In January of 2010 I started this blog as a personal challenge to learn how to *really* sew. In the past 3.5 years since setting that goal, I’ve come a long way. I’ve added a fourth child to the chaos that is life, and I’ve improved my sewing beyond what I had hoped at the time I first started. I’m excited to see where my continued sewing journey takes me. And just for fun, here is what I wrote in the beginning of it all, in January 2010:
My sewing history takes me back to 6th grade when I asked my mom to teach me how to use her circa ’60s Singer sewing machine. She sat down with my younger sister, me and her machine at the kitchen table. She had us each draw an animal to make into a pillow. I drew a teddy-bear-esqe (emphasize on the esqe) shape on some corduroy. She showed us the basics of the machine and we each sewed ourselves a stuffed toy. That night I had a nightmare in which my bear came to life and tried to kill me and my family. After spending the rest of the night in my mom’s bed, I got rid of my first sewn creation and laid aside any seamstress aspirations.
My last semester of college, senior thesis completed and presented, I needed another “filler” class in order to keep my scholarship and grant obligations in full-time quota until graduation. My schedule was padded with the likes of racquetball and cross-country skiing, but I was still a couple credits short. My fashion-design major roommate suggested a sewing class. Only the 100 level sewing courses didn’t jive with the rest of my heavy schedule. I had my roommate convince her professor-advisor to let me into a mid-level fashion design course, under strict pledge that my roommate would be responsible for me and hold my hand through it all. This was the first thing I turned in for a grade
And I’m sure my teacher wept inside while re-thinking her chosen career. By the end of the semester I wasn’t great, but I had improved so much that my teacher pulled me aside and told me that though she at first thought there was no hope for me, I was the most improved student she’d ever had. And then reminded me that it was most likely because I had come in with negative talent. She gave me a B, based solely on how much I’d improved. Very generous of her, really.
Two years later, my husband gave me my first sewing machine, a basic Singer, for Christmas. A neighbor gave me an old serger. I was set. I cranked out a ton of pajama pants for family and friends, some of which even fit. I made bedding and accessories for my children as they came along. But where I really felt most comfortable was sewing Halloween costumes. Part of it is because I can let my imagination have free reign. But if I am honest, it’s mostly because I can get away with not doing a fantastic construction and design job. My kids don’t care, people are distracted by the idea enough to not notice the details that scream “homemade by an amateur!”. Or at least are polite enough to not comment on them. I want to move beyond that. I want to be able to make things that fit right and look right. Basically, I want to be good.
So, since I did my most growth while under academic pressure, I’m employing the text I used then. A Guide to Fashion Sewing, second edition, by Connie Amaden-Crawford. You can find the fourth edition on Amazon, but at text book prices. I’m going to do my best to share the lessons, as I interpret them, here as I go through it.
My goal is, by the end of the year, to be able to actually make a garment from design to construction that I’m completley satisfied with. Kind of an abstract goal, but I figure I’ll know if I achieved it when I get there. And with this
as my starting point, really, I have no where to go but up.
So, anyone with me?