Read about my sewing journey you don’t give two shits about.
I started sewing only a few years ago when I inherited my grandmother’s Singer sewing machine from the 1960s. After my mother showed me how to use the sewing machine, guess what guys?
I absolutely hated it.It’s true. I wanted to throw that thing off a steep cliff.
I was terrible at sewing and the machine was even worse. Every time I sat down to sew, my range of emotions was more colorful than a skittles rainbow. This went on for almost a year. I can’t tell you how many “projects” I promptly threw on the floor. Yes, you might be realizing I have slight anger issues at this point.
Fast forward a year when I found a sewing machine by the dumpster near my apartment. You read it, a FREE sewing machine. Pure luck. It was an Elna machine from the 1960s. Directly out of the dumpster, that thing sewed like a dream. No more caught threads. No more sucking fabric into the bobbin area, and best of all…straight stitch lines! Yes. My skills soared from there. I quickly advanced by what I call “immersion learning” — learn by doing! I started making bags, pillows, curtains, baby toys, etc. You name it. I’ve tried it. I discovered my hidden despise for making blankets…or basically anything that doesn’t fit on my shitty folding table. I’ll admit I’m absolutely terrible at any home decor.
It wasn’t until I tried making a maxi skirt that I found what I TRULY like to sew. Clothes. I practiced making a nice shawl and easy-ass scarves. I sewed some crappy looking shirts and continually bought fabric for that “project I’m gonna do sometime in the vague future.” Sewers, you know exactly what I’m talking about.
Somewhere in the middle of all this, I upgraded my dumpster Elna to a nice, shiny, crazy-lady-stitching Elna 660 eXperience. Elna ’til the day I die. These machines are glorious and gloriously overpriced. It hurts. I found mine for just a few hundred dollars on eBay. Barely used. Another lucky find!
Now that I had my glorious Elna, I cranked out a few more simple clothing pieces and bags, but I didn’t really feel like I was accomplishing much as far as learning to sew. So, I jumped into making an elaborate costume from my all-time favorite TV show: SUPERNATURAL. I love you, Sammy.
I smashed that shit. Totally. It was a 100% success and the hardest thing I’d ever sewed at the time.
This was made from a pattern I had to alter at the waistline and peplum pieces. I had no clue what I was doing. I probably used about half a tree’s worth of tissue paper. It took me 2 months to finish the whole thing and let’s admit it, pattern directions are total garbage. I messed up a lot. Stabbed the seam ripper into my finger once or twice, but it was worth it for everything I learned. Google saved my ass countless times and thank you costume Gods a.k.a. cosplay bloggers for being so helpful.
So, I plunged into costuming. As much as I struggled with altering a pattern, I decided pattern making was a good place to start. I learned a lot in a little amount of time and almost drowned in the sea of information. Guys, there is A LOT of shit out there on pattern making and fashion design. It’s insane. Everyone and their dog does it differently. I took all of this in and no joke, felt like I lost my soul to the darkest corners of Azkaban.
News flash…Pattern making is hard.
But I learned the basics by my trusty rinse and repeat method. Do the shit over and over. Learn some, cuss more than usual with lots of passive-aggressive sighing, and then it finally sticks. Also, Caroline Barulis classes and Winifred Aldrich’s book Metric Pattern Cutting for Women’s Wear were a big help. Those women are boss goals.
Adult life doesn’t afford me a lot of free time. That pesky full-time job! With the free time I can find, I work on improving my costuming and sewing skills while dabbling in prop building. I pretend to know what I’m doing. It got me this far, right?