It’s quite odd that I don’t know how to sew. My great-grandmother was an accomplished seamstress, having sewn all the clothing for her three children. My grandmother did one better and not only learned to sew but also studied fashion design. My mother also made some of her own clothes including all her maternity dresses – Vogue patterns no less.
I started off promising at nine-years-old with a small sewing machine of my own, but I could never get the bobbin to work right. Later I learned how to hand sew in a quilting class and I’ve always appreciated having that skill. But in my generation, sewing was not important. Mom was working so she didn’t have time to teach me and home economics in school was a thing of the past. My interest faded and that was that.
Until now. Since I write about fashion, I want to understand the basics of clothing construction. So I recently took a beginner sewing class at Stone Mountain and Daughter with Alice Elliot. Oh boy it was a challenge, but fun and satisfying. I chose to make a kimono-style robe from Kwik Sew – a company known for their simple-to-use patterns.
The whole process is a bit of a blur but my approach was to take it one step at a time and follow the instructions, which often made no sense to me (simple-to-use is relative). Luckily, Alice saved me several times from messing up.
Some of the unexpected things I learned:
- a lot of time is spent not sewing
- cutting the pattern, pinning and then cutting the fabric is slow work
- patience is required
- ironing is involved
- I thought the sleeves were going to be the hardest part, but it was the neckline that caused the most stress because sewing a curve is hard as hell
- time and space are required
- if you’re not in a good mood or otherwise feeling off, don’t sit down at the machine … go have a drink instead
- sewing is a bit like putting puzzle pieces together except you are also making the pieces
My creation is not perfect but darn close. I look at it and think: My gosh, did I really make that? Can I do it again? Sure I can. A friend has kindly given me her extra sewing machine (thanks, Sara) and away I go …