Sunday, July 1, 2012

Seam Allowance

Ring pincushion made by my mom!
I got my first sewing machine about 13 years ago after a demoralizing trip to the mall. I was shopping for clothes and as I went from store to store I realized that everything looked the same, nothing was particularly well-made, nor did it fit me properly, and the ethics of clothing industry were pretty terrible. That was it, I was going to get a sewing machine and make my own clothes.

I was pretty much starting from scratch so I took classes at first for the basics. I made purses, bathrobes, pajama bottoms, and inexplicably several pillows that were faux fur on one side and satin on the other. I moved on from there and started coming up with my own bag patterns. I made a pair of pants. I made lots of skirts (both with elastic waists and zippers). I made a couple of dresses. In short, I was pretty good at sewing, but never felt like I was.

When I thought of sewing I thought of mistakes, swearing, and the awful tension problems of my original machine. At the time, resources on the internet were not what they are today, so there were fewer places to turn in my frustration. Instead of working through the frustration I would stop sewing. When I would come back to sewing I would have to restart my learning.

This time I am having to relearn, but I feel less frustrated by my mistakes. I take a lot of deep breaths and pick up the seam ripper. After years of knitting, I realize that I even with the mistakes that I make sewing still moves faster and how fast do I need to get stuff done. This is what I do as a hobby!

That said, I am ready to take this hobby and make a commitment. I am coming back to the original intention of why I learned to sew and have joined the Seam Allowance pledge to make at least 25% of my wardrobe. I have some ideas about what that means to me and will explore that more on this blog. Today I went to the kick-off party for Seam Allowance and was excited to see how many people had signed on. It was also fun to see how many people there had not taken the pledge, but were definitely toying with it, asking questions, shopping for fabric.


  1. So inspiring! I can't wait to see what you come up with.

  2. I heard about your sewing blog on Stash n Burn and wanted to be sure to make a comment. Nicole, you inspire me in knitting all the time with the projects you take on and finish. Now, you are inspiring me with your sewing. I bought a really nice used Husqvarna machine from my LFS (assume it's Local Fabric Store) and swore that I would learn to sew again (nothing since a navy blue corduroy vest in 7th grade and I am in my mid-40's now). That was over a year ago and the machine still sits in the box. You have inspired me to at least pull it out and start with a cute drawstring project bag.

  3. I'm really looking forward to your project posts!! After baby #2 arrives (which should be in only a few weeks), I'm hoping to start making more of my own clothes. My skills are not advanced enough at this point to take on the Seam Allowance challenge, but you've got me thinking that it could be a reasonable goal within the next few years.
    Anyway, I love hearing about your sewing on S&B along with all the knitting talk so keep it coming!!

  4. Good for you! That sounds like a fun goal, both the process and the product(s).