Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Sewing and Triangles

Sew Begins

I have taken up sewing. I can now thread my sewing machine, bobbin included, after three years of it sitting inside a cabinet. It feels like progress. Projects include an almost completed bag, a finished shopping bag, and four aprons in various states of completion as well as a stockpile of sewing kits I aim to do when I feel a bit more confident with my sewing skills. I have big plans for sewing curtains for our new house- my straight stitch is getting, well, straighter. Making stuff may seem pointless to some, but I have turned the corner. Perhaps I went to too many quilt shows. I want to make all kinds of stuff, and with a whiff of know how, my list grows daily.

My children are impressed. The Mule dug out her copy of My First Sewing Book, a Christmas gift, and spent an hour or two quietly working her way through the first project. Finished last night the stuffed yellow bird will soon have two purple rat companions. The Moose was immediately interested in doing a project once he saw the result. He said, "I'm a good looper (going around the edges). She's a good sewer." The Mule said, "I'm a good looper too! I think I might be better than you." He said, "We're neck in neck," as he randomly placed stitches in his rat.

Avoid Reality Syndrome

Taking up a new hobby when there is already too many mindless tasks to do is my way of handling overload. Forget all that stuff I can't balance, give me something so absorbing that everything else fades away. You can't really forget dinner, laundry, basic hygiene, or routine housekeeping, but I have tried.

Basic creativity is a fairly new experience in my life. I feel so driven to try sewing, knitting, cooking, making jam. I can't decide if it's because I've become a homemaker junkie or if the thrill of making stuff is just that fantastic. My apron looks ho hum thanks to uber thick material that barely fit through the sewing machine, but those extra seams I ran over it won't be coming out anytime soon. It's cool to have made something.

At a recent crafting event I tried a bit of paper piece making. This is where you sew pieces of fabric onto a paper to make a quilt pattern. It took my brain back to tenth grade geometry class. I can't conceptualize spatially, still. I had to ask for assistance every triangle of the way. Thankfully there was another option to make a bag. I opted for the bag. Thanks to some recent sewing lessons, I was able to tackle the bag mainly solo. It's pretty cute too.

My friend who has kindly taken me under her wing to teach me basic sewing skills understands that I must do to know. First she walked me through some basic sewing skills- checking my stitches, adjusting the tension, threading my machine. She wanted me to troubleshoot problems that might occur. She wanted to mess up my machine and have me fix it. I was aghast. She showed me how to make gathers, then she removed them and told me to do it myself to prove I could do it. I felt like I had been had. She so knows my type, darn it. If I can't do it myself, I don't understand it. I think that is why I am learning something- finally a teacher who gets that I know nothing until I prove it. Darn, this is like geometry class. Mr. Gay never let me off in his math class either.

The aprons that Mama made!


  1. Is your teacher American? I just wonder at the focus on the machine. In the UK, I was taught to sew by hand for years before being allowed to touch a machine. I've heard, by contrast, that US sewing classes start on the machine. Anyway, if you get to a tricky bit that your machine wont handle, just relax, sit in your favourite chair with a good light, and do it by hand. It's easier and can actually be quicker (unpicking machine stitches can be a pain!) and hopefully it helps you enjoy the process. :-)

  2. My teacher is American and my request was to learn how to use my sewing machine, thus the lessons! I am working on a bag from Swany and removed a number of stitches today so I know what you mean about removing machine stitches. Might help too if the directions for the bag weren't in Japanese and if I had a point of reference i.e. some prior sewing experience. Sewing so reminds me of math class! At least how I felt in math class.


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