Whether you're looking for sewing lessons, or looking for resources to self teach, there are options out there for you. Of course, if you live in the San Francisco East Bay Area, you should call me. If you don't live in the area, you can start by searching for local sewing shops -- fabric stores, sewing machine shops, and sewing studios, that offer lessons. Check Craigslist for independent sewing instructors. Click on "Read more" to continue.
I'm going to digress for a moment here, and finally just come out and say it...I cannot recommend the classes at Joann. I actually taught several classes in their Dublin, CA store when they first opened. In that store they contracted several talented independent instructors for their various classes, and quickly lost them because the of company's poor record for paying the instructors all the money owed them in a timely manner.
I (and the knitting, and scrap booking teachers) flew under the radar so to speak -- teaching our own curriculum instead of using the Joann lesson plan. The company's lesson plans were designed to sell product. Most of the time that meant that the materials list for the class had the student buying things she didn't need. The projects were impossible to complete within the class time-frame, and left no time for individual attention.
I've noticed that the stores in my area are now using store employees to teach most of the classes, and that the classroom is empty most of the time. I find this rather amusing since I've yet to find a Joann employee who really knows how to sew -- mostly I hear them giving bad advice to customers. So...even if you purchase a class on sale at 1/2 off, whatever you're paying is too much.
On my last trip to Joann, I swore off ever going there again. I was waiting at the cutting counter, and in spite of the fact that I was the only person waiting for service, they would not help me until I took a number. The whole incident was so ridiculous that I thought I had somehow stepped into a Christopher Guest movie.
OK...back to the sewing lessons. If you'd like to "self teach", or supplement classes or lessons, Craftsy.com offers several on-line classes that will get you started. Once you purchase a class you can view it any time you want, as many times as you want, so you really can go at your own pace.
Their Online Sewing Machine 911 Class gives a great overview of the sewing machine. You'll learn how to use the machine, and how to trouble shoot problems. It's a great place to start even if you have used a machine before. And oh yes...this one is FREE!
Once you've learned to use the machine, their Sewing Studio course will teach you techniques as you learn about following a pattern, stitching, pinning, finishing, and more.
Whether you're interested in quilting, sewing kids clothes, making your own garments and accessories, there are plenty of classes available to keep you moving along in whatever direction you choose, at your own pace. Try out a few of their FREE classes while you're at it. There are 2 different Bag Making Basics classes -- one demonstrates making a tote bag, and a zippered pouch, while the other instructs on how to make a bucket bag, and a drawstring bag.
If you've just purchased a serger (or you're thinking of getting one), their Beginner Serging class will give you the confidence you need to get started.
I created a companion book for my Get Started Sewing course. My thinking was that if the student didn't need to take notes, they could focus better on the learning. Because my students gave rave reviews to this course companion, I now offer that book for sale for those who cannot take my class. It's a great addition to any beginner sewing course, as well as a great resource for those who are self teaching.