I have been blessed to be related to and surrounded by some of the craftiest people I have ever known. My mom used to make wreathes and other floral art that she sold at craft fairs and in cute little boutiques. She has made me into a DIY-er! My paternal grandmother is a master sewer. I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that she has made a million quilts in her lifetime in addition to all the other sewing crafts she does all the time. I’ve received many clothes from her that she either sewed or embroidered, or both. Most of my aunts are very crafty and have passed that on to me. Thankfully, I, too, have inherited the crafty gene from both sides and have the creativity to back it up. I’m not the best crafter, but I enjoy making all sorts of things and will continue to because it’s fun and because it helps us save money.
However, the sewing gene is not one that I inherited. Are there some genes that people come to inherit over time? I didn’t think so, but I know with practice I will get better (and fyi, I know that sewing skills don’t come in DNA form).
When I was in high school, I never took a home ec. class, nor did my small school even offer one. We did have a class that required we bring home a mechanical baby to care for in the night while it cried, which was supposed to be realistic, but no sewing was taught which could have actually given me some skills that would help me later on. Sorry, but a mechanical baby that is ugly, made of plastic, and does nothing cute to make up for the crying did not do anything but teach me how to take care of a doll.
Anyway, sewing was not something I ever did. I “helped” my grandma make two quilts – one that was just two pieces of fabric with some batting in the middle and a complimenting fabric to sew them together and one harder one that she hand-guided me through – neither of which I really paid attention to because I was focused more on the end-product than on the skills I was supposed to be gaining.
A few summers ago, before my junior year of college, my mom decided to teach me how to sew. We picked out a pattern for a dress and some cute fabric and went to work. I was really excited when I started, but each step of the pattern had me feeling more and more frustrated. I am not fun to be around when I am frustrated, just ask my mom. My perfectionism keeps me from becoming good at a lot of things because I would rather give up and stick to something I’m naturally good at. However, we would not allow that. We took out many stitches and had to cut, sew, and try on the dress a million times, but we finally finished it.
Here it was back when I had short hair (thinking of chopping it off again):
It’s not perfect, but I love it! I was so inspired after making it that I bought a bunch of patterns on sale.
But, I have yet to even think about attempting any of them. My mom went out of her way to buy me a highly-rated nice sewing machine the following Christmas.
I love it so much – it’s much nicer than I ever expected and does so many things I have no idea how to use (it even threads the needle and cuts the thread). It even has a beautiful carrying case that attaches to wheels so I can easily bring it with me.
However, I’ve had this sewing machine for almost two years and the only thing I have done so far with it is make an apron (that had a pocket on it that I could not for the life of me get straight, so I left it out):
I also “altered” a dress I got at a garage sale for $5 that was huge on me but was a perfect I Love Lucy-inspired dress to wear last Halloween with Mr. Converse Sneakers who went as the zombified Ricky Ricardo.
I only took in the sides which I know was not the correct way to alter it, but it worked for me. Other than that, the sewing machine has sat in its pretty little case for two years, untouched. I had such big dreams for it when I first got it, but my fear has paralyzed me from using it because it takes a lot of work to learn to be good at something!
Well, my blog has encouraged me to conquer that fear. This weekend I made something I love (and so does Mr. CS). It’s not anything I invented, but I’m very proud of what I did! I’ll be sharing it with you tomorrow, so stop by then!
In the meantime, I’d love to know how advanced (or not) you are at sewing and whether it is something you are working at getting better at, never have the urge to do, or is something you are already practically a pro at. If you have any tips, I’d love to hear them, too!