Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Keep Going Forward.....

Sew today I am going to remind myself a little of where I started. See, about 6-7 months ago, I finally broke out the sewing machine for the first time. It was my mom’s and I had asked to use it because I wanted to learn to sew. It sat in my dining room for almost a year before I finally got over the fear and set it up on my kitchen table.  First thing first, I had to thread it.

(Now I did take a Home EC, back in the day when they still offered it, and I did sew a “locker caddy” (horribly I might add), so I remembered a few things.)

The top of the machine was easy to thread. Then I remembered that there was a bobbin that needed threaded too, but I didn’t have the first clue on how to do it. Thus began the endless search of YouTube Videos, and Google searches. I tried and tried to do it and ultimately failed every time. What do you do in this case?  Call Mom. She is the superhero when you need something. (side note, esp when you are sick and aren’t sure whether to take an antihistamine or decongestant, she always knows and I can never remember for the next time!:)). So she talked me through it and I still couldn’t get the thread to catch. Turns out, I wasn’t using the proper bobbin for that machine!! Since I know about 2 things about a sewing machine, its no surprise that this other bobbin wouldn’t work. 2 hours later, I finally got a correct bobbin loaded and it was ready to sew.

Sew now what? I have wanted to sew and do so many things, but I find myself at times just scared to start projects. What if I mess up the fabric? What if I take all this time and it is just a mess or it doesn’t fit? Well, I still harbor a few of those fears, but I am getting better. I find patience is more of an enemy these days. I want to lay out a pattern, cut, sew and have an outfit for Livy in an hour. While this may be possible with a pillowcase dress or something very simple, I envision rows of ruffles and lace and embellishments that take a little longer. If I can’t do a project start to finish, I have a hard time getting started. Is anyone else like this or just me?

So the first thing I made was a dress for Livy. Forgive the poor photos. I am getting better as I go, but these are older, before I even started this blog.

I took an old skirt of mine that was stretchy and had a lining. I would tell you what the textile was, but I have no clue. If someone wants to buy me a fabulous Christmas gift, I’ll take 2 books. “Sewing for dummies” and “textiles for dummies”. Ok, so I am not sure if they even have those books, but I really need a crash course on these things. When you are self-teaching, (along with Youtube and some fabulous blogs I follow), it can be difficult to know what is what. Like is Jersey a Knit? Or is it different? And I know cotton, but quilting cotton, is it different? And then I won’t even get into silk chiffons and things of that nature because at my level of Couture, I am not there. >>>>Yet. (Sorry lets get back on trackJ)

I laid the skirt down flat and laid one of her dresses on top of it. Without pining or anything I simply cut around the fabric. Right next to the dress.  (You Veterans are shaking you head right now and I get it!). Then I turned inside out, pinned the sides, stitched it, hemmed it and thought I had just become CoCo Chanel. 

Then to try it on the model.

Squeeze, push, fold, bend, pull……and I got it on her. She wore it for a whole few minutes of me taking these pictures. I am not sure where it ended up. It was way too little, poorly fit and was even a little uneven.

This is when I began to learn an important lesson on seam allowances. Unfortunately this wasn’t a lesson completely learned.

My next project was a top from Prudent Baby.


Simple enough right? They give you the pattern for free and a little tutorial.  Well because I am amazing, I didn’t print the tutorial, only the pattern. (who needs instructions right? ) Well that just made me have to look up their website in the middle trying to figure out what I was doing.

Miss Model Livy was actually not feeling well teething and I being a mean mom,  forced her to model. I had finished it and although hanger appeal was nice, it just wasn’t enough.

Have you ever seen anything so pitiful? Poor Livy, and Poor ill-fitting shirt. See how the collar pokes out? Yeah it’s not supposed to be like that. I also thought I would “whip up” a pair of ruffle pants. Although they didn’t turn out terrible, the whole thing just sits in the closet on a hanger. Just what do I do with this ill-fitting creation? I mean I don’t think anyone else would want it and I just can’t throw it away! (GASP!). So there it sits.

Another important lesson on seam allowances learned.

My third attempt at an outfit for Livy went better. I adapted part of the pattern from Prudent Baby’s top, but I made it like a dress. Then I made it into a little romper.

She actually wore it out of the house once. It was very cute, but BARELY fit. It was snug length-wise. The top collar piece was also a little big, so we had some issue with it.
 It has been the best “fully handmade” piece so far. She was a little happier model this time! :)

Then when we went to Disney I was able to create her a few things. The strapless dress was super easy. The fabric already had the elastic and everything in it. I just cut it to size, turned inside out and sewed it. Wah-la. Easy Peasy.

This other one was a little more difficult but so worth it. When I say difficult, I really just mean time consuming. Nothing I had done yet has really be “difficult” that goodness!  She received a dozen compliments on it and I felt like a fabulous fashion mom!

It was a plain black t-shirt. I cut and ironed on the Minnie, then stitched around her so she would stay, and added a little bow. Then I cut strips of the zebra and polka dot and ruffled them, (this was before I got my fabulous ruffler foot). Then I layered then and attached them to the shirt. Finished it with a black ribbon across the top ruffle.

There are obviously imperfections, I had only been doing this for a month, but each outfit turns out better and better and I am so excited when it’s done. It’s also great therapy for me! Haha.

So each of us that starts a journey must hit roadblocks (broken needles), speed bumps (Seam ripper please!?), but if we keep on trucking along, we can only learn and get better. That’s my philosophy I suppose. I may not have garments on a couture runway today, but maybe one day. J

Do you have a similar experience from when learning to sew, crochet, knit or doing something you love? Anytime you self-teach, it’s always an experience.

Until next time,

Stay Calm……and just keep going….

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