Saturday, November 8, 2008

First Garment, Last Garment

Welcome to my blog, Cotton Creek Sewing! This blog will hopefully satisfy my intense desire to talk about my passions, sewing and quilting. My non-sewing friends are tired of hearing me drone on about patterns, new fabric collections, and the wonderfully creative blog world where people are making amazing things. As my sewing friends are few, I have attempted to lure my non-sewing friends over to the sewing world by offering sewing lessons, with limited success. I've had better luck with their daughters, truth to tell. I love teaching the younger set: they are enthusiastic and ready to learn. Their mothers, however, seem to react with my offers to teach with the same mild panic and protestation, "But I couldn't never learn to do that!" I tell them it isn't brain surgery.
They are unmoved.
I haven't actually begun to teach people how to sew against their will, but I'm afraid I'm coming close. Thus, this blog.

I've been sewing since 2002. I had some abdominal surgery that year, and I was shopping for just a simple skirt with an elastic waist that would be comfortable to wear. I found it, but at a hefty price. I complained to one of my Prayer Sisters (the wonderfully wise Judy), "It's just two pieces of fabric with elastic at the top - how hard could this be to make???!!" Judy said, "It's not hard; I'll show you how." And she did.
I bought the pattern which was this one:

And I bought some rayon challis at my local Hancock's. And I made this on her Sears Kenmore on her dinning room table:

I still wear it, and when I am feeling patriotic, I wear it with a red shirt. Here's what it looks like on the inside:

The seam allowances are frayed and the sewing wasn't the most expert, but it still hangs in my closet, whereas many things I have made since have been worn and subsequently retired. After that first skirt, Judy let me borrow her Sears Kenmore sewing machine and I made skirt after skirt, just doing it on my own. I discovered several things: 1) sewing was more interesting than day time television during my recovery time; 2) sewing could be accomplished sitting down; and 3) I could make the skirt way more cheaply than I could buy it. I became hooked and bought my own sewing machine soon afterwards.

As a compare/contrast exercise, this is the last garment I made, six and half years later: It is McCall's 4919:

I made it from a glen plaid wool I bought in Boston at The Fabric Place (soon to be out of business according to Gorgeous Things) several years ago for $ 7.98. The story behind this dress is that I went shopping about a month ago at the local mall, just to look at the fall fashions. I didn't see much that excited me, although I did find a sleeveless wool sheath dress at Banana Republic. For $ 150. No way.

I went home, dug out this fabric and used a little over two yards to make the dress. I figure with the zipper, and the free lining fabric, I made the whole thing for less than $ 20. Much better.

I've made dresses from this pattern before, from cotton, from wool, from silk, but I had never cut the bodice on the bias before. I wanted to try it with the plaid for visual interest and also so I could avoid worrying about matching the plaid. Before cutting out, I made a full pattern piece of the front so that I could lay it out in a single layer. I also put in a call to VickiW, my sewing mentor, on working with the bias edges and she suggested that I stay stitch all the edges. I did, and it worked like a charm.

No problems. I lined/interlined the bodice with some free lining my mother had brought me from an unknown sewer who had died, leaving her stash (so that's what happens to our fabric when we die - it's given to other sewers!).

And that is what I love about sewing and quilting - the possibilities are endless with each tweak you make.

And to borrow Summerset's parting shot format:

My neighborhood in autumn, my favorite season.


Vicki W said...

Yeah!!! You are blogging!

Summerset said...

Welcome to the wonderful world of blogging! Your dress is every bit as good, and probably much better fitting, than the $150 BR dress. That's the real beauty of sewing something for yourself.

Vicki said...

I have that dress pattern but haven't made it up yet. Yours is lovely. You have come a long way since 2002! And welcome to blogging :))

zizzybob said...

Welcome to a whole new world.