Subversive Sewer

{January 11, 2009}   My Sewing Backstory

Lindsay T posted a blog about her “sewing backstory,” meaning how and when you started sewing, who taught you, etc.  I’ve been a lazy blogger lately, so an “assigned” topic is just what I needed.

I sewed for the first time at 11, when I used my mom’s scraps to make little unlined purses for classmates.  Unfortunately, I sewed through my thumb, which I took as a sign that I shouldn’t sew for a while.

The next time I sewed was at 17, when I took a fashion and design class in high school.  I made an elastic waist skirt (with 2 rows of elastic- why??) and pockets.  I used purple cotton with gold moons and stars on it.  I still have it, but it’s WAY too small!  However, the teacher was so meticulous about everything being done exactly as the instructions dictated, that I vowed never to sew again.  I did get an A, though.

When I was 20, I went to Joann’s with my mom and her coworker for the hell of it.  They were picking out fabric to make a quilt.  I was so inspired by all the fabrics (At Joann?? I know, right?) that I wanted to make clothes.  I started with a New Look wrap skirt made from red poly/cotton broadcloth from Wal Mart.  My mom taught me how to use the machine and suggested I fold over fabric twice for the hem.  I really should have gotten a book!  I knew nothing about seam finishing and learned the hard way when I made a denim skirt.  Some of my other first projects were halter tops, a corset (didn’t know that I didn’t know enough), white pants for my health care job, suedecloth skirts, and various hootchie garments.

I got my own machine for my birthday a year and a half later, and continued to sew like a madwoman.  I learned how to watch for sales at Joann’s and later Hancocks.  I continued to buy cheapo fabric, since I inherited the cheapskate gene from my mom.  And I never paid more than 3 bucks for a pattern!  By 22, my stash of fabric, patterns and notions was just insane and continued like this for a few years.  At about 25, I got my needle and thread tattoo.  By that time I was quite sure this would be a lifelong hobby and thus would not regret the tattoo.  Six years later, I want to add more sewing tools to accompany the needle and thread.

In 2003, I graduated from college and decided after taking a costume history class that I wanted to give the Professional Theater Training Program a try.  I managed to wow them with my garments that would be right at home in the junior’s section (their words) and was accepted into the theater costuming program.  However, between being sick (thanks to my first trimester of pregnancy) and realizing that I don’t like sewing when it’s a job or assignment, I dropped out about 3 weeks into it.

Now it’s 2009, and I have a 4 year old daughter.  She observes as I make clothes for myself and occasionally her, curtains, pillows, accessories, and anything else that interests me.  She says when she gets older she’d like a Mickey Mouse sewing machine like the one she saw at Wal Mart.  I am thrilled!


Lindsay T says:

I loved reading your back story! Good luck with your daughter wanting to sew—my 16-yr-old DD refuses to sew at all, though she likes me to make things for her.

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