The early years.
I started sewing in elementary school. I always had access to my mom’s Kenmore machine, which is now yellowed with age. She had a few very specific rules. Don’t use my nice (blue) sewing scissors on paper. (I sure didn’t listen to that one, but now realize it was truth. They are so dull.) And don’t put paper in the sewing machine. (I know do this all the time now, little rebel.)
I used her machine to make bags and quilts and things. I made a few “prom dresses” that I am a little embarrassed to see photos of. There are strings hanging off of them and they don’t quite fit right. But it was where I started. I usually didn’t use patterns, because I always had a vision of what I wanted. More times than not it ended in disaster. But I kept going. I’m a little hard-headed.
I was inspired by Vogue magazine, especially a spread of Alice in Wonderland in 2003(?). The dresses were gorgeous and the photo shoots were amazing. I think this is where my love affair with dressmaking began. I would say most of my dresses are inspired, at least a little, by that spread.
I taught myself what I could, tried to follow patterns sometimes, followed a few early craft blogs (including wee wonderfuls and amy karol) and was inspired where ever I could be. I always had a thing for design and loved seeing ideas come together. I didn’t do anything right, but I did it and I loved it.
When I got to college I had a declared major but was unsure of it. When describing what I wanted to do I always said “I just want to sew all day.” It was always my dream to have a small creative business on the side and be able to raise a family.
One of my favorite roommates encouraged me to look into the Home Ec. department, there was a clothing program! So I did. Even though the major was not considered a real course of study to everyone, I knew it was perfect. It was what I loved. I thought about it for months and knew it was for me. So one day in early April I walked into the department office and declared my new major. The sun was shining. It was a happy day. I felt so right with the world. And that was that. The next year I enrolled in sewing and textile courses. I never looked back. (I also minored in Spanish, so I can sew in two languages! Kinda.)
I was so lucky to be able to learn the right way to sew. Stitch lengths, how much to trim, how to clip corners. So many little things I try to share bit by bit each week with my sewing 101 posts. The little things make the big things.
The best class I ever took was flat patternmaking. I have mentioned here and there that I love patternmaking. This class made me giddy about life. All of the sudden I could knock-off any dress. I could design! I didn’t have to follow a pattern any more. It was my equivalent to freedom.Seriously top 5 classes I ever took. And I took a lot of classes.
Another great experience I had was interning for a dress company during my last semester of college. I worked sewing and designing little girls dresses. I learned so much and it made my dreams tangible. So many new possibilities!
Since college I started an etsy shop which keeps me sewing. I really have no vision for the shop, I just sew what I love and hope someone else loves it too. I know that is not a great business plan, but it works for me right now!
Blogging has motivated me to sew better and more. You can read my blogging story that I recently posted. It is fun to be able to blog and connect with other seamstresses and watch our sewing stories collide.