It is approaching two years since I started sewing. So I thought i’d take some time to reflect on how far I’ve come and what my new challenges are.
I still don’t know why sewing clicked for me this time. It’s always been very high on my list of things I want to be able to do but for some reason it’s never worked for me. But for the last two years I’ve been on a learning curve where now I can finally say I can sew clothes that I would wear outside the house.
I think I came to sewing this time with a need to do it as well as a desire to do it. I needed something to take my mind off what was going on in my life, something to give me different things to think about and to let my brain completely switch off from worrying because it was concentrating on something else. Coupled with that was how I started with making small clothes. I could try a pattern without thinking I’d ever wear it, Hazel couldn’t comment on whether she liked it or not and the process was cheap and quick.
I started with a very simple girls dress, it had three parts, bias binding around the neck and arm holes and it buttoned down the back. I think the key was that I made this pattern over and over again, getting better each time. Then my fabric obsession was truly ignited when I realised I could make this little dress in any of the cute little prints that were in Fabricland. I could add different trim, I could do the bias binding in a different colour… this all felt like little fireworks of joy in my head.
Months later, I discovered sewing magazines. I absorbed every image, every page, every tip and I learned as much as I could. The magazines led me to fabric shops online (dangerous), to independent patterns and to sewing blogs. I still spend most days in the online sewing world. Now I don’t find the magazines as exciting as I used to, but it was them that started me on sewing for myself.
It was a freebie pattern from Love Sewing that started me off. It was a simple tunic style and I made it from jersey. Yes, I made it without a jersey needle and zig zag stitch, but I didn’t know any better.
Fast forward to my nearly two year anniversary of sewing. I feel I’ve transitioned from beginner to intermediate. I have made a LOT of clothes. Much of it I wouldn’t wear, but I have practised a huge amount. I sew for roughly 2 hours in a week, longer if I get released from parenting duties. I haven’t bought clothes from shops, other than a couple of workout tops, in a year. I read about sewing every day, scroll through instagram sewing feeds every day and look at fabric online every day.
My challenges have moved on from having to Google what a fat quarter is, but I by no means feel like I know what I’m doing. Now I’m starting to feel like I should bring some planning into my sewing and make a cohesive wardrobe. I’m still an ‘ooohhh pretty’ fabric purchaser. My stash is lovely to look at but none of it goes together. As someone who has never really been all that interested in fashion or clothes, I find this really hard.
So when I started, I found sewing overwhelming because I knew NOTHING. Basting, edge-stitching, bias binding, selvedges were new words to me. However, I still feel that I have LOADS left to learn and it is just as overwhelming. I still can’t do zips. I’ve only made one pair of trousers. I still hate the cutting out stage. I still rush the end of every project. Sadly some of the buzz has gone, but only a little bit!
Some things haven’t changed though. I still have to take my own photos because my dear husband says there’s something wrong with my camera. It takes blurry pictures – focusses for me, but yeah, my camera’s are rubbish.
Aside from my new sewing knowledge, I’ve also learned that if you really want to do something, you need to immerse yourself in the topic, read, watch and copy as much as you can and good old fashioned practise. I’m trying to apply this logic to my pledge to be fit and healthy, but that’s not as sexy as fabric.
I’m currently working on a shirt dress and trying to make my friend Amy join the sewing obsession!
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