Thursday, March 29, 2012

I came. I sewed. I conquered.

It all started in freshman home-ec. I tried to sew, really I did. But it was no use. Sewing is just not in my blood. It’s too precise. I’m a “measure once, cut twice” kind of crafter, and that doesn’t get one very far when sewing. Also, no one in my family did much sewing. The sewing machine was to me what a bicycle is to a bird…a really fun-looking and useful tool, but impossible for me to operate.

Now I have my MIL’s sewing machine and it has gotten minimal use over the years, with projects never living up to what I hope them to be when I start them. Pretty much every time I pulled out that machine, I would manage to make a big knotted mess of thread underneath and then it wouldn’t run at all. I counted on Dee’s mom to come for a visit and need to borrow my machine and she would always get it running again. I have a few friends that sew and they were always very encouraging to me – telling me again and again that I could do it. They, for a reason unbeknownst to me, believe I can be a seamstress.

I don’t know about a “seamstress”, but I do have a newfound confidence in myself as a person who can operate a sewing machine. I have yet to follow a traditional pattern, but the book slings turned out OK. I gained a little confidence. Then I signed up for Pinterest. “Projects” are pretty prolific on Pinterest and I decided I was in need of a new camera bag, but the $300 price tag for the one I wanted convinced me that I could make my own and Pinterest had no shortage of tutorials. So, I embarked…


Check it out! I picked out fabric, bought foam and sewed some foam inserts for a cute purse with several pockets and viola! My new camera bag!! What’s really fun is that I can remove the inserts and put them into another bag whenever it suits my fancy to change out bags. Which, historically, is fairly often.

Having accomplished that task, I had put my sewing machine away for a little while. Last weekend, when Sarah returned home from her California Math & Science (CAMS) trip, I was, at 3:00 in the morning, faced with a fabric-related dilemma. You see, Sarah had bought herself a sweatshirt in San Francisco without trying it on. When she held up the Large, it seemed very short (and I can feel her pain here…we’re very long-waisted girls) and so she bought an XL. It wasn’t until she got back to the hotel and put it on and looked in the mirror that she realized this sweatshirt was WAY too big, especially in the width. She was rather displeased and frustrated with herself and so, one of the first things she asked when she got home at 3:00 Sunday morning was, “Can you please try to shrink my sweatshirt?”

Ugh. I was exhausted and I knew she was also, so I said we’d figure it out. As I went to bed, I knew that shrinking it was probably not the answer. First of all, it was probably pre-shrunk and second of all, generally things shrink up in length more than they do in width, which was the biggest problem with this sweatshirt.

So there I laid in bed, at 3:30 in the morning trying to figure out what I should do in order to “save” her souvenir from her trip. It dawned on me, in those wee hours of the dawn, that what the sweatshirt needed was less fabric. I decided to try something…I figured, “what could it hurt?” Ed was skeptical, not to mention frustrated that I was bouncing my idea off him at 3:40 in the morning, but once I had a plan, I could sleep. Whew!

Sunday afternoon came and I asked Sarah to bring me the gigantic sweatshirt along with another one that she liked. The green sweatshirt, incidentally, is one of her baggiest.

I laid them out like this:


Then I drew a line with a white fabric pencil (one of many treasures I have discovered in Ed’s mom’s sewing box) on the black around the green sweatshirt. I had some dark blue thread and I put that sweatshirt in my sewing machine and stitched on the lines. And again, Viola!


I had a very happy teenager who can now wear her “I {{heart}} SF” sweatshirt and I felt like I had conquered the world with my sewing machine.

Oh, AAAAANND, while I had my machine out, I stitched up several clothing items that had holes in the seams that I was saving up to fix on my next Accountability Group day. I am amazing. Winking smile


Melissa said...

Good job completing these projects! I can relate to the whole sewing thing. I have several unfinished projects because I either get frustrated or bored half way through :) I too bought a purse & foam a couple years ago to make a camera bag, but it still sits in my closet...and the bag is a little outdated now :) I love yours!

dee said...

You ARE amazing! I am so proud of you and I'm sure Ed's mom would just be tickled pink to know you are using her machine.
p.s. Do you think you could sew me a summer sundress that makes me appear like I am a size 3?

Tamara said...

great work, Julie! wanna come to my house and stitch up some homes and "narrow" some sweatshirts?! :)

The Mom said...

Never doubted you had sewing skills for a minute. ;)

alvh said...

Great job!!! What's next on the project list??