I’m pretty convinced it’s impossible to write a first post that’s not awkward, so let’s just dive in.
Ten years ago, my mother bought me a sewing machine for my sixteenth birthday. I see you over there doing the math, that’s cool. I’m 26, and it’s taken me a decade to sit down and finally finish a project. Over the course of my multiple false starts, I found myself deterred by pattern tracing, pattern cutting, wonky final products that didn’t fit, and even something so simple as winding bobbins. Here’s a prime example of an end product that set me back about three years in hypothetical sewing practice:
I think one of my main problems was that I wanted to do too much too soon. With sewing, people (read: my mom) often recommend that you start with a simple pattern, like an apron or a circle skirt. That’s fine, but I wanted to sew so that I could make things that I wanted to wear, things that I couldn’t find in stores, and circle skirts and aprons weren’t really at the top of my list. I would get frustrated that there seemed to be a barrier to entry, almost like I would have to pay my apron dues before getting to sew exciting underwear and 1920s-era velvet capes.
Something clicked for me recently. I’m in the middle of some big changes, and I wanted to stop absorbing and start doing. I’m about to move to a community that brims with not just creativity, but ingenuity as well, and that’s been spurring me on to finally get over the first hurdles of something that I know I’ll really enjoy.
A few weeks ago, I finally decided to just start with exactly what I wanted to make, difficulty level be damned. That turned out to be this pair of French knickers from Sew Vera Venus. When at first you don’t succeed with a simple underwear pattern, make something with a gusset and a placket using a pattern drafted from your own measurements, right? Isn’t that how the saying goes?
On top of the construction’s complications, of course I had to go and pick out a really finicky satin that was sort of a nightmare to work with. I’m pretty sure the fabric had a mind of its own, and the texture, combined with attaching a straight waistband to a circular body, had me both cursing like a sailor and recutting things that had stretched, but I finished the knickers. They could be prettier–and I had to hand stitch part of one end of the gusset that I just couldn’t make work–but they turned out pretty okay, especially considering that this was my first truly wearable project. Everyone has to start somewhere, and I started with glamorous loungewear.
Stay tuned for my next installment: Chiffon Chagrin!