I just discovered that Sulala is two years old today! What a perfect day to dive into my sewing habit with full force.
My entire sewing career is linked to this machine (minus a few brief flings, notably a one-night stand with my 4-H leader’s machine and a continuing affair with my mom’s Bernina), so it stands to reason that I can use her as the foundation for my sewing back story. My mom sewed a great deal for me on this machine when I was younger, happily stitching pants for me when I refused to wear jeans or any store bought pants, for example, or crafting the entire wardrobe for my Am*rican G*rls doll. In junior high, I made bags of varying quality, but never really got into sewing. During high school I golfed. In college when Mom upgraded I inherited the Singer. I made a few blankets for DH (imagine the domesticity of your RA sewing in her dorm room!! Wouldn’t you want to turn to her with all of your problems?) and my grandma, and then of course whenever I moved I made curtains and other household-y things for our various dwellings.
I think I had to wait until I understood patience a little more to really get into sewing, though, and patience is a lesson that knitting has never stopped teaching me. I wonder if anyone else has had this experience: until I started knitting–or maybe more accurately, reading blogs about knitting–it never really occurred to me that the fault of poorly fitting clothes was not mine! Until I was able to make decisions about how I wanted a sweater to fit, I did not understand how my body shape really affected what I bought. I simply thought that I could not wear the majority of styles that were on the store shelves because I wasn’t shaped right. (Well, and then there’s the fact that I am cheaper than dirt and never really put much effort into anything regarding looks.) For example, I have a really hard time buying dresses that fit upper and lower halves together, so in my head for years I’ve just thought I can’t wear dresses.
Why all of this self-reflection is relevant is that watching all of you have such tremendous success clothing your own beautiful selves, not as a chore or to hide anything but as a fun challenge, inspired me to try. And that meant turning to my faithful Singer. So last June with my trip to Ireland and Switzerland as my motivation I began to capital-S Sew. (I just realized that really it all started with making a dress for a wedding, but I don’t have a picture of it!!).
Dancing in Atlanta’s airport: Ok, so I did make these pants (highly modified) from Butterick 5101 and a JoAnn’s knit, but the picture is showing my travel purse. I had such a rough time finding the perfect bag to take along, and finally just a day or two before I left I threw this one together. It ended up being…not perfect by any means but certainly functional. The funny part about the purse is that it is made from a pair of pants that were headed to the wadder pile. Can anyone guess where (hint: the straps were cut from the legs…)? I can’t recount the state of mind that led to this revelation that pants would give me the purse shape I was looking for, but ain’t that the state of creativity sometimes?
Next is another Butterick 5101 top, view A, made from a nice Ponte knit. Well, nice for this top but not so nice for the pants shown above because it has pilled like crazy (Rats–just realized I made this top twice too, and only have a picture of one version!). Wrap tops can be trouble, but this one a) actually covers a little bit on top and b) doesn’t cling and cut in all the wrong places in the middle. Oh, and c) was very easy to sew! This picture is obviously not from Swizterland, by the way!! I know there are some WI’ers out there cheering right now!
Here’s that top again with a dress I made to go with it. I’m really hoping that I’m just standing at an awkward angle in this picture, and that my bottom half is not actually attached to my top half like this. I love the fabric, though, a Moda cotton I got on sale in Tennessee. The dress is New Look 6788, view B, and I had to make some major modifications to it so it ended up being a little “meh” without the top over it. Turns out that this “dress” when made according to the pattern is really a “sack” with no shaping at all. I took in the front, added front and back darts, and took in the center back seam to get some semblance of a dress shape to it. There’s no zipper, which is what really should have clued me in that something was wrong here! I’d make it again, with shaping and a zipper though. But look–the final result is me in a dress!
And a skirt!! Simplicity 5524, in another Jo-Ann linen look (gotta learn to finish seams!!). If ever there was a skirt to convince me that I can wear skirts, this is it. It was easy to make, is easy to wear, and I daresay even looks decent. You can tell I did a fabulous job accessorizing it with the daring choice of a white T-shirt!
Ok, I’m out of patience with looking at myself for today. More to come!