Saturday, April 14, 2018

Some Thoughts On Sewing

Daddy Steve: A little over a year ago, I purchased a sewing machine with the thought of making clothes for the (then only) boys.  You may have wondered where that idea eventually went.  Truth is, it didn't go terribly far.  No, not far at all...maybe around the block or perhaps just to the corner and back...

I took a sewing class through Community Education that was somewhat helpful, although most of the class time was spent getting everyone's machine threaded.  Turns out that sewing machines are a lot like people: they're all basically the same, but not exactly the same.  I did a little practicing/experimenting on my own, but didn't create much other than frustration.  Sewing doll clothes is frequently described as 'fiddly work', and now I understand why.  It's all of those sharp little curves--sort of like trying to maneuver a tank around a miniature golf course.  I think part of the problem has to do with my temperament.  I tend to get frustrated when I don't feel proficient at what I'm doing.  Unfortunately, proficiency in sewing doesn't come overnight.  After some abortive attempts, the machine just sat there and collected dust for a bit.

A few weeks ago, I dusted it off.  We were doing our Easter post and needed sheets and pillowcases for the bunk beds.  It turned out to be a project I could handle!  I do a fair job at long, straight hems and square corners.  It was nice to be able to make something and actually be reasonably satisfied with the end result.

Anthony: Very nice.  Perhaps he's finally discovered where his talents lie.
Gavin: Otherwise, he could always take up a musical instrument.

As a newbie, here are a few random things that I've learned about sewing (often the hard way):

1.  Fabric has a 'right' and 'wrong' side.  When you sew, you need to be mindful of which side should be facing up.  The first project we made in class was what the instructor described as a 'little thing to put under a plant or candle.'  As you can see, I got one of the pink pieces facing the wrong way.  Whoops...

Kaveh: I think it looks nice.  It's not even noticeable.

Thanks, Kaveh.  You're a sweet boy.

2.  Ever seen one of these?  You need to use it.  A lot.

John Martin: It's called an iron.  When you plug it in, it gets very hot and flattens fabric.
Luke: Well, fancy that!  All this time I thought it was for propping open doors.

3.  You'll need to use one of these a lot, too (especially when you're learning).

Benjamin Roy: Stupefy!
Blake: Dude.  That wand only reverses spells.

4.  While you're sewing, it's a good idea to periodically check to make sure that you really are sewing..i.e. the needle hasn't become unthreaded or the bobbin hasn't run out.  Sewing without thread is basically just poking holes in fabric.

Giancarlo: Aren't they supposed to stick together?
Robin: Well, that's the way it looks in the book.  Wait, do we have thread?

That's all I have to report for now.  At this point, I'm not sure where (if anywhere) my little sewing adventures will ultimately go.  One thing I can say is that this experience has given me tremendous respect and appreciation for all of those folks who create beautiful clothes for Gregor and Sasha!


Julie said...

your bedding turned out beautifully.

Gregor Daddies said...

Thanks Julie!

Dee said...

Well done Steve , for deciding to give it a go , actually taking a class to help you and then making the lovely bedding.

I did have to smile at the boys showing off your 'slight' errors, one's which everyone makes at some time for another!

My sewing machine is constantly.......being dusted :) Like almost all the things I have planned , I'll do it soon...... I never realised just how long soon takes to arrive ;)

Ps I hope the door didn't slam shut while the iron was used for it's proper purpose ;)

Gregor Daddies said...

Hi Dee -

There always seems to be so much to do, and in an ideal world it would all be doll related, but reality intrudes.

While using the iron, we propped the door open with another neglected appliance - the vacuum cleaner!


Kendal said...

I'm well and truly impressed with excellent this start to your new project.
Do hope that you manage to keep on with it 'as practise makes perfect' as the old saying goes!

Gregor Daddies said...

Thanks Kendal! That is very true indeed.

Serenata said...

What a great post, made me giggle, those little comments the boys made.

I see Gavin has great taste in musical instruments!

Sheets and pillowcases are always useful.

Good on you for making a start.

Gregor Daddies said...

Thanks Lorraine! Gavin is determined to be another Benny Goodman. If I were as committed to sewing as he is to his clarinet, who knows what I could be making now.

DollMum said...

If it is any comfort every single one of us supposedly more experienced at sewing have made exactly the same mistakes which your boys have been keen to show off. It is good to try these things, you learn from the mistakes and when you've dusted off your wounded pride (because yes, lets face it we all want it to be perfect the first time) and try again, the sense of achievement is worth the effort. Your bedding has turned out well and I'm sure you'll find another fairly straightforward project for the boys to hone your skills a bit more.

Gregor Daddies said...

Thanks DollMum! Yes, it's so true. The person who never made a mistake, never made much of anything. One idea I have is to make each of the kids a pair of pajamas from a simple pattern. Good practice, and that way they will all be in the same boat - no single one will get stuck wearing Dad's homemade creation!

NeverUschi said...

I've bought a smaller iron, intended for travel, to use on dolls clothes. I find it easier to use on small garments, and my fingers are feeling much better.
Your sewing machine and mine seem to have much in common: mine just loves it to lose or tear the thread, and its favourite is doing so when I try do sew a gathered skirt to a top... another one is leaving out stitches in places where the mistake is clearly visible..... the only reason I never threw it out of the window: it is too heavy!

Gregor Daddies said...

Hi Ursula -

My mother-in-law used to have a sign in her sewing room that said "Beware of flying sewing machines!". I think my machine is very much a 'starter model', and it acts like one at times. In fact, it's currently jammed and needs to go into the shop. For my abilities, it's good enough for now.

twizel said...

hi Steve love this post and wish you luck with your sewing projects. There is so much on you tube these days to give you help and guidance. If you do get around to making clothes for your Gregors, the Marcy Street patterns that Ann Chandler produced are a great fit for Gregor and easy to follow. It is no longer in print, but they do come up for sale on ebay from time to time.

Gregor Daddies said...

Thanks Theresa! I'll keep a lookout for those patterns.

Sasha's Vintage Boutique said...

you cracked me up! especially with the "magic reverse spell" wand! I have worn out 4 of them myself. "As ye sew, so shall ye rip." Murphy's rules apply rather nicely to sewing: the bobbin always run out of thread with about an inch of seam to go! The Amish made "perfectly imperfect" quilts; often reversing the fabric in one square in the belief that they shouldn't do it perfect because only God can make something perfect. So, I contend you have an "Amish" quilt there! See, not a mistake....a creative choice!

I think the bedding looks lovely...well done! Just don't get so good with that machine that you don't need any Sasha Seamstresses anymore!

Gregor Daddies said...

Hi Marti -

Yes! An Amish quilt! Ahem, yes... of course, I meant to do that ;-)