Getting back to sewing

I’ve started this blog as a way of recording my progress in returning to sewing my own clothes. My mother always used to make our clothes, when I was a kid, and I learned sewing at her knee. I used to make a lot of things when I was younger, including some fairly complex dressmaking projects[*], but I got out of the habit.

I got back into sewing in the last couple of years because I’m a dancer/dance teacher, and I was making dance costumes for myself (and my dance students). But those are mostly made with lycra/spandex, which is very forgiving of wonky seams and poor draughtsmanship! But it’s made me realise that I *like* the process of making things to wear, or rather, I like the end result of making things to wear!

Also, it has to be said, I’m a big woman. Too often the mainstream clothing manufacturers/suppliers ignore the larger lady, or choose to ignore the fact that a larger lady might like to look halfway fashionable/attractive. I like the idea of making clothes for myself that fit me properly, and don’t look like a marquee.


I am outrageously out of practice and lacking in sewing confidence right now. I want to make stuff, but I’m scared it will look crappy and home-made. I also feel nervous about the fact that I will probably need to do a lot of fitting and adjusting of patterns, to take my size and shape into proper account, far more so than I did when I was a mere chit of a girl (and all this was green fields). I know a lot more now about all the stuff I don’t know!

Things that I will have to learn for this adventure to start being successful:

  • zips
  • buttonholes
  • proper fitting
  • finishing
  • neatness
  • patience

I’m sure there’s far more that I’ll need to learn/relearn that I just don’t remember/know I’ll need to learn. But I don’t want to terrify myself.

My resources right now include two sewing shops plus a sewing machine shop in town. I’ve been investigating sewing classes near me. There’s nothing obvious in town. Our local Adult Education service does have some classes, though they aren’t actually called Dressmaking, they’re called Pattern-Making. But those classes have been running since September, and I’m not sure it would be helpful to start behind everyone else. There is a place not too far away that offers sewing workshops. I’ve just booked myself onto one of those, in the Summer, and then maybe I can try one of the Ad Ed classes in September. In the meantime, I would like to try out a couple of easy peasy lemon squeezy projects all by myself.

I’ve learned from my costume-making Adventures, that I’m not to be trusted with multiple projects at a time. I have a fear of not finishing stuff, so I have a One-Project-At-A-Time rule. However, I have also learned that sometimes you need to take a break from a project, if it’s been giving you hell, and you’ve stopped loving it. So I do allow myself to put a project On The Shelf, to wait until the love comes back. But since the shelf could become a pit of unfinished projects, there is also a One-Project-On-The-Shelf-At-A-Time rule. If project A goes on the shelf because it’s turned out terrible, and I start project B, which also goes pear-shaped, I can’t put project B on the shelf and just start project C (or where would it all end?). I have to decide whether I can bring myself to take project A off the shelf and get back to working on it, or whether I ditch either project A or project B (and salvage what I can from them) in order to make way for project C.

So, there we go…


[*] At least, that’s how they seem looking back on it…


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