Tuesday, March 1, 2011

"Sew" Exciting!

My mother is quite an accomplished seamstress. Over the years, she has made clothing for my stuffed animals, outfits for my school days, prom dresses for my sister and I, receiving blankets for my babies—sewing for every stage of my life. You would think I would have sewing in my blood.

She has been offering to teach me to use a sewing machine for at least twenty years now, but time and again, I have declined her offers. At first, I just wasn’t interested in making clothes (pretty much all that I could imagine using a sewing machine for, at first). Then, I was convinced that I would never be able to learn how to wind the bobbin and thread the thing!

I only get to see my mother a few times a year, so when she comes to visit, she always get a large dose of “show and tell”: what projects have I been working on, what craft books and magazines have I been reading, what ideas do I have for things I might like to do. More and more we talked about the possibilities for sewing as a part of my paper crafting. Many of the projects and ideas I showed her just wouldn’t be possible without a sewing machine. She decided it was time to get me one as a gift, and settle my threading worries once and for all.

Yesterday was the big day. We packed the girls into the stroller and headed for Jo Ann’s. She left me with the sewing machine salesperson to try out a couple of machines, while she walked the girls around and tried to stem the tide of mayhem they were beginning to visit on the store. By the time I chose my Singer Curvy model, the girls were climbing off designated chairs and grabbing spools of thread off the display—not their usual behavior, but we were asking a lot of them to spend so much time in one spot. Mom made sure I left with a storage case, bobbins, thread, and other necessities for practicing my new craft.

We left the sewing machine in its box until the next day. For starters, the girls wore me out yesterday, and I wasn’t up to the challenge of checking out my new machine until a good night’s rest. Second, and perhaps more importantly, we forgot to buy any fabric to practice on! We headed back to Jo Ann’s this morning, and I waited in the car with the girls while my mom ran in for some practice yardage.

Once it was naptime, I was ready to try out my new “toy”. And oh what fun! A bobbin I could actually wind, a machine I could actually thread, thirty-five stitches to play with. Here I am getting started with my first practice session (a little too dark to see clearly!):

And here are some of my first stitches, as I got used to what my machine can do:

And here is my patient and enthusiastic teacher, my mom:

I feel like another whole world of art and crafting possibilities has opened up to me. I feel like I understand so many more of the projects I see featured on blogs and in Somerset Studio and Cloth Paper Scissors publications because I’ve made some of those stitches myself. Now I can pull out whole file folders of projects I squirreled away, thinking that maybe someday I’d get around to learning how to use a sewing machine. That day has arrived, and I’m “sew excited” to see what new directions it will take me in!


Genie said...

Andria, you are going to love having a sewing machine - especially with 2 little girls! Just think of all the pretty things you can make them. I've always been glad that I was able to help Valerie learn to sew. Even if you don't get into making dresses, it is nice to be able to mend things with the machine. Don't ever quit learning new things - it keeps you young!

Hugs, Genie

Jennifer Ward said...

Oh Andria! I'm so...scratch that...sew jealous! My machine is nearly 13 years old with not near the number of stitch choices you have.

You are going to LOVE sewing. There is something so (almost wrote sew there) rewarding about making clothing and toys for your loved ones, a sense of accomplishment and joy that can't be beat. And, I've got a couple of great books with patterns and tutorials for making your own children's clothes with lots of stuff for girls - everything from pillow case dresses to smocked blouses. SEW cute!