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I Sew Now. Sewing Is Cool.

I have not written in a long while.  This is because I’ve decided (ish) to take a vacation from the constraints of my own mind.  Not in a druggy way, just in the way that instead of constantly running the maddening wheels inside my head, I’ve directed my frustrated and overactive energies outward.  I have been doing a lot of crafts.

A true story: As a youth I wanted to be a fashion designer.  In a serious way, more serious at least than the way in which I wanted to be an Olympic archer (before The Hunger Games made it cool!)  Ask any family member, my party line was always that I wanted to go to FIT.  I’d pore over magazines and did endless, countless designs and illustrations.  I never really went down that road because I just honestly didn’t know how.  How do people learn to make clothes?  I suppose in schools like FIT, but how do you learn to do it well enough to get in to those schools?  Oh well, no matter, I chose a different path.

ANYWAY, the point is this: I finally got to it, and it turns out learning to make clothes was just as spontaneous and relatively easy as all good things.  When I wanted to start climbing, I asked a friend who’s a veteran climber, and she said merely, “Start climbing.”  Simple as that.  Likewise, when I’d finally had enough of just reading DIY ideas on Pinterest, I hauled out my sister’s old sewing machine and just started sewing.

First I made something simple and utilitarian, with materials I already had: a tee shirt quilt.  I had dozens upon dozens of old tee shirts I never wear but can’t bear to toss out (the one from my first concert, the one from the college TV station show I was on, and so many others.)  So I sewed them together and now I sleep beneath them.

My beloved quilt.

Some not-fit-for-apparel favorites include the Italian pub crawl tee shirt with the David drinking a pint.

An interlude on this topic: the internet gets a bad rap sometimes, usually from people of a generation that didn’t grow up with it, and I get that.  It’s impersonal and ruins our attention spans and is largely a waste of time, but there is much good to it.  To wit: without the internet I could not have learned to sew.  I was equipped only with an old sewing machine my sister got for one birthday in high school, its manual long since lost.  Not long into my project, the fabric jammed into the machine and got stuck.  The internet showed me how to take my machine apart, retrieve the fabric, and put it back together.  It showed me how to thread properly, and how to set my machine for the stitches I needed.  It explained to me when I was skipping stitches that all my machine needed was a good cleaning, and how to gut and oil it like the Tin Man.  Online is also where I found the simple tutorial for how to make a swingy little skirt, which I took up for my next project.  So easy a caveman could do it!

The first garment I ever made – not half bad, eh?

…and the second. Lunatic, but chic.

And so that’s what I’ve been up to.  Scouring the internet for sewing tutorials and becoming an expert at sewing machine maintenance.  I made two skirts, one of which is pleather, which for some reason seemed to me like a good fabric to start with (?!)  It was not.  But I did it!  These skirts even have zippers, and I have worn them both long enough to prove they hold together.  It’s quite a proud accomplishment for me, and addictive.  There’s a wonderful satisfaction to creating something out of rectangles of fabric and rolls of thread, and pleasure to letting your mind rest and your hands work.

I knew I was saving that polo from the tenth grade for a reason!

The creative yen has taken hold of me.  I also made a few hair bows, a detachable collar with studs, and started work on a new portrait.  Next up is another skirt, then on to other clothes?  Project Runway one day?!  At least it’s something to do while watching Netflix.


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