The next frontier
May 20th, 2012
I’ve gone off my knitting at the moment. While I wait for the joy of knitting to return, I’ve been doing some sewing.
My relationship with sewing is a slightly strange one; I really like the idea of making my own clothes, quilts, bags etc. but making the leap from thinking it’s a good idea to actually sitting at a sewing machine has always been a challenge. I’ve made a couple of garments in the past which turned out OK, but have never felt particularly comfortable or confident when using my machine. It’s a skill that hasn’t yet clicked for me like knitting did, which has meant that every little hiccup along the way has been met with frustration rather than an acceptance of it as part of the learning process. Really, why can’t it just work?
After finding a great little metal body Bernina at an op shop late last year (I’ll save that tale for another post), I began to get frustrated at the fact I kept getting frustrated with sewing. Like a dog chasing its tail, my frustration went around and around, faster and faster until I stopped and found a sewing e-course that looked interesting. It started at a point below my current level of sewing knowledge, but to my mind that was a good thing; it would help to reinforce the fundamentals I learnt in Year 7 textiles.
The most recent project I made from this course was this tote. It’s quite a simple project, but I’m really happy with how it turned out. I deviated from the pattern a little bit by shortening the side panels and adding a contrast panel down the bottom and it worked out just fine. The contrast panel is some upholstery weight fabric I found in an op shop years ago. It was found on a rainy day, a couple of hours before my shift started at work. I distinctly remember holding onto this small bolt of fabric (the cardboard tube had broken so it was flopping around all over the place), trying not to let it get too wet or hit fellow commuters while taking multiple forms of public transport to work. It was one of my more awkward commutes and it must have been at least a little bit embarrassing for my poor friend (and workmate) who was shopping and then commuting with me.
Yes, anyway, this tote. I’m still a long way from being able to make my own clothes, but this project feels like a turning point. There were a couple of times where things didn’t go quite to plan, but it didn’t elicit the usual response of frustration. I just stopped what I was doing, got my seam ripper out and started again.
As for the course, I have mixed feelings about it. There are a couple of little things that I’m concerned about, but I’ll wait until I’ve completed more of the course before posting my thoughts. In the meantime, the course has meant that I’ve been sewing and I want to keep sewing. The sewing outlook is positive so far, and that’s the most important thing.