Friday, April 1, 2016

I sewed Clothes - and didn't cry

I sewed clothes (TWICE) and didn't cry!  Haha. All kidding aside, the desire to make handmade garments has been brewing for years now and I have tried with little success, until now.  Thanks to friends, new and old.

Camisole  Photoshoot
For my birthday last year, my friend Sue gifted me the pattern book and the fabrics to sew for my granddaughter.  We had penciled in the idea of a play date for what feels like forever and on Easter Sunday, it finally happened.  Look how cute!

bias binding Swiss Dots 
I've admired Sue's mad skills and the fine clothes that she's made for herself.  We're talking lined jackets, tailored dresses, fitted pants the whole works.    Thrift store and hand-me-downs are more my style since I'm lazy at laundry and will inevitably ruin things anyway.    She does things the right way, the proper way and as her grandmother taught her to do,  the inside looks as pretty as the out.

The Timeline

Because I'm a tee-shirt and jeans kind of gal, I hadn't really been compelled to try and put the effort and expense into sewing for myself until 2011.  Sounds pretty specific - especially for me and my blurry sense of time.  Well, that's because that's the year our local chapter of the MQG formed and when I started seeing members rocking handmades.  Members like Dana who made her husband a wool coat at our retreat, Mariah who looked adorable in everything and most notably our founding president, Tina in her -every possible version of - the Schoolhouse Tunic.

Joel Dewberry at Sewing Summit 2012
The other event that was a turning point for me was Sewing Summit 2012 in SLC Utah and seeing not only the featured speaker Joel Dewberry's display of patterns and possibilities,  the cute samples during shop hopping most of all, the great outfits worn by the attendees.

I even made it a 2013 New Years Resolution.  Unfortunately, neither of my tunics got much wear - one too small,the other too big.  The upcycle of the Giant's onsie into a dress for my niece's baby was a success.  
Then in 2014 Sue and I had a fabulous time at the Heather Ross Craft Weekend in Palm Springs with a room full of people sewing all kinds of clothes and the opportunity to meet and learn from the fabulous Gretchen Hirsch  and Annabel Wrigley .  High hopes, right? 

Let's just say (no fault of theirs) I didn't come away from the weekend any closer to falling in love with sewing clothes.  Instead, I managed to make this pair of baby pant,  then Sue and I played with creating a paper mobile (two photos up).

Knits and New Friends

When I packed for the Spring Quilt Retreat a few weeks ago, I took very few projects because I wanted to focus on making headway on my son's overdue Delectable Mountain quilt.  I had no clue that I'd meet these two lovely ladies, Jessica and Nancy let alone come away with a Renfrew top that I made MYSELF and a serious bug to make clothes!

Jessica, Me and Nancy
Just when I had resolved myself to not being a garment maker - this happened.   Their enthusiasm and make it work attitude jives with my "perfection is not the goal" approach.   I proudly wore it to work the next morning.
Generously  providing everything needed, they let me at it and guided me along.   On the last day, I was frantically trying to finish before we had to go and they packed up the room around me so that I could keep get it done  - how awesome is that?!
Learning by Doing
It seems obvious now, but the realization that I need to sew what I like to wear was aha moment.   Quilt cotton fitted clothes are not what I reach into my drawer to put on.   As long as I can get away without having to buy a serger to use knits I think I've got a nice successful road ahead. 

Day Dreaming 
We've managed to get together once since the retreat.  Hopefully we can carve out more time soon.  


  1. You hit it out of the park with those two garments! How I wish I had a cute grandchild to sew for. Let's make a sewing date soon. Maybe my house next time?

  2. Ummm "I need to sew what I like to wear"!!! Well crap. I need a machine I can do knits on because I never wear cotton (who wants to iron clothes?!?) and everything I wear is stretch knit. You're right, SO obvious in hind sight, but that's exactly what's been keeping me from sewing clothes!!

  3. Yay for you! That's terrific!

  4. Your post title made me laugh! Love the story! I used to be just a garment sewer, a thousand years ago. I think working with knits is a brilliant idea for making wearable items. Your top is adorable! Congrats!!


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