Friday, October 22, 2010 gets easier with time. Really.

My mom knew her way around a sewing machine very well. Me?--no.

You could attribute some of my sewing hangups to the typical middle-school home economics class, which, if I had paid any attention to the cooking units, would have finished me in the kitchen as well. Or just the fact that I hardly ever had to machine-sew anything, because my mom could do it better and faster, and liked to.

For some reason, it was not only the machine that stymied me for many years (yes, I do have ongoing battles with things that plug in), but the whole bewilderment of patterns. And fabric stores, which not only largely disappeared around here before I ever got the hang of them, but which are usually set up to be as confusing as possible.

My first breakthrough was a pair of maternity overalls that I finished about one week before The Apprentice was born. (Better almost late than never.)

My second was a purple jumper that I retooled for toddler Apprentice from a free pair of corduroy pants. It was, honestly, quite adorable and so was she.

My third was a set of stuffed Christmas elves that The Apprentice helped me make when she was three. (No, she didn't use the machine.) I sold most of them at a craft sale and bought myself a lovely angel which we still have. Which just goes to show that people buying Christmas crafts don't care what grade you got in home economics.

Since then I've become slightly less spatially challenged when it comes to figuring out patterns. (Fabric stores still give me a headache.) I am never going to be making wedding dresses, but at least I know how to get both pajama legs right side out now. The Squirrelings have all grown up quite chummy with our sewing machine. (Maybe because they didn't feel like I knew more than they did?) The one thing I've never done yet is put in a zipper...I don't think my machine even has a zipper foot. And through the magic of You-tube, I may even get past that one. I know Ponytails' ambition is to have a serger someday, and maybe she'll let me use it.

In the meantime, if you share some of my hesitations, or even if you don't, can I recommend my favourite sewing site? Besides basic instructions and tips, there are tons of patterns (with lovely photos) and links to more. If you click on Free Patterns, you get a choice of Beginner, Intermediate, and Advanced, all sorted and ready to go. But there's another link in the sidebar that takes you to this page, and if you keep scrolling down the page, you'll find links to using Scraps of Fabric, Sewing Slippers, Projects to keep You and Your Home Warm, and more.

Got you interested yet?

If I can do it, anybody can.


Erica said...

Thanks for the links. I have been wanting to improve my sewing more, but I dont have the time for a class. These resources will definitely help.

Jeanne said...

Oh no, not true at all. Just because you can do it does NOT mean that I can. I think I have developed a sewing machine phobia. The only thing prodding me to actually purchase a machine is the nagging thought that really Jemimah should at least grow up with one in the house. Even if I can't use it any better than she can. I'm sure Charlotte had one, aren't you?

Mind you, that same feeling of responsibility to teach domestic skills to my daughter has resulted in my recent crochet obsession, so you never know, maybe I will try sewing some day. Maybe.

Mama Squirrel said...

Jeanne, I don't know if Charlotte Mason did any sewing after a certain age...I would be guessing maybe not, since she was already pretty busy writing, teaching and administrating. She encouraged sewing and handicrafts, but I've never read anything that said she sewed much herself. Does that make you feel better?

And your "Granny" looked very nice!

Jeanne said...

Why thankee moochly! I'm very proud of Grannie!

Donna-Jean Breckenridge said...

I had those same middle school classes! Actually, I failed sewing in school. (how is that even possible?) I think I got a 34 on my project (out of 100). It was a corduroy jumper, which apparently was unwearable, as I recall.

My girlfriend signed me up for classes then at Sears, or some such place. I didn't do much better.

But after I was married, I got a sewing machine. I found a little course so I could teach my daughter (the book did the teaching!). And last Christmas, I made pillows for gifts!

Miracles still happen. :-)