Tuesday, 1 May 2012

An introduction

Once upon a time, in a home economics class in a high school near Manchester in the UK, I got to the end of my second ever sewing project, an A-line skirt (the first project was a patchwork cushion that didn't have a single square corner) and once it had been graded, I flung it into the darkest corner of my wardrobe and swore that NEVER AGAIN would I try to sew anything.

That resolution lasted another 24 years before out of the blue I decided that what I really, truly wanted to do was learn to sew.

I came around to the idea that it would be fun to sew for myself very very gradually. It started out because I'd been dabbling in reading about interior design and found myself drawn to the fabrics. My mother, who is a very accomplished sewist who once upon a time sewed everything she wore, asked me one day what I would do when she wasn't around to help make minor alterations to my clothes. Three friends of mine took up knitting and talked endlessly about how much they loved making things for themselves, even if they didn't turn out very well.

Suddenly, in August 2011, the bug bit for real. I bought a sewing machine, just a basic one, and started a fabric stash. I started making bags, which I LOVED. Then I realized one woman does not need a half a million bags, and I opened an Etsy shop to sell my surplus. Over the course of those 9 months, I have come around to the idea that actually, it would also be really amazing if I could make my own clothes as well as bags. I'm eager to learn more sewing and you do tend to hit a plateau with bags where they do not get any more complex or interesting. I want the things I make to be useful. All roads led to making clothes.

The story of making clothes so far:

1. Mostly fear and confusion. I don't know where to start! When I started sewing bags I made an unlined tote bag first, but I don't know what the equivalent is in clothes. I've been sewing every day for 9 months, but I actually don't know what I don't know. Bag sewing is very DIY oriented, the blogs I follow are mainly people who are self taught and, frankly, there really is a limit to how complex bags can get.

2. Armed with encouragement from patternreview sewists, I risked a first project: a pair of pyjama shorts. With hippos on them, of course.

3. Since then, I've been consumed with looking at fabrics, blogs, sewing books and magazines. I managed to acquire all 12 back issues of Ottobre Woman, which I'm in love with. I have a sampling of other patterns from other companies. I look at what other people have made. And I'm building up my clothing fabric stash (my bag-making stash being mainly composed of home decor fabrics). One day soon (when my PhD is submitted, probably) I will actually begin sewing in earnest. This blog will chronicle the continuing adventures!

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