My Sew Called Life

A Journey Through the World of Sewing

A Little Back Story January 3, 2012

Filed under: Personal — Burke @ 12:50 am

I can’t really remember what I was thinking when I decided to learn to sew – I think it was part frustration, part creative urge that finally collided one day. I then began perusing pattern and fabric websites which only made my excitement grow. I cannot count the number of times that I’ve walked through any of the popular ready-to-wear shops in our local mall and been thrilled by a classic simple dress only to turn it around to see a hideous fashion zipper, or run my hands over a fabulous pair of trousers only to read 80% Polyester/20% Lycra on the tag. Not to mention the ridiculous price of clothing these days. So I think it started somewhere in there.

My mom used to sew, and in fact she sewed most of my picture day dresses in elementary school. If my memory serves, she also sewed the majority of her wardrobe back in my pre-teen years when money was tight and she stayed at home. I remember the sound of her old Singer humming from the kitchen where she’d set up her ironing board and try to keep the cat, Annie, off of her work. I’m not sure it ever worked for her, and now that I have three cats of my own, I am very much aware of this phenomenon that only cat owners know about – if you set it down, inevitably a cat will sleep on it. I’ve now learned to cover my projects and those in que with tissue paper to keep from wasting yet another lint roller.

Something else that spurred this new hobby is my shape: about 5’4″ (although my first license said 5’6″ which was a gross overstatement), a large bust and smaller-than-average hips. Actually, my hip and bust measurement is the same, and my waist is 8″ less. Once I’ve gotten used to sewing and altering for my size I may reveal those measurements when posting about specific projects, but not yet. 🙂 I’ve frequently encountered the dress that fits the bottom perfectly but pulls across the bust, or the shirt that fits well in the bust but hangs everywhere else. It only made sense that a wardrobe that fits ME perfectly is the way to go.

My initial plan was to purchase a bunch of wool from B. Black & Sons online, as I quickly fell in love with most of it and made list upon list of garments to make out of each variety and color. I’ve already made two black wool crepe dresses (posts to come!) and I’m kind of bored. They will be lovely wardrobe staples, but black isn’t very fun to sew, so my plan has changed. From now on I’m going to work in seasons vs. sets of garment types. I’ve also been inspired by a few blogs that seem to have much more fun with sewing because they’re constantly being creative not only in their projects but also in their daily dressing. This sounds appealing to me since most of my wardrobe is black. Yes, black. Not terribly creative or interesting. So I think seasonal planning is the way to go.

I finally got a machine on loan from a dear friend a few months ago – a Bernina, which I’m afraid will spoil me when I have to buy my own which will be soon. I quickly found the 1/2 speed button which has been a lifesaver. I tried out a pattern I bought in the summer on some hideous plaid polyester that I scored from our neighbor’syard sale. It was a disaster, but a good learning experience in the patience that is required for this endeavor. It also cleared up 0ne thing immediately: I need a serger. In case you don’t know, a serger cleans up all the edges of fabric and keeps them from raveling. Look inside your next item of clothing and it probably has serged edges. I am far too OCD to not finish my seams professionally, so it’s on the list.

Stay tuned for posts about my first few projects…they were interesting!


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