Day 23 Blog June – The good, the bad and the ugly

After reading Peta’s post Spatial awareness and the art of dressmaking I thought it was time to drag out my planned blog post on my experience with sewing.

I use to sew a lot when I was a teenager. My mum was always a sewer. She sewed my school uniforms, my clothes, even my formal dresses. I studied home economics at high school all the way through (and uni). I even went to sewing classes after school at the local craft shop. But sewing for me was never a painless exercise. Sure I could sew. But it was always fraught. My perfectionist tendencies meant that if even the smallest thing went wrong I chucked a wobbly. I remember countless times I flung patterns and fabric across the table. Very ugly scenes. Think a teenager throwing a tantrum like a toddler.

I still sewed though. It didn’t stop me. I continued to sew in my late teens and early twenties when my mum bought me a second hand Elna after I had left home. I even made a pair of satin pyjamas for my best friend for her 21st. But then I stopped. I still have a number of unfinished projects from that time: a skirt that just needs a hem; a blouse that needs the sleeves attached and buttons and buttons holes; and a shirt and skirt that are cut out but not sewn. I think I stopped sewing when I got my first full-time job.

Since having Miss A I have started to sew again.

Firstly, it was because I went to a craft fair and bought some lovely fabric and patterns, including a number of toy patterns from Funky Friends Factory. I had grand plans to make soft toys for all of the kids in my life for Christmas and birthday presents. So far I have only made one monkey for Miss A.

Cheeky monkey

Cheeky monkey.

Then I was appalled at the shortness of the shorts available for young girls and so I decided to make shorts for Miss A. A colleague lent me her sewing patterns from when she used to make clothes for her daughter so I had somewhere to start.

I also upgraded to a better sewing machine (think fancy stitches and automatic buttonhole) by buying my mother-in-laws old Bernina when she upgraded hers.

After a buying spree at Spotlight, I went ahead and made one pair of shorts for Miss A. Things went well. All my sewing knowledge and memories came flooding back, even the bad ones. But I kept cool and calm and the shorts turned out well. I have since made Miss A several more shorts, a playsuit and a couple of dresses. Not everything turned out as expected but Miss A likes them all the same.

Recently I experimented with turning a bought t-shirt into a ruffle dress after seeing it on Pinterest. Even though it didn’t work out as a dress because I miscalculated one measurement I turned it into a skirt and matching appliqued top. Miss A still loved it and that was the main thing. This was also my first time of not following an actual pattern but making it up as I go along.

Appliqued t-shirt

Appliqued t-shirt.

Ruffle skirt

Ruffle skirt.

I have also made myself, 2 skirts, and 1 top. The skirts turned out well but I miscalculated the size of the top and it is a fraction small so I am yet to wear it.

So the lessons I have learnt this time around:

Go by the measurements on patterns not the size, despite the effect on the ego.

I am not the same person I was as a teenager. I have more patience and slightly less perfectionist tendencies. If it doesn’t work, it is not the end of the world.

I should also add stop buying patterns and material until you have used what you have already got but hey where is the fun in that.

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2 thoughts on “Day 23 Blog June – The good, the bad and the ugly

  1. Peta

    I too had a long break from dressmaking for years. But i did do a few sets of curtains and seat covers in that time. These projects were much less onerous than fitting fabrics to curves.

  2. Sally

    I love that little set you made for Miss A, just adorable 🙂

    I would love to be able to sew my own clothes, but I didn’t get the hang of it at school and have found it all too daunting ever since. I even bought a new sewing machine (a nice simple one) that I’ve not been able to bring myself to use. My sister and I are planning to take a class later this year, though, so hopefully I will conquer my fear of the machine!

    I also bought a whole stack of Funky Friends Factory patterns at a craft show once, intending to make them for all of my friends’ children. But I didn’t make any, and now all the kids are too old for toys. Oh well.