Tuesday, November 27, 2007

my memoirs: how I learned to sew

I got an email from my friend natalie who asked me about sewing. For no good reason at all, here's a bit about me and how I learned to sew:

I learned how to sew from my birth-mom. She was a seamstress part-time and she also made clothes for me and my dolls for fun. I believe my brother was also the recipient of a boy teddy bear, but I was the target of most of her non-work sewing. I now realize the advantage of sewing for smaller bodies and how fun it is to sew girlie stuff. That mom, she knew what she was doing.

I remember sneaking a needle and some thread from her sewing box at really young age and trying it out on some kleenex. It was pretty impressive to see two previously separate entities being attached to make them into one. I was hooked.

I wasn't allowed to touch the sewing machine so I hand-sewed for most of my life. I think I was most productive during middle school cause I was a little too old to be playing with dolls, but got around it by making clothes for them. What? I'm not playing with Barbies. I'm pretending to be a fashion designer. If memory serves me well, I have some pretty cool articles of Barbie haute couture (at its haute-est) somewhere in my parent's garage. I should dig them out one day and photograph them for posterity or something.

Somewhere I discouraged myself from pursuing fashion design cause I didn't think I was original enough with my designs. I think I was 13 when I came to this conclusion. What can I say? High fashion's a tough gig. Even a 13 year old gets that.

Anyways, I'm not the most adept machine sewer. I'm only a decent hand-sewer because I've done it for so long, but I don't know the names of any of the stitches or if I'm doing them properly or not. Same with me and knitting. Though I've heard that there really is no "wrong way" to knit. I wonder if it's the same with sewing? I'm interested in garment sewing these days and have made a few passes at it. Again, I have no idea what I'm doing, but I feel like I have an understanding of how a skirt or a jacket is put together. It just sort of makes sense to me. For machine sewing I've been cruising sewing and craft blogs or websites trying to teach myself when I get stuck. Probably I should take a proper class to learn some tricks to make my machine sewing easier and um, tricker? I guess? But other craft needs have demanded my attention.

I did pick up a book that I think has been very helpful for garment sewing. It's Wendy Mullen's "Sew U." She's the designer behind the Built By Wendy line. She also has a small line of patterns through Simplicity that I've been thinking about picking up. Anyways, the book is pretty useful and though I have yet to make anything from it (it comes with a free pattern for a basic skirt, shirt and pants which she gives you tips and ideas on how to change up with trims and stuff) I enjoyed reading it and learning from her.

Another book that I've heard great things about is Amy Karol's "Bend the Rules Sewing." She's got a blog that I faithfully follow (I read like a lot of blogs. Like a Lot.) and though I've not read her book, I would bet that it's very very good. It's gotten good reviews and it's about more general sewing rather than being exclusive to clothing.

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