I’ve been an armchair sewist for about a year. Reading, scoping out blogs, finding a few favorite and easy things to make. It all bumped up a serious notch when I got Gertie’s New Book for Better Sewing: A Modern Guide to Couture-Style Sewing Using Basic Vintage Techniques.
It was my bedside reading for weeks. Tailor’s tacks, fabric guides, pattern drafting, bound buttonholes. Sometimes I’d have to not read it before bed, because I wouldn’t be able to sleep after reading such interesting and exciting things.
From the introduction:
“While shortcuts and quick projects seemed to be the trend in the sewing world, I was spending hours overcasting seam allowances by hand. I started to appreciate slow sewing and the beautiful garments it produced.”
I was always a part of the “shortcut and quick projects” crowd. (I was trending! How unusual.) I have a notoriously short attention span for long projects, I like variety and change.
(Scuba diving is one such evidence of my attention span. By the time I’ve geared up and gotten in the water, I’m ready to be finished and go home. Ditto with projects. Give me results or give me…something else to do.)
This whole idea of slow sewing was a revelation to me.
Slow sewing produces beautiful garments (that don’t look “homemade” – hello unfinished seam allowances and poor fit). Clothes that are designed, altered, and sewn to fit me. (Anyone else despise clothes shopping as a futile effort in finding what doesn’t exist?)
I am also really drawn to the idea of slow sewing as a meditative act. Being in the moment instead of rushing towards the end of the seam, the end of the project, on to the next thing.
And then I’ve been watching the Great British Sewing Bee. It’s a reality show/competition to find Britain’s best home sewist. I just loved it. Especially Ann, the elderly lady who does yoga twice a week and has been sewing every day for something like 75 years. She’s so classy.
The Great British Sewing Bee really fired me up.
I’ve been waiting to lose the baby weight, and then to lose the nursing fullness before sewing my own clothes. Which I finally did – only to gain some back. (Whaaa? Am I experiencing the beginnings of middle age spread? So many things about my body have changed recently and I don’t think I can chalk it all up to having four children.)
But what the hay, I think the extra random body mass won’t make too much of a difference in clothing.
I chose Colette’s Peony as my first project and ordered the pattern last week. But in the meantime I decided to do a little project while I waited on the US postal service.
A while back I had bought some yellow fabric to make curtains for my kitchen window. I’ve wanted corn-colored curtains ever since Pat and Rae had them at their bedroom window in Mistress Pat. Unfortunately, the yellow just isn’t right for the kitchen (it needs something more mellow and with a small print, I think). So channelled my inner Maria again and turned the curtains into a dirndl.
I followed Gertie’s instructions for a full, gathered skirt (which are also in the book, slightly modified). I ended up lining it for modesty’s sake and putting in my very first zipper! (Yes! First zippers are worthy of exclamation marks!)
Introducing, my daffodil skirt. Poofy happiness.
photo by Levi