Saturday, March 21, 2009

In the sewing room

When I resurrected this blog a few months ago I always intended to write about sewing, as I believe sewing is such an important skill to have. So far, I haven’t gone there, so here is my first overdue sewing post.

My mother, grandmother and aunts are and were all great sewists. A few yars ago, I put together a scrapbook of my life, and time and again I wrote captions on the photos which said things like “Mum made this dress/pantsuit/swimming costume/school uniform/wedding dress”. She is a great, technically fabulous sewist. I think the only things she would have bought me were socks and singlets. My grandmother was also excellent, sewing away on her treadle machine (she was an superlative knitter too).

Unfortunately, my sewing ability has been a late developing thing. Mum’s teaching style and my learning style just didn’t gel, regrettably. When I left home I bought a sewing machine, and did give sewing a bash, but the results were disappointing and I gave away any attempts to learn to sew. Over the last few years my sewing has been limited to curtains, soft furnishings and shopping bags!

When I finally had broadband internet connected 18 months ago, though, I discovered blog and blogging. More specifically, I discovered sewing blogs and the pattern reviewing site aptly named I was so inspired by what I saw on these blogs and sites that I became motivated to give sewing another go. My other motivation was my pure frustration at buying age-appropriate clothes (not teeny bopper, not grandma) that fit me made in natural fibres that don’t cost a bomb. They don’t exist.

So what is on show above? This is my muslin of Burda shirt pattern 2561, which I am making as part of the Build a Bodice Muslin course on offer through the Pattern Review site. The course tutor posts a daily lesson, and as you go through each stage you post photos of your work for the tutor to critique. It sounds improbable, but it works a treat. I’ve learnt so much. Mind you the course tutor lives in Atlanta, Georgia and I live in southern NSW. The internet still boggles my mind sometimes.

E-learning like this is a boon to someone like me who lives nowhere near any courses like this and is learning things on her own. I’ve also done courses on skirt muslins and construction, and every course builds on my knowledge. I am by no means expert, and still regard myself as a beginner (the more you learn about sewing the more there is to learn), but I am proof positive you can teach a middle aged dog new tricks!


miss*R said...

I want to make a pinafore for winter! haven't sewn in years but because I am so eccentric, I hate clothes that I buy in shops so I end up altering them in some way..

Paola said...

Based on my own experience, I can't encourage you to give sewing a go enough. It's very satisfying, and wearing clothes that fit you is a revelation!
I plan to add a list of inspiring sewing blogs soon. Check em out!

Linda said...

Your story is very similar to mine at the start. My Mum is very good too, and my Nana used the treadle. My Mum taught me button loops and perhaps a few other things, but that is it too. I was lucky enough to have three years of sewing taught to me at school. My Nana taught me to crochet.

I got Mum's machine, used it perhaps for a year when my husband and I first got together when I was 20. Then the tension and everything got too hard. I have a new machine now, but it is slightly different to thread, and there you are. I saw another old machine in a local shop that is used by the owner, it looked like a simpler version of Mum's.

How wonderful for you to be able to do this.

I have been doing a bit of hand hemming. My daughter has just started to learn to machine at school and had her first overlocker lesson last week. She cuts out her dress pieces tomorrow. If all goes well she will wear it to her brother's graduation, maybe I can ask her Nana to make the jacket for it as it is in August.