Monday, May 28, 2012

Why I Sew

I've been sewing since I was about 7 or 8.  My mother is an amazing seamstress.  She is meticulous and painstaking and her garments look perfect inside and out (although she will point out the 3 tiny errors she made that she insists ruin the whole thing).  So I grew up with sewing being a normal and enjoyable part of life.  Later, when I was in junior high or high school, she got a second job in a fabric store, and I spent a lot of time there.

I think I first picked up a needle and thread at about 7, and figured out how to sew something together using a simple running stitch.  That must have been the point at which my mother decided I was ready to learn to sew.  I got a refurbished Singer sewing machine for Christmas that year.  I remember it well:  it had a fold-out wooden cabinet and a knee lever that operated the machine.  It had a lever that adjusted the stitch (straight or zigzag, or reverse) and it had little plastic discs that were supposed to enable it to create decorative stitches, but I was never able to figure out how they worked.

That year I also received a sewing basket made by my grandmother, some brick red knit fabric and ribbing to make a t-shirt, and a pair of Wiss scissors that I still use today (if you look at the image in the link, mine are the ones on the right with the black handles. Just googled them, they appear to have been made in the early 60s.).

I started sewing more in high school, when I started getting tired of waiting for my mother to finish a project for me.  Her meticulous sewing meant that projects took much longer than I wanted to wait.  If I ran out of clothes to wear to school, I would make a simple skirt or some leggings.

There have been times I have sewed more or less in my life, but I really started to get even more into my sewing when I was pregnant with my daughter.  I sewed everything in her nursery--curtains, crib sheets, quilts, pillows, crib bumpers.  (I used the book Little Stitches for Little Ones by Amy Butler to make the Modern Crib Set.)  When Lucy started getting bigger, sewing became even more of a creative outlet, and a means for solving problems.  I wanted a hanging wet bag in the nursery for her cloth diapers but wanted one that I could snap in a mesh drawstring bag that I could snap out to wash the diapers all together--so I designed and sewed one (I'll show that in another post).  For a while, her cute polka dot sheets seemed too chilly when I was trying to get her used to sleeping in her crib, so I sewed some big pieces of minky fabric in the middle to lay her down in.  When she was tiny, I paid a ridiculous sum of money for a Woombie, which she loved, but when I wanted another I made it myself.  I made her about 10 Minky baby blankets (ok, probably more), and when the weather got warm I made some thin blankets out of quilting fabric (using this tutorial for perfect corner blankets).

Then I decided she needed more cloth diaper inserts for her g-diapers, so I bought a serger (this fabulous little machine, which has worked perfectly for me and was the best-rated machine I could find for less than $1500) and ordered some fabrics to sew my own cloth inserts.  I saved a lot of money over buying the G-cloth inserts ($30 for 6!!) and had stacks and stacks of them.  (Not including the cost of the serger, of course.  :)  I use that so much, I felt pretty justified buying it.)  Recently I tried my hand at sewing PUL diaper covers, with mixed success.  I've made lots of clothes--some with patterns, some upcycled from something else, some designed outright by me, some from online tutorials.

But what in here is "Quiltastic"?  I've made more quilts since having a baby than ever before.  I'll feature each of them here later on.  I do consider myself a "Modern Quilter", as those types of quilts tend to be the ones I love the most.  Right now I am working on two--one from the newest line by Little Yellow Bicycle called Vintage Summer (instantly fell in love with these fabrics!), and another, a large zig zag quilt with the cream dots line from Jay-Cyn for Birch.  I'm about 1/3 done quilting the Vintage Summer quilt, and only about 1/3 done piecing the zig zag quilt.

There it is, why I sew.  While I have a lot less time to sew these days, I have a lot more inspiration, so I sew.

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