I taught myself how to sew when I was 8. By that I mean I asked my mom how to thread the machine, and through lots of trial and error eventually figured out how to use it to make barbie cloths out of the ends of my pants that mom cut off when I got too tall. I didn't learn to hand stitch till home ec. in middle school. Now I teach hand stitching to 3rd graders.... because I think that is the right age to learn sewing. At the begining of the lesson they always ask, where do you keep the machines all year? I laugh and tell them that the only thing they need a teacher for on the machine is to learn how to thread it. Maybe I'm being cocky. If you think I am, and want to learn how to sew head on over to Tilly and the Buttons who is doing a tutorial series about sewing using a machine. and yes the first lesson is how to set the machine up. So if your like me, just read that one. I'll be reading the whole thing. You never know, there might be gaps (likely) in my informal sewing education.