My first sewing project that I remember is a patchwork quilt that my babysitter, Mme Lefevbre, taught me to sew using a needle (yes, an actual sharp needle, people!), real scissors (yes, sharp fabric scissors!), sitting next to me on her sofa with Passe-Partout playing on TVO in the background. She was a seamstress and I loved watching her sew at her machine that was nestled between the dining room table and the living room couch.
My mom let me loose on her Kenmore at home. At age 4, she helped me select a pattern that included a ruffled apron and potholders which I sewed up for my aunt as a Christmas present that year. I still have a small swatch of the Santa Clause fabric from that project. Perhaps it will get patched into a crazy quilt, one of those projects that I’m sure I’ll get around to soon (you know how it is…)
From there, I designed clothes for my Barbies, as any Barbie owning sewing enthusiast was want to do using both hand stitching and the machine. Those sleeves are really tiny, but I did manage to set a puffed sleeve in a med-evil style gown that I was especially proud off!
And I was the only university student that I knew off who bought a sewing machine, which was a metal Janome machine. My first project on it was the a summer dress from a cotton poly seersucker in a lime green with yellow flowers. I wore that dress with pride, despite being befuddled by sizing issues (but I followed the pattern so why doesn’t it fit???). The bigger issue is that the color and design seemed to attract flying stinging yellow and black insects of various genera which was not conducive to long, quiet walks in the park. Yes, I still have a swatch of that fabric too.
For the longest time, I refused to tackle garment sewing and instead directed my energies towards curtains, bedding with piped edging, recovering tattered IKEA POANG chairs, cushions, and the like. You didn’t need to fuss with fitting those.
With the advent of babies, I got into sewing cloth diapers based on various designs I found on the internet, odd looking carriers, a fantastic sling, fitted crib sheets, and many burp cloths on which I tried out various decorative stitches. It was those burp cloths that gave me a change to perfect mitered corners.
As my babies grew up – I can hardly believe that they are on the verge of being teenagers – I drafted pjs for them with various amounts of success, lots of pillow case nighties which are now popular with my youngest niece, hats, neck warmers and various items of shapeless clothing.
More recently, my son has been fascinated by historic military costume so there has been a Napolean costume and a British red coat soldier. My daughter wanted to be a hot dog. The bun nearly drove me crazy!!! But I did it.
I decided ultimately though that if I was going to spend all this time sewing, I was going to start sewing for me. Which meant clothes. In beautiful fabrics. And they had to fit. So I had to learn how to alter patterns and perfect fit. Still learning that!!!! The sloper development work is ongoing. Did I expect it to take 6 months for a bodice sloper? That I am still tweaking? Nope. But, I *think* it’s worthwhile. I have a few clothes that I’ve sewn that I am really pleased with and a few that remind me of that green dress. But nothing beats the satisfaction of wearing a garment you made.