It’s a little embarrassing, but I’ve been intimidated by sewing for a good…. 13 years now. My aunt gave me a machine when I was 15, and it sat in my closet, unused, until I moved out when I was 18 and my parents sold their house. I think the sewing machine was sold at a garage sale. Years later, I borrowed one from a housemate, even bought books and read obsessively about sewing technique, but never bought thread or fabric, until I had to give it back. I would talk about it, that someday future when I’d sew and make pillows and skirts, but never took concrete steps to make that happen.
Really, though, I was a knitter. I already had a hobby with a lot of small notions and long stretches of project concentration, and the constant click of my needles has been an important part of my life for all of those 13 years. Think of all the things I couldn’t knit if I was sewing instead!
But a few things have changed. I work in the knitting industry now, so I’m constantly surrounded by yarn. My primary job isn’t designing, but I frequently do have a deadline or two looming on my horizon, so knitting is rarely just for pleasure. I commute by train, and it’s an hour and 15 minutes each way, which is mostly concentrated knitting time (have you seen the viral picture of the woman who pulled out a cutting board and started chopping onions on the subway? I’m like that with knitting). And most importantly, I’ve found that the impetus to create in me is multiplied when spread across different media.
Recently, my knitting friends have been sewing more, and I’ve been coveting the gorgeous things they make. A good friend, probably tired of hearing about my potential sewing future, bought me a sewing machine at a garage sale (the same one I cast out returned home? Unlikely, but romantic). And maybe I absorbed some skills in all that reading, because I bought some thread and fabric this time, and after a few practice runs, it all seems very intuitive.
I think I’m in love.
It started with some throw pillows. My couch desperately needed some new ones, but those things are expensive! This tutorial from The Happy Housie looked really straight forward, and it was. I bought some duck feather pillow inserts from Ikea and made 4 covers in a weekend. So satisfying.
Next, I went on a blog reading binge and bookmarked a hundred things I want to make. I decided to start with the Miette skirt from Tilly and the Buttons, because it was made for a beginner and had a whole photo tutorial to walk you through it.
I made a skirt!
I’m so pleased with it. The seams aren’t as straight and perfect they could possibly be, but I wore it for a full day at work and didn’t have to employ my contingency plan (a tablecloth wrapped around my waist for the train ride home). The pattern and tutorial were very clear and introduced me to a plethora of good sewing habits with a good amount of hand holding. I love the pockets. My machine only has a couple fancy stitches, but I’m pretty fond of this one:
I’m a little less than wholly in love with the fabric, but for my first garment, I didn’t want to invest in anything super high quality. This was a remnant from the discount fabric store in the area, so I spent all of $2 on two yards. It’s a cotton poly blend, and it reminds me more than a little of my great-aunt’s nun habit. She’s in the Franciscan order, and they wear brown. But here’s to family solidarity! (?)
I’ve got to say, I loved having such a me-made day. The sweater was also a recent project, a high quality thrift store find. The neck was a horrid, tight turtleneck, though, so I cut it off and picked up stitches to knit a cowl neck with lone ball of Solitude Wool that I had in my stash waiting for the perfect project.
Cowl necks are by far my favorite these days. I was envisioning it bigger, but that’s as far as the yarn took me. Still decent, I think. You can wear it turned under:
or turned out:
or pulled all the way up, if you’re so inclined:
But this sewing thing has bitten me hard, and this blog may be shifting in focus a little to accommodate all the fabric crafts I’m excited to do. It has quickly become the year of a thousand skirts! And possibly a top or two.
If you’re here for the home projects, though, sit tight! In a few short months, I have some major, major new home projects that will be starting. Curious things afoot!