It's been a year now since I picked up sewing. I have to say it's absolutely exhilarating to be able to make my own life this way. But, you know, I think it's a shame that I waited so long. I was definitely under the impression that sewing would be hard, really haaaaard.
Sewing is actually a lot like driving a car. Sure, it can be dangerous and you do need some training, but anyone can do it - really! But, you're never going to learn to drive if you don't get behind the wheel and start. Sewing is just the same.
Step #1 - Own a sewing machine. If you really want to sew you need to make that initial investment to get a machine in your home. For a long while I told myself that I could sew at my mother-in-law's. But, it's like exercise - if it's that inconvenient you'll likely never do it. Here's a post at Sew Mama Sew about how to shop for your sewing machine, along with a link to machine reviews. I bought a $200 machine from Sears, and it's working out quite nicely.
Step #2 - Choose a project. You could take a sewing class or read a general "how to sew" type of book, but who really has time for that? I took that first step by deciding to make flat valances for my kitchen windows. A "useful" project was the motivation I needed and the key to receiving the initial go-ahead from my husband to buy supplies.
Step #3 - Get Help. Do you have a sewing friend or relative that can help you get friendly with your sewing machine? Be sure to read your machine's manual (and keep it handy)! It may help to refer to a general sewing book as well for the basics. I learned a lot from Bend-the-Rules Sewing by Amy Karol. Also connect with the sewing community online through blogs and Flickr (oh, great - you're already here!).
Step #4 - Finish! It won't be perfect; it probably won't be easy, but you've got to finish! All the imperfections seem glaring when you're in process, but once you hang those curtains up (crooked stitching and all), you'll forget about all that. Your friends will notice you beaming and finally realize that you're all giddy about your latest sewing project as you gesture wildly in the direction of your windows.
And then... compliments! Success! Wow, I did that! And, you'll be off to your next project, officially "sewing."