Saturday, August 22, 2009

Sew fun!

Last week I received a sewing machine for my birthday - so exciting!! There are so many things I've wanted to do, but because I had no sewing machine, couldn't. So now I'm really looking forward to getting into the sewing groove.
The last time I really sewed anything was in the early 1990's when I was in 7th grade Home Ec. For some reason my teacher approved my dorky idea to sew a jumper. All the other girls were making scrunchies and boxer shorts (back then it was cool in CA for girls to wear guys boxer shorts as shorts, go figure) - easy projects. I ended up getting a C+ because my hem was totally asymmetrical and the gathers were wadded up in clumps along the waistband. After that, I was done with sewing. But starting 4 years ago things like Amy Butler stuff, and Joel Dewberry fabric, and people making cool stuff like this, this, and this were crossing my radar and making me reconsider.
So I found this 1981 Reader's Digest Guide to Sewing book (this book is a post in itself, what a riot!) in a giveaway pile before we left the US and swore I'd learn to sew when we moved to Germany. Two years later I finally have a machine! I'm done with jumpers - in more ways than one - and knew I needed to start with something simple. So I used a free pattern online from Spool, available here, to make a sewing machine cozy. (I considered this cover, but was scared of the curve at the top. In hindsight, it probably would have been much easier with far fewer ratty/clumpy seams!)
My beginner-ness is apparent.
The seams inside look like Frankenstein's face,
the corners are far from perfect:

and upon close examination of the bottom hem you think, 'Bastelproject' (craft project, kiddie style).
BUT Ich habe es selbst gemacht! I did it myself!

Thankfully the machine's instructions were in both English and German. But the illustrations were pretty crummy and a few times I panicked knowing that if I couldn't figure it out with my recollections of 7th grade Home Ec or the 1981 Reader's Digest guide, I was going to have to wait a week to hunt down somebody who could explain it to me. Stefan could read the German, but he'd be even more clueless than me!
In the process of doing this project I was reminded that I need to go out and buy a few more basic sewing supplies. I did this project with just scissors, a few straight pins I found, and a measuring tape. Thankfully I had a few spools of thread lying around. I had to do all my markings using a regular pencil and holding the measuring tape against the fabric! I could've waited, but I REALLY wanted to do a project right away! =)

However, all's well that ends well here in the land of novice sewers. No more off-gassing PVC plastic cover for my sewing machine! I channeled Scarlett O'Hara and the Sound of Music and used curtain remnants to make a machine cozy that matches the rug in my office.
I'm looking forward to more projects. I'm trying to keep it simple and do things that aren't complicated or involve too many directions. I figure if I can accomplish a bunch of simple things it will encourage me to keep going and eventually try more difficult things. Yay!


travelingmama said...

I can totally sympathize! I suck at sewing! LOL! BUT I'm trying and learning as I go. I think I'm going to take some sewing classes when we are in the States because I could use some HELP! Your project looks great and just keep going!
Best wishes from Morocco!

Pen and View said...

I'm sure you have discovered by now Amy Karol's website and her blog angrychicken??? If not, please check her out. She even has a flickr site devoted to her fans sharing what they've sewn from her patterns and books. I LOVE her blog...
Enjoy your new machine. I have one too that is a couple of years old and used to sew a ton for a boutique I held every Christmas holiday. Alas, it is sat alone for the last year. :( Inspire me girl!!!!!

Katie @ said...

My birthday was this last week, too... and guess what I got. A SEWING MACHINE!! It just became my new piece of checked luggage.

Have you ever heard of the fabric markets? I really want to discover some in Germany. They sound amazing.

Have fun playing! Something tells me that's what you've been doing all weekend. :)

juliette said...

T - I'll have to check her blog out, it's been awhile. I could use some more inspiration =)

K - no way! you're way braver than me, checking that as luggage! I have heard of the fabric markets...I need to look into that some more, Holly once posted a link on it, have to do a search...

TM- I could definitely use a sewing class, too. I think I'd even take the leap and take one in German if I can find one!

Andrew said...

Hey, who knows? You might find a really cool stirrup pants pattern from the 1980's guide to sewing book. Or a rockin' pair of skinny leg jeans! :)

Allison said...

Yay! I'm glad you had a successful first project! Many people make the mistake of starting with difficult projects and then end up throwing in the towel because they are only frustrated. You get better the more you do it, but isn't that with everything?

My mom, who was a Home Economics teacher, taught me to sew and the two most important rules she gave me have nothing to do with the actual sewing, but I have found that it makes a huge difference in the outcome. She told me #1 Take your time cutting... if you have straight fabric, it goes together straight. #2 Iron, iron, IRON all your seams. I always hated this because it took too much time when all I really wanted to do was sew, but trust me, it makes a huge difference in the way a project turns out. Looking forward to seeing your next project.

P.S. Let me know if you end up with any more "unidentified objects" on the machine that you don't know what do with.

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