Saturday, August 21, 2010

So, Sew!!

When I was a 16 or 17, and learning to sew, my mother gave me a pattern for a halter top.  I loved it and set out to make it, even though I've learned in the intervening years that heavy-chested women shouldn't necessarily wear halter tops.  I got all the pieces cut out, set up the sewing machine, and went to work.  I probably worked on that top, a fairly simple pattern, for four or five hours and when I was done, I ran to the bathroom to try it on.  Imagine my surprise when my awesome halter top didn't fit right.  No, that's an understatement, it didn't fit at all.  It gaped open in the front, showing my ta-tas to the world, while the armpits were restrictive to the point of painful.

Rather than taking it off, I stormed into the living room, one arm over my chest, and frowned at my mother.  Mom burst into laughter and when she got that out of her system she informed me that I had sewn the armpits together in the front and the front to the armpits.  You see, the top was three parts, the torso and two breast pieces. The breast pieces had a long side and a short side.  Rather than sewing the short sides together at the front, I sewed the long sides together, which accounts for the gaping chest area. I spent an hour and a half ripping out all the seams on the top and pinning it back together the right way.  I got it fixed, but that story's stuck with me.

So, why am I regaling you with my tale of halter tops gone wrong?  Simple, I'm going to dip my toes in the sewing pool once more. I'm going to attempt to learn (re-learn?) to sew!  I don't currently own a sewing machine, but I plan to buy one this week.  I'm going to get the Brother XL2610 from  It's gotten excellent reviews and it's pink (that's it over there on the right), what more could a girl want?!  I've been looking around and I think this is the best machine for the money.  I thought about getting a Singer, which is what Melanie has, or a Kenmore, which is what my mother has, but I really like the Brother the best. I consulted with my local sewing sage (read: Melanie) and she agrees that it's a good machine.  Yay!!

I'm ordering it from Amazon, rather than buying it locally because it's not available here and the Amazon price is great.  Once I get it, I'll go shopping for accessories, like scissors, pins and pincushion, things like that.  I can't wait, I'm really excited to pick this back up.  While I never was great at it, I think that now, with a bit of attention to detail, I could be really great at it.  I find I'm much better at things now a days then I was when I was a teen.  I mean, I couldn't cook and now I'm a really good cook.  I couldn't cross-stitch and now I'm pretty okay at it, even though I never do it. I think this will be the same.

I plan to start small, with straight seams and make things like bags, aprons or simple skirts, things like that. I also don't plan to wear anything I sew until I'm good at it and can have faith in my ability to make something that will hold up. I'll definitely take pictures when I finally do get started making something!

Ultimately, a lot of the reason I've decided to take up this particular hobby is my grandmother.  My grandma Wilma was a great seamstress, she was really, really great at it.  My mom is also a great seamstress, though I don't think she's sewn anything in years.  When we were kids, mom use to make us these really cute baby-doll shirts that we loved.  Now that my grandma's gone, I feel myself drawn toward this hobby because it's something I can learn that will help me feel close to her.  I've been assured that doesn't sound creepy by both Matt and Melanie, so if it does, I'm sorry, blame them.

Besides, screwing up simple patterns has been a fond childhood memory for me.  You should hear the story about the palazzo pants!  I'm the only person I know who can repeat the same damn mistake over and over.  I kept sewing one leg on inside out, I did it four times before finally giving up on those stupid pants. Never making pants again, no joke there! No really, even now... never making pants again!

Off to shop for sewing books and dream of my first sewing project.  Good night!


  1. Well, good to hear you have decided to try again haha. My Kenmore machine croaked years ago and my current machine is a Brother...I love it, it's lightweight and easy to use. Don't give up on making pants they aren't that hard...the method that pattern told you to use was probably more difficult than the way I make them...I will show you sometime how to do it easier =). I haven't sewn anything from scratch in the recent past, but, I have done mending and those pants I had on when you got to Plainview are the ones that I altered because they were soooo big on me. I made the purse and the ring pillow for Candi's wedding too...but that was a while ago. Oh I made Candi a throw pillow for Candi's room when she switched clothes though in a long while... Well, good luck with your sewing adventure! Love Ya, Mom
    PS Grandma would be proud...

  2. Thanks, Mom!! I looked at getting a Kenmore, I know you had a Montgomery Ward before that. Ultimately, the Brother seemed like the best choice. Melanie said that Kenmore changes their bobbins every few years, so finding parts is trouble. I don't want that at all. The Brother I'm getting has gotten excellent reviews on both Amazon and Wal-Mart's website, so I feel pretty confident that it's a good machine. It also has a drop-in bobbin, which I like, as opposed to the one on the shelf at Wal-Mart, which had a regular bobbin casing.

    I'm really excited, one of the only problems I've found is finding good plus size patterns. I've found several, many of them are Simplicity patterns. I really want to make a 1950's Rockabilly style dress, or a swing dress, but can't find a plus size pattern for it. I've been looking at vintage dress patterns, but women must be getting bigger because those patterns are fairly small sizes. Even the ones that go up to "plus sizes" aren't plus enough. I just love the vintage dresses, they're so awesome. Might look for the rockabilly or swing dress patterns in a size close to mine and have Melanie help me size it up, she has experience with that.

    Anyway, yeah, I'm going to start small and work my way up to garments. I'm going to start with small projects, like handbags and aprons.

    Love you!

  3. I wish I could sew! I tried learning in junior high, but my hateful home ec teacher told me I was terrible and I should "never touch a sewing machine again!" I was so discouraged I never did again. I love certain simple-cut dresses I've had over the years that my mother always assured me would be very simple to make, but because I've got a total sewing machine phobia I don't expect to ever learn.

    Good luck!

  4. I kind of have the opposite going on. When I was in Jr. High I learned to sew on a surger (which I will never do again, threading those things is a nightmare) and made a pair of shorts that lasted forever! They were simple, but comfortable and sturdy. I was so encouraged by that, I wanted to learn to sew!

    I'm sorry you had such a miserable experience with it!

  5. Great story! Good luck getting back into sewing, and check out for free patterns, sewing tutorials, tips and tricks!

  6. Congrats on the sewing project!

    i love my lil baby blue 3/4 Kenmoore machine. I have only used it a few times in the last couple of years but i still love it.

  7. Your childhood sewing story was HILARIOUS. I am sure you will have a better experience this time around, and what an adorable machine! Best wishes on your sewing venture. =)