Sewing? Me? Seriously?
|March 30, 2015||Posted by Tracy Knutsen under Crafting and DIY, Decor, Try Something New!|
Update: Once I got a taste of what it’s like to make your own stuff – from these pillowcases to quilts and blankets to repairing and re-purposing many items, I made the leap to a brand new sewing machine. It finally arrived and I set it up this weekend! I still haven’t put needle to material yet, but I’m really excited to start a new project. All of this reminded me of how I started and how very grateful I am to my friends who patiently shared this invaluable new skill with me.
So, I thought it would be fun to bring this post back. Have you learned anything new lately?
Originally posted in September, 2013.
Growing up, my mom made a lot of our clothes. Easter dresses, shorts, costumes, nightgowns, you name it…she could sew it. Still can and does. It’s quite impressive! So I’m thinking I must have inherited a sewing gene or two, right? Unfortunately, I don’t live close to Mom and Dad anymore, so a series of lessons from her is out of the question. Luckily, I work with some fabulous ladies who are sewing queens and who fearlessly dive head first into all projects great and small. At the mere mention of “that looks like fun,” I was whisked away to the fabric store, given the grand tour and introduced to no fewer than seven women in the store – four of whom worked there and three that my friends knew just because they shopped there so much – I learned about t-squares, bias tape, batting and fat quarters . Armed with some pretty material, long straight pins, a rotary cutter and spool of their thread of choice, I had an appointment with the masters that Saturday to learn a few of the basics.
I arrived that morning with excitement and feeling pretty hopeful. As I entered their sewing war room, I instantly felt inadequate and intimidated. There were several seasoned seamstresses, sewing machines everywhere, two stations set up for ironing (Ironing? Nobody told me I had to iron. I don’t even own an iron,) three cutting tables with a great variety of mats and rulers, two tables pushed together for piecing and pinning full quilt tops and, of course, a table for drinks and snacks. My first task? Iron the material I brought. Boo. I didn’t like this already. I was then given a sheet of paper with instructions on how to sew a pillowcase. But that’s not a quilt at all! This was truly going south and I really just wanted to grab some coffee and a donut and pout.
With their never ceasing encouragement, I stepped up to the cutting table and, after a quick lesson on how not to cut off my fingertips, I was able to cut out the pieces for three pillowcases. Next, a lesson on pinning the pieces together, right sides vs. wrong sides, and the importance of lining things up and making them “square”. I also didn’t anticipate the amount of math required.
“Sit at the machine,” she said. Music to my ears! I was finally actually going to sew. Working with the first package of fabric pieces I’d carefully pinned together, I stitched, ever so slowly, the first seam.
The directions then said to do some sort of inside out, turnabout, flippy-do, reverse hot dog thing. Huh?! With a sweet smile, my friend said she’d get me started and assured me it was the easiest and most amazing part of the whole process. Following her lead, I managed some sort of shenanigans that magically turned my wad of rolled up, backward stitched lump of fabric into *gasp* a pillowcase minus two seams! I couldn’t believe my eyes. I think I can do this! “Now we iron,” came a voice from above, breaking through my trance of satisfaction. So as it turns out, you sew, you iron, you sew a little more, you iron, sew another side, iron…you get the idea. Not the most fun, but it was worth the extra effort.
In just a few more minutes, I’d learned to make French seams and finished my very first sewing project ever. I stood back from the ironing board, turned around to show my friend what I’d done, and before I could speak, they all started clapping and cheering. They even took my picture with my prized pillowcase. I cried. I was so proud and motivated to sew (despite all the requisite ironing) that I sat down and made three more pillowcases that day. Then I went home with a borrowed machine and made eight more. I gave pillowcases to everyone I knew. I was now one of the ladies who sew. I was ready to move on to quilting. Now, where could I buy a jellyroll?