2010-10-16: Handmade Wardrobe: Introduction

In which I attempt to do battle with my sewing demons.

Sewing and I are not friends. We are nervous allies that occasionally nearly come to blows. My mom taught me the basics of sewing and using a sewing machine many years ago, after which I proceeded to remain fairly neurotic about actually sewing real things for myself.

This mainly is because sewing requires attention to detail, patience, and dilligence. These are things that I suck at, in general.

But my mom spent a lot of hours sewing clothes for me when I was growing up, and I always appreciated having handmande clothes. I could pick out any pattern I wanted, and any material, and show up at school wearing something totally unique. (For which I would get mercilessly teased, but that never deterred me, since I got mercilessly teased about other things anyway.)

Clothes shopping and I have an even worse relationship. Shopping I associate with people everywhere, usually directly blocking where I want to go. I associate it with shops where I feel embarrassed and unwelcome and not cool enough to be a customer. I associate it with trying to find something I like and completely failing, because it either doesn't exist or is two sizes to small for me. Shopping I associate with finally bringing home something I like, for a reasonable price, and having it fall apart on me six months later because it was poorly made.

I finally got to the point where I pretty much have decided to pick sewing over clothes shopping. My eventual goal is to have the majority of my wardrobe handmade either by myself or someone else (with likely exceptions for specialised clothing like sailing gear, and I have no idea how I'd tackle shoes).

So it was synchronicity that I spotted this great guest post over on Whip Up by a woman who had pretty much already done the same thing not only for herself, but for her entire family as well! What a great piece of inspiration to rally me onward.

My primary tool thus far into my sewing foray has been the very approachable Sew U by Wendy Mullin. Even though I know how to sew hems and seems, this book has really broken down garment construction into clear, digestible steps and has provided several useful tips for me that have made my first steps a bit less painful (although there have still been tantraums). I have already made a skirt from the basic pattern & instructions in this book, and am starting on a shirt.

My job has unfortunately been taking up a lot of spare energy and time this year, but I hope that things will slow down after the holidays arrive, at which time I'll be able to really swing into full gear with my new obsession. And hopefully be able to blog about it with photos, too.

As for my old obsessions, handknits and crocheted items are very much on the list to be part of my future wardrobe, so those skills should not end up too atrophied either.

So, sewing, what do you say? Shall we have a go?

Awesome! I got a sewing machine as a gift last Christmas and I haven't used it once yet. Can't wait to see what you make :)

Reecie charisseapril@gmail.com 17 Oct 2010

Thanks, Reecie! My beginner clothes are a little on the boring side, but I'm still pleased with them. I'll try and get a photo of the skirt posted up soon.

ARJ roceal@jngm.net 18 Oct 2010