Saturday, October 18, 2008

A lost art.

I love my sewing machine.
It's not fancy.
It's simple, just like me.
Mrs. Dunbar asked me to share a bit about sewing so here I go...

My mom handed it down to me and I pretty much taught myself how to sew.  When it broke, all I wanted for Christmas was to have it fixed.  The man at the sewing machine shop tried his best to talk Jason out of fixing it (a new machine would have cost less) but I was insistent.  I am so comfortable with it and can't imagine learning another one.  It's basic stitches are all that I need, and although sometimes I am a bit tempted by fancier versions, I come back again and again to my trusty Singer.

If you are just starting out all you really need is a basic machine.  You can find them for around $100.  A hand me down machine is great too, but I would really suggest that you take it in for a tune up.  This may sound cheesy, but they do have motors and just like cars, if they sit around unused for an extended period of time they don't work right.  You might be trying to sew and become easily frustrated, only to realize that it is the machine's fault, not your own.

As for where I buy fabric, this is a tough one.  I am a total fabric brat.  But, this is how I look at it:  if I am going to spend a couple hours making something, I want it to last and be beautiful.  For the most part I don't sew to save money, lets be honest, how much easier would it be to hit the clearance rack at Old Navy and buy an outfit for $3.97?  I sew because it makes me happy and what I am creating is much more unique than what you can buy a the mall.

I buy nearly all of my fabric on Etsy.  Once in a while I come across amazing fabrics at JoAnn's (love the 40% coupons) and I buy basics like solids and polka dots there.  But nothing comes close to Etsy's fabric shops.  I figure that the money spent on shipping is offset by the tax and gas I save by shopping from home.  You can expect to pay an average of $8 a yard, but it is really worth it when you compare the quality and design.  Some of my favorite shops are: Fabric Closet, Above All Fabric, Down Shadow Lane, and Fabric Supplies.

Earlier this week at Disneyland, Halley and Lucy were wearing matching Halloween dresses that I made for them last year using this tutorial.  We were stopped dozens and dozens of times and I secretly wished I had a whole bin of them in my stroller to sell.  I could have made enough money to renew our passes that expire soon.  But my point is, a lady in her 80's came up to me and grabbed my hands.  She asked if I made the dresses and when I replied yes, she looked at me with tears in her eyes.
"You know it's a lost art.  Bless you for doing this."
Then she walked away.
It was so sweet.  I don't think that sewing is a lost art.  It isn't so much of a necessity as it once was, but I think with the help of shows like Project Runway and sites that support handmade such as Etsy, it is quietly making a resurgence.

So grab a machine, buy some yummy fabric and start sewing.  It is so much easier than you think!

7 comments:

  1. Yea! You are amazing...infact you have been my inspiration to dust off my old sewing machine!

    Thank you... and thanks Irene for asking great questions..love ya!

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  2. Thanks for the encouragement. Sewing on a machine is probably the only "crafty" thing I don't do...yet! I have been hinting to my husband at how much I'd love one for Christmas. Can't wait to teach myself. You're truly an inspiration!

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  3. Thanks so much for sharing! After finding your blog and a few others a while back, I've decided that it's soemthing I'd like to do...when I don't have a "real" job...when the kids are occupied...so, basically next to never, but it's the thought that counts, right? maybe?

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  4. i bought myself a machine 9 years ago.
    and my mom showed me how to thread it and i taught myself after that. if you need to learn something it's in the manual! i love that.
    it IS so satisfying to make it yourself. i have made all the curtains in our house. i really want to make some dresses but i can't imagine getting around to it...there always so many pillows to make!
    your machine is a classic. :)
    and i can't imagine learning a new machine either.

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  5. My grandpa gave me his mom's sewing maching from the 40's. It is a kennmore, just like mine!!! It doesn't work, but it is so cool! My Grandpa told me about the day she bought it. Pretty cool!

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  6. I have been clicking around tonight because I have insomnia... ug. But I found your blog and it is great. I heart sewing and mod podge too! I was also totally touched by your What's in a Name series. Blessings from me to you!
    http://elislids.blogspot.com/

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  7. I love those dresses-thanks for the link!!
    Elise

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