i’ve wanted to sew clothes for a really long time.
i remember doodling the most 80’s-licious dresses with puffy sleeves the size of Pluto and the pointiest dropped waists on my notebooks in high school. going further back, i used to make new fashions for my Barbies with carefully draped Kleenex and elastic bands.
when i finally decided i could and should wear clothes i like instead of just things i could find in my size, i realized that learning to sew them myself would be a really good way to accomplish that. that was about seven years ago. no, really. i’m the slowest learner.
first, i bought three metres of stretchy denim and tried to design my own dress, without a lick of experience or knowledge. as expected, it turned out hilariously terrible. then, i bought an actual pattern and followed the actual instructions and made an actual dress — technically. it never fit right and i’m pretty sure it never got worn outside of my own house. again, i didn’t have any experience with the techniques and it showed. so much.
after that, i kind of stopped sewing anything but tote bags and pot holders. straight lines i could handle. bodies have too many curves and i was totally intimidated by that point.
that’s about the time i met Lisa and she helped encourage me to try a bunch of new things: including taking garment sewing classes at Spool of Thread.
first, was the Hollyburn Skirt class. while i still haven’t worn that skirt out in public (i was losing weight too quickly and it was always too big — it’s in my alteration pile for after my body lift next month), it had AN INVISIBLE ZIPPER! and POCKETS! i felt so empowered after accomplishing the creation of an honest-to-goodness wearable piece of clothing! we soon thereafter took the Schoolhouse Tunic class and then the Staple Dress class. Lisa was constantly finding free or cheap easy patterns online for us to try (like the Barbara Dress or Pineapple Top) and suddenly, i was legitimately sewing myself clothes i could wear outside! in front of people! who were SO IMPRESSED that i made them myself!
i wore my first Barbara Dress (aka the Foxy Lady dress) in Italy and Brad reported that more than one woman legit checked it out while we were wandering around Venice and Florence. ITALIAN LADIES CHECKED OUT THE DRESS I MADE! what?? that’s nuts.
recently, i completed my first pants. they’re pajamas so fit isn’t really a consideration other than the ability to get them on and off, but pants! it was also the first time i’d spent time properly finishing seams in order to ensure a long life for the garment. and, just last night, i finished what i think is the project i am most proud of: a Saltspring maxi dress.
it’s not the most complicated pattern out there, but it does have a lining, elastic casing, is floor-length. that’s a lot of stuff for me to do for the first time. on top of all that, i also decided to sew it without the zipper the pattern calls for, so that took a little extra planning to make that happen. and… AND! i french seamed the whole thing! including the in-seam pockets! there is not a single exposed edge of fabric on this whole dress and that makes me SO HAPPY! i almost want to wear it inside out just so people can appreciate just how awesome the insides look.
gosh, i’m just so pleased. with it and myself, tbh.
there’s no way i’m ever going to consider myself an accomplished sewist, but i can tell i’m building on my skills and slowly getting better each time i attempt a new pattern which involves skills i’ve never tried before. it’s empowering. and pretty damn awesome to have some cool clothes to wear that no one else will ever have.