The Story- Part 2

I bought my first sewing machine in 2012. It was a basic Brother machine designed for the entry level sewer. I had never sewn before. But I had this desire to find an outlet for my creativity and thought it’d be interesting and fun to make clothes. Without proper training, I truly believed this phase of my life would be just that – a phase. Once my machine arrived, I decided it was time to get down to the business of learning to sew. I watched countless YouTube videos and tutorials, read specialty books, and mixed that with a healthy dose of old-fashioned trial and error. When someone says, “I’m self-taught,” I always wonder. But, in this case, I am completely self-taught.

I began with basic pieces like a pillow case dress for my daughter. It wasn’t too shabby, so I upgraded to an adult tank top. Sadly, the tank turned into a complete failure, but I learned from the process, so in the end it wasn’t a total waste.

I’d have many more failures down the road, and probably some still waiting for me, but I try to see what can be learned from each circumstance. And the most important part… I try again.

I soon returned to making clothing for my daughter because it was less of an investment of my time and money. At the beginning, each piece was slow going because I didn’t grow up around a group of grandmothers and aunties sewing, gossiping, and drinking tea. Does anyone grow up that way these days? Words like “notions” and “lining” weren’t things we discussed around the dinner table. I kept my phone next to my sewing machine so I could look up industry terms. The sewing world is filled with jargon, so I had to become bilingual. Occasionally, even now, I use my phone to look up the difference between a box pleat and knife pleat.

I also didn’t know what a pattern was. I got a big Simplicity-style education just from reading about them. I would spend evenings perusing patterns and pattern instructions, and reading about what others had to say about patterns. It has grown into a small obsession.

Nowadays I see a cute shirt or dress at the park and think to myself, “can I make that?” Most of the time the answer is yes. I also wonder how I can make it better or cuter or make it into something I’d like better, then the magic of design starts working and I sit down at my machine and see what happens.