I come from a sewing family. My mom is a master sewer, and she taught me to use a sewing machine when I was about 8 years old. I’ve sewn countless pillows, patchwork throws, curtains and even a bag or two over my lifetime. But I’ve always been intimated by the patience, time and exactitude required to sew clothing.
This year, all of that is going to change. I have made a goal to consume less. As part of that goal I can have new clothes if I a) make them myself or b) buy them second hand. I have been greatly inspired by my friends Katrina Rodabaugh and Sonya Philip who have both in their own ways committed themselves to making & upcycling over buying new. “Making clothing is a conscious choice; it is an investment of time over convenience,” says Sonya.
This past Friday on my birthday I set out to make my first dress for the year. Recently, I set up a sewing area in my studio. For my first dress, I used a pattern I’d gotten from my friend Kristine at A Verb for Keeping Warm and fabric by Anna Maria Horner (that I also purchased at Verb). It was a tricky pattern to cut. The dress has sleeves and side panels, and the fabric repeat requires that you line things up in a precise way in order for the dress to look symmetrical (thank you to my mother who helped me figure out the best way to cut the fabric to accomplish this!). The neckline also required handmade bias tape (made from the fabric), which I’d never made before. Of course, I had to choose a fabric with a complicated repeat for my first dress!
I was intimidated but determined. It took me about 3-4 hours, but I finished it! And then I wore it out to my birthday dinner that evening. I’d probably get sent home from Project Runway for my hems and neckline, but overall I was pleased with the result.
I plan to sew and upcycle a lot of clothing this year, and I’ll share some of what I make here on this blog.
Have a happy Tuesday!