A new series is introduced on the blog today, as I start to get more serious about sewing.
Although my grandmother is a retired seamstress, and made me some things when I was small I don’t recall having much interest in sewing myself until much more recently.
I certainly didn’t enjoy ‘Textiles’, as it was called at school – largely because we only had one hour-and-twenty-minute lesson a fortnight, the projects were sometimes uninspiring (miniature jackets as covers for water bottles), there were weeks of paperwork to do before we got making, and when we did, there were never enough sewing machines to go round. In addition, my part-finished projects mysteriously disappeared from the classroom cupboard in two out of the three years I did Textiles.
The first time, I stayed up late tie-dying fabric with food colouring and hand stitching a drawstring bag to submit with all my paperwork. The second time, I wrote off the half-made fleece bottle-jacket as lost and gave up.
Nonetheless, in recent years I’ve become more interested in making my own clothes, largely due to the lack of items in shops that I really want to buy, and the fact that the modern sewing boom has led to the production of more patterns, with the vintage styles I often prefer being offered by both new and established pattern companies.
I wrote recently about my trip to Liberty last month, where I picked up a couple of sewing accessories – haberdashery departments everywhere are full of useful and beautiful-looking tools, but for now I’m trying to keep my kit to a minimum while I work out what I need most.
I spent some time choosing between all the different variations in patterns and products, but eventually settled on the Betsy Print Needle Case and the Mauverina Tape Measure.
When you’re starting a new project, it’s often, I think, the little things – the fripperies, if you will – that can help to keep the process and learning curve fun, to separate it from previous bad or boring experiences, and to get you in the right frame of mind.
It’s just like writing on the first page of a notebook at the start of the school year with a brand new pen.