The Sewing Project

March 30, 2010

I’m afraid I have overly expensive taste when it comes to clothes. This is not because I’m a brand whore (in fact I try to find clothes that don’t come from major designers), but is instead because I love fabric… luxuriously soft textiles that I can never afford.

Then when I was home before Christmas, working my way through an overly ambitious list of handmade gifts, I made a trip to a fabric store with my Mom. We found the most beautiful burgundy herringbone wool, for the most outrageously on sale price! So we set out to make my first sewing project: a winter dress for the job interview I’d nail (eventually). The dress had a bit of everything basic: darts, a zipper, cap sleeves, and my Mom was a fantastic teacher. Its one of those skills she’s had forever (part of what inspired me to learn).

She made my Dance and Halloween costume every year. She would start the costumes at least a month before halloween, and I remember many a night of standing on a foot stool wearing pinned together paper, trusting her that this really was a princess costume I was wearing. Before us, she made business suits for herself as a young career woman… yes…blazers, jackets, skirts, blouses, the whole ordeal. Before Mom, my grandmother made all 4 of her daughters clothes for school. My mom was the youngest kid in small town Alliance to wear bell bottoms. When they first came into style her big sisters all had them, so she needed them too… and since bell bottoms weren’t made in her tiny size… Grandma stepped up. All in all, there is quite the history of sewing greatness to live up to. And while this is entirely inspiring, my desire to learn is driven by two simple goals:

1) to learn one seriously useful and money saving skill that will never be forgotten (much like riding a bike)

and 2) To start a wardrobe that I’ve seriously invested myself in. Because when you invest time and effort rather than money, you will undoubtedly appreciate and understand it all the more.

This is the most rewarding part. No seam is just a seam. Especially with these first few projects, every step marks a new skill learned. You equally appreciate the feats and the flaws; and wearing your own clothes instills both a sense of confidence and paranoia that you just don’t get from a store (this thing I’m wearing is 100% unique, but the seam might rip when I sit down). Its quite the adventure.

Oh and shopping… you thought clothes shopping was fun. Fabric shopping is truly addictive! Imagine shopping not only for the perfect item (which exists en mass  in your head), but for the ideal color and texture. You go to by fabric for one project, and inevitably discover your next three.

I’ve now completed 2 full projects (One with the leadership of my Mom) and I’m about to start number 3. Photos and stories to follow…