Sew Much Better!

One of my New Year's Resolutions (if you can call them that) was to finish several sewing projects that I had started a while ago (some of them were started a very long while ago) and by doing so to reduce the amount of fabric I have that just sits about patiently waiting on me and cluttering up my sewing space while it waits.

I have made a really good start on this.  Since January I have made two pairs of trousers, two men's shirts and two jersey dresses.  These were all projects that had been waiting for some time with brand new fabric bought especially for them.

I also altered a few things.  A man's shirt sleeve taken up so that it fits me.  A not very flattering dress made into a much more wearable summer skirt.  Another summer skirt made from an old cotton sarong and a further two old dresses made into summer tank tops.

This back to back sewing has highlighted my strengths and weaknesses when it comes to dressmaking.  a lot of the art of making clothes is simply practice and since fabric is no longer cheap these days we often don't get as much practice as we would like.  Secondly, a disappointing outcome can often lead to leaving the sewing machine to gather dust for a long long time.

So.  Here is a little bit of advice from granny about your sewing efforts.

1.  If your project does not turn out to fit exactly as you wanted it to... do not assume that your sewing is rubbish and that you had better find a new hobby.  Because... mostly we learn to sew.  We don't learn to pattern fit.  The patterns you buy are generic, people's bodies are not.  There is a lot of info on the web about pattern fitting.

2.  If you are not very experienced at sewing buy the best pattern you can afford.  Not all patterns are the same.  The instructions and diagrams tend to be better on the better quality patterns.  If you don't understand the terminology, look it up on the web.

3.  The first time you use a new pattern make a toile.  A toile is a mock up of your outfit in cheap fabric.  You don't finish the seams or put in zips or anything like that.  You try it on inside out and then make adjustments to the fit.  Then change your pattern so that it matches the toile.  I knew about doing this years and years ago but was always too lazy/impatient to do it.  Oh how much fabric, time and tears I could have saved if I had just followed this advice.

4.  Your iron and ironing board are your best friend.  Couture seamstresses spend more time at the ironing board than they do at the sewing machine.

When I was younger sewing was often quite a fraught affair.  Snatched moments away from the children and demands of every day life with timescales and deadlines that made the actual sewing frantic and often the results reflected this.  Now that I am older and I have time to devote to all of the things I enjoy doing I am discovering not just how good my sewing can be but also how to enjoy every moment.

It doesn't really matter what the hobby is, but devoting all your attention to making every bit of it as perfect as you can with no thought to how long it takes or what else is waiting impatiently for you to finish is very much a Zen like experience.  Loving It!

And of course since I am only human, nothing turns out perfect but most certainly good enough to be proud of.  The downside is that I now have too many clothes.  Yep you heard me.  Too many clothes!  We have limited wardrobe space here and summer clothes are put away to make room for winter clobber and vice versa as the seasons change.  I have too many winter outfits that are not exactly finca friendly so I think I need to stop there.

Ah... but I can still sew gifts for family and friends!  The joy need never end!


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