Here is a little yarn about the long and winding road I took to becoming a somewhat skilled seamstress .
I grew up in Los Angeles in the eighties. Sewing classes had been taken out of the public schools so I didn’t have the opportunity to learn at school like the generation just before me did. My mom did have an old Kenmore that she bought at Sears to make some living room curtains with, but I don’t remember her sewing much else after those curtains were done.
At 14, I wanted to try making a skirt like I had seen Madonna, my teen idol wearing, so I got out Mom’s sewing machine and an old pillow case and I went to work. I ended up jamming up the sewing machine pretty badly, and put it away before my mom would find out.
I forgot all about my sewing ambitions until I decided to take a sewing class at the local community college four years later. We spent the whole semester making a straight skirt in the class with an interfaced separate waistband, a zipper, and a back vent. I was so proud of myself, but the fabric I chose was too stiff so I didn’t wear it much and I didn’t make anything after that until I got to design school.
At 20, I went to Florence, Italy for a semester to study Italian. While there, I decided what I really wanted to be was a fashion designer. So I went home, applied to fashion design school in Los Angeles and was accepted based on my sketches. School was difficult for me because my limited sewing skills made it almost impossible to realize the ambitious designs I was sketching. Surprisingly, when I applied to design school they asked to see my sketches only, not actual garments! Many of the students in design school were in the same boat as me, and could barely sew when they started, but after two years we had gotten much better, although I still had trouble with zippers and you can forget about buttonholes!
So now I will flash forward many years… I had met my future husband while I was still a student, gotten married in a whirlwind, and had become a stay at home mom, indefinitely putting my career on hold. I was pregnant with my fourth child and had long since stopped sewing anything besides Halloween costumes, curtains, and pillows. We also had recently moved to the country from Los Angeles. I felt isolated and needed a creative outlet.
Suddenly I was seized with an urge to start making clothes again. Maybe my nesting instinct had gone haywire?! I started sewing simple things, like baby dresses and bibs.
I started my blog soon after that in July of 2010 and I haven’t stopped sewing since. I am happy to say that say I love what I am doing now. It’s such a blessing to have this great community of other sewists to share projects with and learn from. Anything you should want to learn about sewing and design is now available with a mouse click. I also think that I wouldn’t have sewed nearly as many things if I didn’t have a blog. Having other people that share my passion of vintage and Japanese patterns, fabrics I am obsessed with, and pattern making is extremely more motivating than just showing something I made to my husband who takes a quick glance and is like, “Oh that looks nice…”
It wasn’t until I started blogging that my sewing skills started to really improve at a quicker pace. Practice makes perfect and feeling like I had to complete something each week to share has been a big help to improve my sewing. Recently, I made my first welt pocket and that was a big one for me. Another technique I have yet to conquer would have to be bound buttonholes. So much time to spend on such a tiny detail! But they really are lovely.
What about you readers? How did you learn to sew? I’d love to hear your stories too!