Sewing skills lists

Are you the sort of person who likes to tick your skills off on a list as you learn ? or have some sort of structure to guide your learning ?

I don’t like exotic vacations away from home, but I do like to spend August as a stay-cation – sew-cation.
I usually take some sort of on-line sewing class.
And that makes me think about my sewing skills.

Three groups of items here :
Some .pdf lists of skills which I’ve produced.
These are project based.

Some .pdf lists about sewing education from 4-H.
There are several other 4-H sewing booklets which aren’t free.

And, for people who like to learn by working through a suggested sequence of projects, there are the increasingly difficult projects required in a couple of recent knock-out sewing contests.

My own lists

Beginner skills list.pdf

Intermediate skills – based on the book Dressmaking by Alison Smith
31 projects.A4.pdf
31 projects.USletter.pdf

Taking it further, I haven’t produced my own list of jacket sewing skills, but there are comments on them in my post on Sources of jacket sewing advice. Jackets can be made at a huge range of levels of difficulty. All the way from advanced beginner ones which use the same skills as sewing a simple blouse. Through to advanced couture and tailoring skills such as underlining, pad stitching, roll line taping, sleeve head supports, welt pockets. . .

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4-H lists

Different states use different systems.
Here are some .pdfs that are free and I’ve found worth a look.

Penn State
Sewing skills progress chart
(not sorted by level)

Washington State
Sewing skills checklist
(3 levels)

Sew much fun
(3 general levels, 12 detailed levels)

Oregon State
Sewing advancement guide
(3 general levels, 9 detailed levels – general clothing skills, refers to Sewing skills checklist for sewing details)

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Knock-out sewing contests

How about using extended sewing contests as guides to a project sequence to work through ?

Super Online Sewing Match

This on-line sewing contest used patterns going up to intermediate skills. Contestants had one or two weeks to do their sewing, in their own sewing space.
The entries show how much can be achieved from a simple starting point. The basic patterns may be intermediate, but the workmanship and richness of ideas in the entries were at a very high level.


Round One – a-line skirt
Deborah Moebes’ Design and sew an a-line skirt Craftsy class

Round 2 – child’s dress
Oliver + S Roller Skate dress

Round 3 – bag
Cinch bag download pattern from U-handbag

Round 4 – men’s shirt
Colette Patterns Negroni men’s shirt

Round 5 – final – adult dress
Sewaholic Patterns Cambie fully lined dress with bustier style bodice

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Great British Sewing Bee TV series

The Great British Sewing Bee TV series was a more advanced challenge, as it worked up to making jackets and using special occasion fabrics, plus fitting someone they hadn’t met before.

Sewing quickly in an unfamiliar environment – not something I would do well at all 😀
Though the building they sewed in looked delicious, a historic building bursting with fabrics and haberdashery, a sewer’s paradise.
Contestants could take their own tools, but had to use the sewing machines provided.

In the 2013 series there were 3 challenges each weekend, each with only a few hours allowed.
First day :
1. Make up a commercial pattern supplied.
2. Decorate a ready-made item.
Second day :
3. Choose fabric and pattern for a specific type of garment (contestants were given the brief a few days beforehand). Make up to fit a real person, who modelled it for the judging.
There was also a simple suggested home-dec project for viewers (not at all well explained !).

The episodes used to be available on YouTube, but sadly they’ve been deleted for copyright reasons. . . yet the makers haven’t issued a DVD – pooh !

Jan 2014 – the show has appeared on YouTube again – don’t know how long it will last !

Episode 1

Episode 2

Episode 3

Episode 4

Round One

1. A-line skirt
2. alter neckline of RTW top
3. made-to-measure day dress
Project – drawstring laundry bag

Comments from sewing organiser
Other information

Round Two
1. men’s trousers
2. add patch pockets to RTW skirt
3. made-to-measure silk blouse/ shirt
Project – tied closure cushion/ pillow cover

Comments from sewing organiser
Other information

Round Three – semi-final
1. child’s sun-dress with shirring, french seams, rouleaux straps
2. change shape and embellish RTW shift dress
3. made-to-measure fitted jacket with lining
Project – simple curtains

Comments from sewing organiser
Other information

Round Four – final
1. men’s shirt
2. embellish ready-made fabric evening purse
3. made-to-measure special occasion wear (all contestants chose to use 2 difficult fabrics !)

Comments from sewing organiser
Other information

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Do you like to develop your sewing skills ?
or do you like to use familiar sewing processes, and put your creativity into choosing what to make and how to embellish it ?
or just burble along for complete relaxation 😀

I hope you had a lovely summer vacation, whatever your vacation style 😀

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Links and patterns available September 2013

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Explore posts in the same categories: learning to sew

One Comment on “Sewing skills lists”

  1. Philippa Says:

    I holiday somewhere I can take my sewing gear 🙂 This year I made a simple top and did some alterations. Next year I am going to do some hand sewing, as lugging the machines around for the amount of sewing I did doesn’t seem worth it. I hope you enjoyed your stay cation!

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