I sew. As long and as much as I have knit. I was taught when I was twelve by a great aunt who recognized a teachable moment when she saw one. I still remember that first dress, sleeveless yellow gingham A-line with a standup collar and an invisible zipper. Once my friends found out, I was making them all mini-skirts. In high school I sewed costumes for the drama department.
Being tall and having long limbs, it was hard to find store-bought clothes that fit sometimes and sewing allowed me to fit myself. As a young mother I sewed clothes for my daughter. She chastises me in adulthood for the humiliation she endured from having to wear Little House on the Prairie dresses to school as a kindergartener. McCalls came out with about 4 different patterns inspired by the popular TV show at the time. I bought every one. I don’t know what she is complaining about, she looked adorable in that bonnet and pinafore. The knickers might have been a bit devious of me though. At one time I worked in a sewing factory. It was an interesting experience. I have worked in fabric stores and as a private seemstress. I have made prom dresses, wedding gowns, cruise-wear, curtains and drapes, even a cape for an Elvis inpersonator. I also made a couple of men’s suits, but I won’t be doing that again. Whatever price the store asks for a man’s suit – pay it. It’s worth it.
So, for the month of June 2007, I plan to make a garment (or accessory) a day. Some are for Abby and some are for me and a couple for Kandis. Weekends will see more substantial progress because I still have a full time job. The big impetus for this project is that my cutting table has been up in my kitchen for a couple of months now and I’m tired of it being there reminding me that I have work to do. A couple of months ago, JoAnns had pattern sale on McCalls – that’s when I buy patterns. NEVER pay full price unless it’s an emergency (sewing emergencies do happen) or you have more money than good sense because they are always going on sale. BUT, $1.99 per pattern is a fabulous sale and I had several that I had on my wish list and they varied between 14.95 and 17.95 each. Well, I stocked up. And there were others in my pattern stash.
Now I also like to find bargains on fabric and the end of the season is the time to do it. Also if you browse frequently you can snag some real finds. Even Walmart (yeah, I know) has a few goodies on the Dollar a yard tables. You have to dig and be open-minded. It helps to know fabric by it’s feel because they don’t always disclose the content if they are giving it away for a buck. The plan is to sew and post photos and maybe along the way share some advice or suggestions. I have learned a lot of tricks after sewing for some 30+ years. And I have some favorite tools and techniques.
To start with, my sewing machine is an older model Bernina, electronic, but not computerized. Margene posted hers the other day and I think mine is a bit newer, but not a lot. I don’t require an expensive machine, this one was gifted to me by my mom when she learned someone had one they weren’t using, she bought it. I have used up a Kenmore and a Brother. I just kept putting new motors on them when I burned them up. I prefer simple machines that don’t have a lot of hooha on them. I do mostly construction and not decoration so simple is better. There is a trick to keeping a machine working well for you – it’s simple too, learn your machine, get cozy with the tension and KEEP IT OILED. Get out your manual and follow the instructions on oiling it regularly and it will preform for you for years. Kinda like a car – my dad always said, "oil is cheaper than metal", of course, he didn’t live to see 3 dollar a gallon gas, but I think the principle still holds up.
Now, lest you forget that besides sewing and knitting, I am also a naturalist and our office borders a state park and well, sometimes wildlife likes to kinda hangout with us. This guy is a wild tom turkey. He likes to strut up to the glass windows and puff himself up and display for that fella he sees in the window. Makes for a fun place to work.