Tuesday, January 13, 2009

My Sewing and Knitting Backstory

I have been reading the histories of many fantastic seamstresses in blogland. So many started when the were very young. My sewing and knitting history is long and short at the same time.

I grew up in a fabric store. No, not really but I was there with my mother very often. None of the fabric stores are still in the same place and most are not around anymore but I can clearly picture them in my head due to frequent visitations. My mother sewed beautifully all my life (she started in junior high). She saved the first baby dress she ever made me. She made many, many special dresses for me as I grew up. She would ask me periodically if I wanted to learn to sew but it was never an interest to me when I was young. I was way too busy doing other things. I did take home ec in junior high but had a horrible teacher. My mother couldn't believe the ways she would tell me to construct this one garment I tried to make. This experience really turned me off from taking the time to learn to sew.

Then comes Christmas of 2000. My mother got a new fancy dancy embroidery machine for Christmas. Since she had no need for her old machine she GAVE IT TO ME! I was now very excited to learn. I was 26 and my first child, a daughter, was only 4 months old. I really wanted to learn how to make my daughter cute things. My mom started me out guiding me through my very first garment, a really cute pair of overalls. I was hooked. My mom was a great teacher but I decided that I wanted to have focused time to learn. With my mom learning would be hit and miss whenever we would be able to get the time together. I decided to find a sewing class. I found a wonderful teacher and for a year went every week for 2 hours to learn how to sew. She taught me so much. I really appreciated how she taught me to think outside the box and gave me confidence to not have to follow the pattern guide sheet. She let me make whatever I wanted and guided me through giving me many tips along the way. The garment I will never forget was a pair of real overalls made with purple twill complete with lots of topstitching. By the time I finished them I hated them so much I think I only had my daughter wear them once.

During the summer of 2001 I think sweaters with everything must have been in. I was seeing cute sweaters everywhere and I decided I wanted to learn to make them myself. I contacted a knitting teacher and my mom and I sat a couple of Saturdays on this lady's couch while she taught us to cast on, knit, pearl, increase, and decrease. This was my only knitting instruction. Most of knitting I have taught myself (well, actually, I go to my knitting guru friend all the time with questions).

After the year of sewing classes my husband said that I had learned enough and said I couldn't go back to the classes. They were too expensive. He has no idea how much there is to learn with sewing. Since then I have been learning on my own and stretching myself to get better and do more complicated things. Twice I have gone with my mom to the Sewing and Stitchery Expo (2006 and 2007) and learned a ton of fantastic tips and tricks. The second year I picked up smocking. We are going to go again this year and I am so excited to learn some more. I only really discovered sewing blogs and pattern review (I actually signed up for PR in 2003 but forgot about it and never went to the site) about a year and a half ago. Wow! What a wealth of inspiration and motivation. I have loved this resource and has helped me grow tremendously as a seamstress and a knitter.

So as you can see sewing has always been a part of my life but I only have been doing it myself for the past 8 years. Boy, have I come a long way! I can't wait to see what the next 8 years will hold.

Thanks for stopping by and reading a bit of my history. Have a great day!

Until next time...

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