small Brother sewing machine as a starter, and I wasn’t going to just let my $80 go to waste. So I used the machine. My brother started buying golf clubs so he’d learn how to golf. No stopping him now!
Do it. Seriously. There are really no other steps. I bought some fabric and that nonsense can be expensive if you just let it collect dust. And then I accepted a job as a costume designer. Well, gotta do it. And from there, it’s history.
There are no excuses except for laziness. Even if you have a packed schedule, you can still get started slowly but surely.
Stay tuned. Maybe eventually I’ll finish this dress and actually show off more than my sleeves, which are perfect and I think I rocked their construction. Until then, here’s a terrible, crazed looking selfie showing off said sleeves. And people said sleeves were the hardest part – hah!