Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Sewing with Patterns

I'm a self-taught sewer.  Which means I know a lot of swear words and have cried buckets of tears. I've learned a lot over the years and have become pretty adept at using my sewing machine.  Recently, I realized I have gotten pretty lazy about my sewing education.  I know enough to get by, but there is still so much more for me to learn.  I needed to step-out of my comfort zone, dust off those swear words, get out a box of tissues, and learn something new.
I've found that the best way to learn a new technique is to use a tutorial.  There a million online and in books.  I recently purchased Girl's World: Twenty-One Sewing Projects to Make for Little Girls by Jennifer Paganelli, so I pulled that book out and got to work on a project.  It was for a stuffed dog.  Yes, I've made stuffed toys before.  You can see them here and here.  But I need to practice using patterns because one of my summer bucket list items is to make a piece of clothing for my daughter.  I also know that I take a lot of short-cuts when I'm sewing stuffed toys...like not clipping around corners.  So I sat down and followed Jennifer's project exactly.  No short-cuts.  No rushing.  And, of course, the dog came out perfectly. (Funny how that happens when you follow directions.)  Now, I can go off and use what I learned to design my own projects.

My daughter loves her little dog.  And I love it because I used the fabric from two dresses she has outgrown.  I have a million outgrown dresses of my daughter's.  I can't part with some of them, but I know that the idea of saving them for future generations is a bit silly.  There's no guarantee my daughter will have children and/or a daughter and, by the time that could even happen, the dresses probably will be either out of style or not in wearable condition.  A stuffed dog though?  That could go to college with her and sit on her bed.  And she could hug it on those days when she needs a little support and she will feel the love I put into making it.  Each stitch filled with the my memories of her as a little girl, swirling around in her pretty dresses, and my hopes for the woman she will become.

Yes, teaching myself to sew is a very good thing.