On Learning To Sew

I'm writing this on a lazy Saturday morning. My sewing machine is staring at me over the top of my lap top. Had it a tongue, no doubt it would be sticking out. The little bastard and its army of scissors, seam rippers, bobbins and rulers taunt me.

Hubby got me a sewing machine for Christmas because I wanted to be able to hem my own pants, to make my own curtains, to play with pillowcases. Then life got busy and it sat around for months untouched.

But a few months ago, unhappy with where I am in life, I decided sewing was my way out. That if I worked at it, I could follow in the footsteps of millions of women (my grandmother included) who used their needle and thread to earn an income.

I spent evening after evening practicing stitches, learning how the fabric moves with the feed dogs, feeling the tautness of my bobbin thread. I also spent countless nights lamenting my wobbly cuts, yelling at the gnarl of thread caught in my machine, crying over a task that seems insurmountable when I can't even sew a straight hem.

It's not all been defeat. I was able to put a blind hem in a pair of jeans. I've made some good progress on a tutu. ("A tutu will be easy," I thought. "I won't have to hem!" Let me tell you, tulle is a slippery devil.) The mystifying buttonhole foot finally makes sense.

My husband has quietly accepted the fact that he will never see the dining room table again and that though the sewing bric-a-brak has been untouched for weeks, he should not ask me about my progress. I'm not giving up. That idea of having a marketable skill, of having even a bit more freedom is too sweet. But I'm frustrated, and my sewing books can't always give me the insight I need. Now that my busy time at work is winding down, I think I'll call up a seamstress from my church and see if she can be the Yoda to my headstrong, gimme-it-now Luke.


rachel said…
I feel your joy and pain.
rachel said…
I feel your joy and pain.
Nikell said…
I started teaching myself how to sew last year around this time. I want to get my clothing line off of the ground and put my love of fashion to more use than drooling over fashion blogs and Polyvore sets.
I've discovered that I learn best by watching videos and following tutorials. Just jumping and trying it out. I post a lot of my projects and tutorials here: http://www.cutoutandkeep.net/users/56302
If you have any questions about sewing, I'm by far no expert but I can help the best way I can or point you to a good tutorial. Also I have tons of free pattern sites book marked I'll be happy to share them just let me know.
Fanya said…
It's one of those trial and error thing. Also, a really good instead of mediocre sewing machine also helps, depending on the fabric.

I once tried someone's industrial sewing machine and it was amazing. Fabrics don't slip, and it was satisfying pounding out a seam with 6 layers of corduroy like it's nothing
Jael Paris said…
Nikell, I would love some free pattern sites. I would also love a printer that works. :-(

I'll post my results on our Facebook.
Tamia said…
Girl. You get my respect for even trying. The idea of properly threading a bobbin scares me so much that my sewing machine has been relegated to the back of the cabinet for 4+ years.

Jael Paris said…
Good news is that I discussed patterns and stitches with my Yoda on Sunday afternoon. She was very excited to share all her quilting with me.
Nikell said…
Lol...yeah a printer that works would probably be the first thing you'd need.

Craftstew.com is a good place to start. There are tutorials on there too. Another good place is Burdastyle.com
Unknown said…
Hang in there!
I was fortunate enough to have a home economics class when I was 13 that got me off to a good start, but let me tell you--even after 23 years of sewing something to wear now and then, I often struggle! The secret is having a LOT of patience to unpick what doesn't go well, to take the time to read patterns and to cut carefully, and to get to know your machine as much as possible. Getting a good library on sewing techniques and how to work with various fabrics is a huge help. But no matter how much you learn, I believe sewing is like a language--there really is NO end to how much you can keep improving your skills! To climb a mountain you must take one step at a time though, right? And the joy of finishing a project will keep you going!

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