Got a lot of blackberries? Then check out this recipe for Blackberry Mojito Fruit Leather.

I'm not a huge fan of fruit leathers, but this turned out super good! And, really, you can't go wrong with blackberries, mint and rum.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Sew what?

Oh, Brother!I don't know what's got into me, but I've decided to take up sewing. I've been wanting to do this for years now. I have such a hard time finding clothes that fit me since I'm so tall, so it seems like a good idea.

I have yet to actually sew anything -- I'm in the planning, cutting and pinning stages and, frankly, I'm a wee bit overwhelmed by even threading up my shiny new sewing machine (Happy Birthday to me!).

I have a 35" inseam, so most above-knee-length skirts designed for the "average" woman turns into a super mini-skirt on me where I can't bend over without exposing myself to God and country. And I'm too modest for that. So, my first project will be a skirt. Granted, most likely it will turn out to be a lumpy skirt similar to most of my knitting projects but, perhaps, with practice they'll become less lumpy over time.

Of course, I have grandiose dreams of designing all manner of custom made clothing that actually fits me. Dreams of sleeves that actually hit at the wrist instead of turning into 3/4 sleeves after a wash or two. Dreams of enough width across my back so that I can actually stretch my arms forward without risk of ripping something.

And, ultimately, I can't get over how damn cheap it all is. Even with buying really nice fabric, I think that a skirt will average around $15 in materials. And I can't wait until I'm skilled enough to make stuff for the kids - Emma already wants a matching skirt and I'm sure there will be plenty of Halloween costumes in my future.

Anyone else out there sew their own clothes either for themselves or for their children? Just like growing your own food and half the other things I've taken on lately, sewing seems to be a lost art.

31 comments:

Malva said...

I think there will be a huge need for sewing skills in the future.

Personally I don't sew much. I do own a sewing machine and know how to use it but I don't have a burning desire to make anything with it so it sits in a closet (along with my iron and ironing board who come out almost exclusively when I'm sewing). I'd rather knit at this point in time. But when I decide to make something, I'm actually pretty good.

I learned how to sew from my mother, by osmosis.

Anonymous said...

Crunchy - you should check out the Wardrobe Refashion blog. Its really neat to see some re-cycling of clothing there.
I also would advise taking a sewing class - like through adult ed. You could learn a few things - zips can be tricky! Congrats!!!

AnandaDevika said...

I'm actually signed up for the next Wardrobe Refashion "pledge" starting next month. The site has some great ideas for inspiration.
I agree - take a class, or get a good book from the library. Practice, practice, practice, and get a good seam ripper!

Anonymous said...

I also recently took up sewing and have LOVED it, although there is never enough time to really make much progress on my projects. I saw a very cool little girls dress made from men's old dress shirts. The buttons went up the back of the dress. Fabric can get really expensive and using old clothes seems like a great way to 'free-cycle' some things.

Sandy said...

Crunchy,

I don't sew clothing (yet) but I do quilt. Sometimes I just need websites for inspiration, and the one below may help.

http://www.dressaday.com/dressaday.html

I just like to look at the pretty dresses!

I'm thisclose to picking up a patter and trying to sew a simple skirt. Goodness knows I have the fabric! (I quilt, yes, but only to support my habit of fabric collecting!)

. said...

I love that you posted about this today... I have always wanted to be sew handy! Two years ago, I got a sewing machine for my birthday. I attempted to make a quilted wall hanging. I was so proud of it, but I tell you quilters would have laughed at me. I don't think there were any two triangles alike ;) With all this being said, I just asked my mother last night if I could bring my machine over and have her help me. For some reason I am afraid of sewing machines!!! Good luck in your sewing adventures! Be sure to post pics of your first project. ( I plan to do the same!)

magda said...

yay for sewing! i love it, and i love that more and more people are picking it up, increasing the availiablity of great patterns, fabrics, etc. i like to think that sewing is undergoing a renaissance, like knitting did. tho i guess you can't really lug the singer down to the coffee shop...

Christy said...

I do sew clothes for myself and my son. Shorts and pants are really easy if you use elastic for the waistband. I've found shirts to be a little trickier, getting those sleeves on can be a bear! I took a sewing class at JoAnn's Fabrics and would recommend taking a class if you are new to it. It was very helpful. I'm making a skirt for myself right now.

I'd recommend the book Sew What Skirts for getting skirts that fit. It teaches you how to take your measurements and then make your own patterns from there.

GreenChick said...

I have not started sewing yet, but I have learned to crochet. I'm making some hats and scarves for holiday gifts. Good thing I am starting early, I'm a bit slow. The New York Times just did an article on the lost art of sewing, crocheting and knitting, "The Knitting Circle Shows its Chic."

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/07/12/fashion/12NEEDLES.html?pagewanted=all

At first my boyfriend thought I was a bit crazy, now he thinks it's kind of cool, but I'm used to that!

nichole said...

nuh-uh! There must be something in the overcast air today! I just found and posted today about sewing classes being hosted by Sustainable Ballard! There's a basics class and a 'recycouture' class (that I think I'm going to take!).

Here's the link. There's an informational meeting on the 23rd. Maybe I'll see you there!

Crunchy Chicken said...

Dang, nichole, I wish I could go but it's from 2 - 4. Doesn't anyone work around here?

nichole said...

I was hoping you had a sugar daddy and didn't have to work.

If you need help getting started, let me know. As long as it doesn't have a zipper....damn zippers.

emily said...

I keep intending to start sewing, too, since I know how already. I imagine that wrap skirts would be very easy, and then they would be wearable no matter how my weight fluctuates (my husband and I are thinking about having kids in a couple years).

Making quilts is hard; it's worth it to pay someone else to do the filler and backing if it's not your number-one hobby. But when I was growing up, not a single member of my extended family every had to buy a blanket or comforter. My grandmother made about 2 or 3 quilts per year and had us (literally) covered. She made them from the scraps of cloth that were left over when making all her own clothing, and pj's for my grandfather. Know what's even better? You can recycle crummy old blankets by using them to fill a quilt, or just re-cover an old, worn quilt with a new outside.

I'm eager to hear how the sewing turns out!

RC said...

Without generalizing too much, I am sure in the local immigrant communities you will find prodigious skills in the needle trades and a good way to find a mentor would be to start hanging in the fabric stores they hang in and try to spend some time with them in their sewing rooms.
They hold all the "lost" secrets. I learned from my grandmother {an immigrant from Lithuania} on a foot treadle machine in the 1950s. Now there is some low impacting for you.

jenny mae. said...

im so glad that you wrote this! i struggle to find clothes that fit my 34 inch inseamed self as well. AND im also going to attempt sewing this year for the first time. any recommendations on a machine for newbies?

nichole said...

Jenny, I just have a Brother VS-1500. I think it was a Walmart special for like a hundred bucks or something (Mom got my sister and me each one one year). Sis went straight to making quilts after having NO sewing experience whatsoever. She used this machine for a few years until she outgrew it. I'm still using mine. I just posted a picture on my blog of a dress mid-construction from this past Feb. so it works fine.

Eva said...

Wow!!! Sewing, good for you! I tried about 6 yrs ago, and failed miserably. I was so frustrated with my sewing abilities... and all I did was make curtains! HA! Maybe one of these days I'll be brave and take my old sewing machine out of it's box. (sign)

Nichole... I wish I could join you in Ballard! Sounds like fun. I'm in S. Seattle, AND... I have a Suga Daddy!! Now, if only he would hire a nanny. =)

Christy said...

I've got the $70 Brother. It has no bells or whistles but it works great for basic sewing.

EPM said...

Here's a link to a blog that I review - she just finished a wrap skirt and has all the details:

http://janelmessenger.blogspot.com/2007/06/wrap-it-up-skirt-pattern.html

Susanne said...

This is a little creepy, I have a new sewing machine too. My birthday is next week, but I ordered it early...

There's a dress pattern sitting in my drawer that's mocking me. I hope that I can alter it to my actual measurements without having a nervous breakdown. For now I have been practicing by making bags.

And I have this feeling that there are myriads of sewing blogs out there.

Anonymous said...

I don't sew 'real' clothes. I have a 20 year old Kenmore basic machine that is a faithful tool. I have mended jeans, shorts, shirts and have redone seams on comforters and blankets to keep them in good use and have made curtains from sheets. It has saved me a lot of money over time and has kept things in repair instead of being thrown out....sue

knitterwifemom said...

I love sewing, although I don't do it much. I adore sewing for my kids, though, because they don't care if the seams are perfect!

Since you have issues with fit, here is a place you can buy patterns based on your measurements: http://www.sewingpatterns.com/click2print-leka.html

I haven't actually used them, so I can't vouch for them, but you can print them from home, too.

Enjoy sewing!

nichole said...

For those of you just starting: keep in mind that you are, hopefully, starting with easier patterns. As you get more practice you can move onto brands like Vogue who have more pieces. More pieces=better fit.

I just redid a skirt that has been in my bag-to-go-to-goodwill for months and I'm really excited about it! Just needs some finishing touches and then I'll share! yay!

Jenna said...

I've sewn for myself for years... due in huge part to the fact my mom must have been slugging back the prenatal vitamins all those years ago. 6'1-ish isn't the best height for buying clothes at the mall. Toss in a chest better suited to a valkerie then todays styles, I've had to learn to adapt.

One really wonderful pattern (check Jo-Ann's, they have 1.99 sales all the time on patterns) is Simplicity 5508. I've practically chucked jeans for good due to this wrap pants pattern. Easy to adapt to whatever length you need, its a great starter project. I think I must own 6 pair now.

The one piece of sewing advice, and I can see all the people who have been hesitating on starting is this.

It's not a big deal. Honest. Pick up some $1 a yard fabric that you can see yourself wearing - simple cotton in a cheerful print, turn on the radio, and just go with it. It takes time to become skilled, but just about anyone can learn. Don't tense up, and don't make it a huge thing in your head.

Christy's suggestion of the Sew What Skirts book is a good one. I've made most of the patterns in it, and once you've mastered the basics, anything is open to you. (Heck... you ever get stuck, drop me a line. I'll help if I can.)

One last thing to keep in mind. START SIMPLE. If you just make yourself a pair of wrap pants to begin (1 curve and the rest is hemming) you're much more likely to enjoy yourself then if you try and tackle some such project like a silk ballgown out of vogue. My gran sewed for 80 years and she still avoided that pattern line like the plague!

Good luck!

Activist Mommy said...

I have a great machine and serger that I scored off of freecycle, but no time to sew. And no space either. I'm hoping that once the kids are a bit older I can get a little sewing donw without them underfoot, unplugging me, or messing it up. LOL

I learned to sew as a little girl. My grandmother is very old fashioned and insists that all girls need to know how to sew, cook, and clean.

Christy said...

Jenna, that is a great pattern! I looked it up on the Simplicity page. I'm going to see if I can get it, I love the pants and the hat. And even the shirt doesn't look too hard, I like the shorter billowy sleeves.

Sara said...

I love to sew, quilt, and make my own soap. There realyl aren't a lot of people who can do this, especially as young as I am.

Crunchy Chicken said...

Hey, people! I finished my first skirt last night. As a few other people recommended I have the Sew What Skirts book that I used. I'll post pictures tomorrow! That is, if it didn't come apart in the washing machine overnight...

RC said...

We hope you will be modeling your creation, Crunchy.

Laura said...

MAKE ME A QUILT WOMAN!

I have always wanted a quilt. Errrr...wanted to MAKE a quilt. Perhaps a sewing machine is in order.

Paula said...

I just found your blog recently and I'm so glad I did. This post was really timely for me. I've been knitting and crocheting for a couple of years (my current project is a crochet blanket for my daughter's new bed). I've always toyed with sewing in the back of my mind, but I just never got up the nerve to actually try it. We have a Singer sewing table that was my husband's grandmother. It's beautiful and it actually still works. My first project is going to be super easy - curtains for the kids. Who knows - then maybe replace the curtains in the other rooms that have been there since we bought the house over 10 years ago (they belonged to the previous owners). If that all works out well - maybe some clothes.

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