Thursday, October 03, 2013

Secret Identity...or why I chose underwear to define my signature style.

When I decided I wanted to participate with the Project Run & Play sew along. I had great dreams and realistic expectations of what would happen. That I've sewn along twice is amazing to me since my sewing time is so limited.

Yes, the second sew along is a pairs of panties and yes, they took me almost no time to sew. However that is part of who I am as a sewer...sewist...sewanista? My time is limited. If I add a task to my already overflowing brain it has to be something that fits into my schedule. It has to be quick and easy so my mind doesn't go into panic mode.

Sure I do make things for Wub that take days and days to sew. I love to sew things for her that are beautiful and full of wonderful details. Which brings me to the second part of who I am when I'm sewing.

Five years ago I didn't want to sew. I hated to sew. I will pin that blame squarely on my eighth grade home ec teacher. She so thoroughly spoiled the act of sewing for  me that I forgot that I ever liked it in the first place. It took twenty two years and one amazing little girl to change all that.

One day I was perusing Etsy and came across an amazing dress. There is of course no link to show you the dress but I can remember it very clearly. It was a beautiful black and white print of gorgeous pocket watches and fobs. The bottom was a wide band of deep red and it had red straps across the shoulders. I was dumb struck with longing to own it.

Or make it. I mean I may have hated to sew but in reality this dress was two rectangles with some straps and shirring. How hard could shirring be? So I looked it up on the internet. And although all I had was a $10.00 kids sewing machine that had never been out of the package I made the trip to JoAnn's for elastic thread and remnant of fabric to see if I could pull it off. I made a test dress and it worked beautifully. I couldn't wait to try it again. I made her three of those rectangle shirred dresses before my $10.00 machine couldn't take it anymore. With no sewing machine I figured that was the end of the brief sewing madness.

Then Mr. Husband Man bought me a real machine for my birthday. Boy howdy, did I make some rectangle dresses then. Including a black and white print with a red hem and ties.
I scoured the internet for tutorials on how to make clothes that didn't require a pattern. After all it was a shorts pattern that sealed my previous hatred of sewing. So I made countless elastic waistband skirts,  shirred tops and aprons. Then I came across Charity from Indietutes fantastic instructions on how to make a peasant blouse. Not quite a pattern but it broke me out of  my comfort zone. Then I discovered her Solar Dress Pattern.  and I decided it was time to sew something from a real pattern. Her directions were so clear and the process was so painless that it made me hungry for more. 

From there I haven't looked back. I still use the internet and the wonderful resources that women and men share as an inspiration daily. I wouldn't be able to sew the things I do without Dana from Made, Charity from Indietutes. Zabet from AntiCraft. Melissa from MellySews or liZ and Elizabeth  from Simple Simon. Plus countless others who share their skills and knowledge on blogs and YouTube videos across the interwebs.

Along the way I discovered two things about myself. One is I really only enjoy sewing for Wubby. I love MHM to the ends of the earth and back but I've only ever sewn him a pair of pajama pants. Two is that the things I love most about sewing are often the things that no one sees or would notice. 

That three inch deep hem on a dress? Love it! it's a special touch that says hand made not store bought. The eensy weensy rolled hem on the bottom of a shirt? Yes, it took me forever to figure out how do it but it's the perfect way to finish of a delicate piece of sewing. Binding all of her collars on with pink bias because that's her favorite color? Making pockets from a totally unexpected fabric? Lining a school jumper with a sweet surprise? These are all things I do to show my daughter how much I love her, how much I want to give her something special and unique. Because she is special and unique and I want to celebrate that. 

One of the things that I love most about my daughter is her love (okay obsession with) Spider-man. Though I'm not really big on showcasing most licensed characters on my kid's clothing. There are a few notable exceptions. Charlie and Lola, Dr. Seuss and Spider-Man. My favorite way to give in to licensed characters? Underpants. Sure no one is supposed to see them (She is five so I have no delusions that they aren't occasionally out on view.) but it gives her a way to carry a beloved character throughout the day. 

Since they don't make Spider-Man underwear for little girls I took matters into my own hands. Now she has a unique article of clothing. A happy little secret that will hopefully remind her of how much I love her.
You can read how I transformed an ordinary tee shirt into something super here.

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