I've been assembling this year's Halloween costume lately, with the help of No.1 Sister. I couldn't make it work on my own unless I spent a fortune, and I wasn't about to do that for a silly Halloween costume. My sewing skills are pretty limited: I can sew on buttons, repair split seams, and do a little patching; I even converted a big denim futon cover from the thrift store into a Lazyboy chair cover, although it took ages because I had to hand-stitch the whole enormous thing. But I don't know how to make anything even as simple as an apron (Sister A. did a fabulous job on it, BTW!). It occurred to me--not for the first time--that a person of my (reasonable) intelligence and (vestigial) creativity ought to be able to learn how to use a sewing machine well enough to make throw pillows or simple garments. So, dang it, that's what I'm going to do.
I did take Home Ec in high school and used a sewing machine there, but that was [mumble, mumble] years ago when dinosaurs roamed the earth, and I didn't do a very good job on the plain little shirt I made. The machine seemed to want to run like it was in the Indy 500--made me nervous. Anyway, I do remember a few things from sewing class, and from watching my mom sew, so that ought to help. And, of course, there are books for dummies.
I found a "beginner" sewing machine at WalMart yesterday that came with a DVD showing how to do all the basic things and went through that today. My wee machine did not try to run away from me, so obviously not all sewing machines are as touchy as the one I used in high school. I sewed lines and zig-zags and learned to reverse a stitch to finish it off. I Googled for instructions on how to do the particular thing I need to adjust my costume, and I've got print-outs for that (I love the Web). So now all I need to do is measure, make the pattern, cut the cloth, and give it a whirl. If it turns out ugly, well, it's just a costume, and I can restore the garment to its original state with my handy-dandy seam-ripper.
Such (sedate) adventures I have.... :)