Exploring what needles me

Contemplating my major digital project for EC&I 831, I felt an opportunity had arisen for me to dedicate a certain amount of time towards reaching a goal that I have been wanting to achieve for many years.  I’m a maker.  The idea of making things that are useful in everyday life is very appealing to me.  I’ve engineered many electronic projects; I’ve built a garage all by myself and built a few pieces of furniture just to name a few of my exploits.  I fix anything and everything, however there is one large domain that remains to be conquered and now is the time.

Sewing is going to be my next frontier to explore as a maker.   Mostly reserved to the women in my life, I think it’s a skill worth dedicating time and energy towards learning as it can prove useful in a wide variety of ways.  From fixing clothing to making my own custom creations, I view sewing as a lifelong skill that will forever be an asset.  Much of the inspiration for this idea comes from Adam Savage and his One Day Build where made his EDC1 bag.  Watching him gives me hope that I can do the same.

My wife is an avid seamstress with a well-stocked sewing studio.  At my disposal is every kind of machine that one might need to accomplish sewing tasks.  (I have no idea what the difference is between a regular sewing machine and a surging machine, that will come in step one.)  Although my wife will definitely be an excellent resource during this project, it’s my intention to mostly rely on her expertise for feedback on my progress and the outcomes of my projects.  I really want to see how far I can get using books and online resources in my learning experiment.  Of course, your feedback will be crucial!

There are so many things to learn!  It will be impossible for me to become a master at sewing; however, I hope to establish a solid base that will allow me to feel confident when a new potential sewing project might arise.  As any good teacher, one must have a plan.  Learning how to sew is much too vague of an outcome to be realistically achievable.  As a learner, I learn best by doing and I will approach this project in much the same way.  I intend to start with a simple project and work my way towards more complex projects as I progress over the next few months.

Step one: Learn the machines and their capabilities.

Project: Make a simple pencil case.



My initial step will be to use online tutorials and articles to learn how to use the machines.  Youtube will my primary source of material but I’m sure other sources will crop up as I get going.  During this step, I intend to learn how to thread and setup the machines properly.  Subsequently, I will use scrap material to start practicing using the machines by sewing things together and evaluating how close I come to the desired outcome.  Once I have gained enough confidence, I will attempt to make a simple pencil case.

Step two: Learn to use patterns and following build instructions

Project: Make a small pouch using plans from Savage Industries.



In this step, I will purchase a pattern for a small pouch from Savage Industries.  This will initiate me to using patterns and the steps to follow when considering a larger more complex project.  I will install my first zipper and hopefully learn how professionally designed cloth projects work.

Step three: Learning more advances sewing techniques

Project.: Make and EDC2 from a kit from Savage Industries.



This step will involve using a more complex kit to make a bag that I intend to use as my new school bag.  This project will use many more advanced techniques that will have been built and acquired from the previous two projects.  Through my research, many people on the internet have built this project as their first sewing project, thus I feel like this will be attainable.

Bonus step: Transition to my first piece of clothing

Project: Make a Lab Coat for school.

If I’m able to complete my three previous projects, I’d like to find a pattern to make a custom lab coat to use when I’m teaching my science classes.  This will require custom measuring to fit a garment to my body and represents, to me, the ultimate degree of difficulty.

I can’t wait to get going!  Here we go!

Capture d’écran, le 2019-09-29 à 22.07.00

5 thoughts on “Exploring what needles me

  1. Wow, looks like you are already off to a great start! I had considered learning to sew as my major project so I am very excited to follow your journey (and bookmark your resources for my future use). It is definitely helpful to have the resources such as machines and materials available to you already but I applaud you for fully learning on your own through resources other than your wife – that is true dedication to the learning process.

  2. Daniel,

    I love your plan! How awesome to have your wife as a great resource. I think this project will also create great memories within your family. Seeing your detailed plan, I can already see you accomplishing your goals. Maybe after following your learning process, I get to unpack my sewing machine that I purchased many years ago. lol

    Good luck!

  3. Wow! This is awesome! This seems like a big undertaking, but it looks like you have a good plan set in place. I think that’s a great idea to use Youtube videos and various articles to help you learn the basics. That’s what I am attempting to do for my project. Isn’t it great that we can turn to video tutorials in this day and age? I can’t wait to see where this project takes you! Good luck 🙂

    1. This project seems kind of sew-sew (sorry couldn’t resist). Seriously, this is great and your plan is solid. Maybe you could take this to your classroom someday … make pencil cases – fill them with supplies and donate them. Maybe you can teach me after you are done. Good luck with your project and look forward to seeing your journey.

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