When I was a kid, I used to spend summers with my Grandma in Lubbock, Texas. I loved (and still do!) going to Grandma's and digging through her sewing projects, pulling out the fabric she had gotten since my last visit, and laying on the bed watching her hard at work at her sewing machine. When I got old enough, she taught me to make a dress from a pattern. I struggled through it, and remember thinking it was a heck of a lot easier to just to go buy a dress.
Since then I have only dabbled with sewing... and never from a pattern. I've recently had the itch to really learn how to sew, so I found a class, and a rad one, at The Sewing Studio in Toronto. By the end of Introduction to Sewing, I will be able to make a skirt, from a pattern. The Sewing Studio offers all levels of classes, taught by a wide range of instructors. The space is cozy and inviting, and what I like most is it feels more like getting together with girlfriends than an uptight how-to. If you are in Toronto, and want to learn to sew, check them out.