Wednesday, November 4, 2009

To sew or not to sew

That is the question. I've been spending a lot of time thinking about doing some sewing. Specifically about making some garments, either vintage or modern. I've been reading some fabulous sewing blogs and am inspired (especially inspired by Gertie's New Blog for Better Sewing). But there is one tiny problem. I have a confession to make. I'm scared of modern sewing.

Yes, I know, I've been doing medieval costuming for a while and while I can happily pattern a cotehardie from scratch, create beautiful hand sewn eyelets, fell seams, hem invisibly etc.. I am paralysed when presented with paper patterns, zippers, fusible webbing, and other things associated with sewing anytime in the past century. Even the language confuses me. I'm sure I probably know how to do some of the techniques, I just don't know them by the that name.

For my birthday this year, a lovely friend gave me a pattern for a basic suit (jacket, pants, skirt, and cami top) along with some suiting fabric.
About a week ago I decided to get out the pattern and fabric. I opened the pattern and started reading the instructions. It was like it was in another language. So I folded it back up and put it back in the envelope. I did manage to wash the fabric, which was about the only step in the process that was familiar. Since then I've been staring at the pattern envelope on the sewing table each time I go past it. It's like I'm hoping that if I stare at it for long enough it will suddenly become more comprehensible.

Today I decided it was time to put on my big girl panties and admit I have no idea what I'm doing and get some help. I went into Hobbysew and asked the lovely ladies for a good beginner's sewing book and came away with Simplicity's Simply the Best Sewing book, which appears to have information on most of the standard techniques, with diagrams.

I got it home, made a cup of tea, and started to have a flick through. After deciding that I didn't feel any more reassured, I figured it was time to wander out in the drizzle (cup of tea in hand) to retrieve my mail before it got completely sodden. It was then that I received a Sign. There was something on the road in front of our driveway. I thought it was junk mail that had blown onto the road, so went to retrieve it. It was not junk mail. It was this:
It's a pattern for a child's knit tops, slacks and shorts. I'd guess maybe an 80's vintage and rather well loved judging by the tape around the edges. Looks like it had also been run over at least once. The paper pattern was inside the envelope and in good condition (though a tad damp). I've got it and the instruction booklet drying in the lounge room.

While children's clothing was not really on my "to make" list, I take the random arrival of a pattern on my doorstep as a sign that I am to give this modern sewing thing a go. No more excuses, no more trepidation. Just get stuck in and learn as I go. First, though, I'm going to need another cup of tea.


Mayela said...

Couple of things -
1. if you do get in to the 'vintage clothes' sewing escapade, Baggy Pants/ Helene knows someone wanting to start an at home business making and selling vintage style clothes, perhaps that could be an option for you to participate in.

2. I've sewn from one paper pattern and after (many) cups of tea, I did in fact figure it out (as CPD would know since he ironed about 6m of the fabric for the huge amounts of shirts I was in fact making). I'd be happy to give you a hand if I can coordinate coming down for some time - might be a good way to get myself back in to sewing too.

Denise said...

I'm actually not bad at modern sewing. Give me a yell if you need help.

Ant Queen said...

Thank you ladies :) I think a large part of the problem is that I'm coming at modern sewing from a different direction to how I approach period sewing. I need to recalibrate.

As someone else mentioned to me recently, it will make more sense once I have actual pieces of fabric cut into shapes.