How I did it: I started by buying a sewing machine based on things my sewing-master grandmother told me: you want it to be able to sew buttonholes, to have zigzag and straight stitches, to be able to sew backwards and forwards, and to have a pressure-sensitive foot to control the speed of sewing. I found one by Singer, on sale at a ridiculously awesome price at Joann Fabrics, and then perused the instruction manual before starting on anything.
After that, it was a bunch of experimentation, and quite a few frustrations because I was learning as I went. However, I finished every project I started, and I'm super glad that I had the tenacity to do so. It helped a lot, and almost everything I "salvaged" actually turned out looking decent enough to wear in public :)
Now I definitely look at clothing in an entirely new light. Almost every fashion or advertisement picture of clothing I see makes me deconstruct it and figure out how I could make it. Most styles are really simple and would not be that difficult to sew, even without a pattern, and would be within the 10-45 dollar range to make. Read how I did it… 2 years ago