A decade in the making

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 feel like I'm taking crazy pills!" -Mugatu

I’m no expert, but I’m pretty sure this pair of elasticized underwear wasn’t supposed to turn out wider than shoulder width…

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.


Really ridiculously good looking

Stay tuned for my next installment: Chiffon Chagrin!


5 thoughts on “A decade in the making

    • Thanks for the words of encouragement! The funny thing is that I actually just finished an apron, which is a gift for someone else. After the knickers, though, it was a breeze!

  1. Patience – I could do with a little more of it too! I’ve slowed down a bit and it’s had a really positive impact on my sewing. Love the purple satin!

    • Ooh yes. I’m starting to slow down more because I’ve realized that the alternative is a ton of seam ripping, which isn’t nearly as fun. Thanks for stopping by!

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