my 1st & highly embarassing sewing projects

I have been sewing just shy of 5 years.
The beginning of the sewing adventure will forever be etched in my mind because it is directly associated with the beginning of motherhood.
Both pregnancies I have ended up on a modified bed rest.
An elder’s wife from our church in Texas once wisely told me that, “Pregnancy is like a disease.”
{she’s had six kids so she knew what she was talking about}

I ended up on modified bed reset {aka house arrest} with My Helper due to freakishly low blood pressure, and anemia.
I also was competing for the title of Worst Morning Sickness because I had 30+ weeks of puking all day.
{could there be a more graphic way to set the scene}

Enter my desire to sew a quilt for My Helper.
And I did.
Zero experience, a menial understanding of a sewing machine, a generous friend who loaned me her machine, and an idea.
::::drum roll please::::
(My Helper still sleeps with this quilt every night.)

My inspired idea, {which I thought was so clever}, was to use vintage handkerchiefs on the inside corner of each of those white blocks.
Well my lack of experience became evident in the 1st wash, when it started to fall apart, because of vintage handkerchiefs, which have the weight of a feather and durability of tissue paper.
{crazy run-on? grammatical nightmare? sentence that i’m not in the mood to edit. deal with it}
It also wasn’t cut well, pieced well, sewn well, bound well, or quilted (it’s hand tied).
But I don’t care, because it was my first, it was beautiful to me, and My Helper still loves it, hanky shreds in all.

It was my starting point.
I had bought a rotary cutter, a cutting mat, a quilting ruler and some fabric and I just had at it.
Not a bad result for just trying it out.
From then on the interwebs would prove invaluable,
for I had discovered the sewing blog.
Sewing tutorials became my best friend and greatest teacher.
My personality lends itself to try first and crack a book second.
If I can’t figure it out on my own, then I will seek help.
I have had some pretty screwy techniques as a result.
Flip side is that my creativity wasn’t bridled by the laws of quilting.

My second big project I pulled from the pages of Cottage Living Magazine (R.I.P.) and it came with instructions.
It was a cover for an industrial shelving unit that would convert it into a desk.

It had a clever roll down cover so I could hide that crazy clutter when people were over.

After that unfortunate piece of decorating desperation I started sewing lots of other household goods.
They all were tolerable, but not a single one is in use today.
The next big thing was The Cadet’s quilt.
It was just under 2 years in between the 2 quilts but just that little bit of experience made a world of difference.

{clearly i still didn’t know how to take a picture}

Again, not perfect, but clearly making progress.
I could at least cut fairly accurately and sew a straight line.
By this time I had gained some standards, became friends with a seam ripper and started to develop my own sense of style.
That following Christmas my brother-in-law, The Hot Shot, gave me my very own sewing machine (I had still been borrowing off and on from a friend!)
It was a bottom of the line Singer from Tarjay and I worked it into the ground.

A few months later my husband became My Soldier and I had 18 months of single parenting and endless hours to sew ahead of me.
I was finally at an intermediate level with quilting, purses and bags and finally ventured into the realm of sewing clothing.

This is an oh-so-cute 2-year old version of My Helper.
This was the 1st top I made for her.
It’s basically a rectangle with a casing sewn at the top and some elastic.
For various reasons I love this top.
It was so simple and completely my design aesthetic and I still wish she could wear it.

Honestly most of these pictures are really embarrassing.
The awful storage unit/desk cover has since been deconstructed and the fabric used elsewhere.
The quilts I keep and still love, but that has more to do with who they were made for.
By the time I started sewing clothing I could sew a straight line and draft a simple pattern so I am less embarrassed about those pieces.

Now that I sew a lot of clothing I am still figuring out how textiles play into it all.
One thing the interwebs have a hard time teaching is about textiles since when it comes to clothing it has a lot to do with feel and drape.
Blogs are still my go to.
From blogs I have figured out how to sew clothes that fit my post pregnancy body,
how to tailor clothing,
how to alter patterns,
sew from Japanese pattern books (my fav),
and I have also discovered my design aesthetic and how to customize what I sew to fit it.
I love being able to look through the interwebs and say, “I can make that!”
And nowadays I largely can, and I know how to source what I need to create (or recreate) things I see.
Thankfully now I have Betty and she plays a big role in my ability to create the stuff I do.

So that is the so very long post on my introduction into the world of sewing.

  3 comments for “my 1st & highly embarassing sewing projects

  1. 08.26.2011 at 07:30

    Awesome! This gives me hope. I’m also the “try first, crack a book later (if ever)” type. You mentioned “the sewing blog” – but I didn’t see a link. Was that a specific blog reference or just a reference to sewing blogs in general? I’m super excited at the thought of learning how to do this stuff! The quilts are adorable. And to make my own clothes would be a dream come true. Thanks ma’am! :)

  2. Megan
    08.26.2011 at 10:07

    Just poor grammar and a reference to sewing blogs in general. It’s a vast world that I am slightly addicted to. I’ll do a post on that today!

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