My Journey Into the World of Sewing

<----I'm making Skirt C (click to enlarge)

My Mom began her sewing career in the womb. So, needless to say by the time I came around she was a pro. In case you think I'm waxing hyperbolic, let me give you an example... For my wedding - my Mom made my dress (hand-beaded bodice), my bridesmaid's dresses, the flower girl dresses and even cross-stitched rice bags. This is not an exaggeration. This is true.

For awhile I tried my hand at sewing. I especially got into it when my youngest sister owned a (fake) cabbage patch doll. I made several outfits for that doll and I'm sure they were lovely. But mostly what I remember about sewing is that I couldn't do it perfectly. That really bugged me. So I quit.

But I never disliked sewing. Not like quilting or stamping or cross-stitch or... well, you get the idea.

And recently I realized that it has been many years since I've given up on perfect. As you may recall, I've even been doing some crafting lately... So why not sew?

Kat!e is starting a single's ward in a few weeks and would like some skirts. My Mom (of course) would be more than happy to make them, but... I decided that I want to try it. Here is my experience so far:

Day 1 - Jo-Ann Fabric Store

Kate and I entered the door without a coupon. Searching for one had been a fail and so we were looking for sale fabric. I have never really spent much time in that part of Jo-Ann but I was pretty sure I could find it. And I did! This was to prove my one success of Day 1.

I realized (almost immediately) that I was going to need a pattern first, because it was likely that the pattern would tell me how much fabric (and what kind?) I would need. So I began looking for patterns. After 5 minutes or so I recalled that they lived in drawers and that there were books that you looked at. I was very proud of this remembrance and eventually I found a table with books of patterns on them.

I chose to look through the book called "Simplicity" for obvious reasons and they had a whole blue-colored section of skirt patterns. I chose one that said "easy" "2-hour" and some other lies.

Kate and I both liked the fuller skirt pattern and so we went off to purchase either 3+ or 4+ yards (we weren't really sure yet and I'll get to that later). We began looking at fabric. Eeek! I was definitely out of my comfort zone here. How were these stupid fabrics organized? Color? No. Fabric type? Not really. Anyhow, it didn't really matter because Kate gravitated toward a particular pattern that caught her eye. And we took it up to the counter.

Before placing it on the counter I took a minute to try to figure out if it was the 3+ or the 4+ yardage that we needed (NO, it did not strike me as odd that I was looking for that much fabric. Maybe it strikes you, but remember - NEWBIE here). I asked Kate, "Isn't it weird that if you want a 48" length skirt you want 4+ yards and if you want a 60" ... wait, 60" skirt? OH. I bet that's the width of the fabric! It all makes sense now!" I was very proud. We were only about 45 minutes into our trip at this point. Please don't laugh. Yet.

So, I placed the fabric onto the cutting table and the lady very kindly (and s.l.o.w.l.y) cut out our fabric. She didn't cut through both widths of the fabric as I'd seen when I was shopping as a child with my Mom. I was thinking maybe she was new like me and cut her some slack. (Perhaps you are laughing now?)

I won't bore you with the details of the notions hunt (although, for those of you who write patterns - you may want to think about adding straight pins to the list of notions. Just a thought.). I eventually found the elastic for the waist and thread (that I still hope will work - MAN, there are a lot of thread types!!). The color matches and the spool fits on my machine (and I even got the bobbin filled!) so it works for me.

Day 1 Cont. - Cutting

I came home and cut out the pattern pieces I needed (and sent Kate back to the store for straight pins). Then, I (well, we - it took both of us) laid out the fabric in the living room. I think it was at this point that I began to realize just how much fabric 3+ yards is. It took up my whole living room floor. And, I also realized that I was going to be cutting out a lot of pieces of fabric. Twelve. For a skirt. That seemed excessive for an "easy" "two-hour" project. Some of them are even called "godet" pieces. My Mom is a seamstress. I know what godet means.

But I cut them out.

Somewhere in the middle of cutting out the fabric my (brilliant) mind began to think about how the pieces would go together. And this was when I realized that perhaps. Maybe. Okay, probably large gingham checks were not the best pattern choice for this skirt. You can laugh now. I did.

And still it wasn't until I shared this experience with my Mom and told her about the slow lady at Jo-Ann... well, she wasn't SLOW, she was kindly cutting along the straight line so that I could match all the pieces up when I cut out the skirt. *snort*

I have all of the pieces cut out and folded and sitting in my living room. I have not been brave enough yet to actually begin sewing. I did start matching up notches but they didn't match up very well (which is strange because I really was careful when I cut these pieces out) and so I set it aside for another day.

Possibly today. I'll keep you posted.


You may have noticed I never once mentioned the cost of this unmade skirt. I am not going to mention it. This is a learning activity. Like a class. Yes. Like a class.

9 Response to "My Journey Into the World of Sewing"

  1. mcb says:

    Have to sister bought a sewing machine, lots of patterns on sale, materials on sale for her 2 grands and for herself. Made one top for one grand....didn't look right and got thrown out when she moved. Nothing else has been sewn......

    Whit says:

    lol! I'm going to keep plugging away. We'll see how it goes. :)

    shauna says:

    Being one of the smartest people on this planet - you will do this!

    shauna says:

    P.S. Did you know the links for your photo albums don't work?!?

    Oh Whit,
    You are so cute!! When I went to work today I found 12 yrds of fabric sitting in my chair...seems the word got out at the high school that the Speech Teacher is going to make poodle skirts for the special education 50's themed prom. Which means I will have to drag in my sewing machine and serger and recut the pattern I have because it calls for 4 yrds and the "helper" only bought 3 yrds of 4 different colors...:-) My daughter who lives in NYC would be glad to give you some sewing lessons...pssst...I'll let you in on my skirt secret...I go to JC Penney's Kohl's or Nordstrom Rack for my fabulous skirt finds. Love you!! Pandora

    Whit says:

    Mom - I know about the broken links. I'm still moving stuff over since switching sites.

    Pandora - lol - I am a deal finder for a living ( but I really AM going to learn to sew. The thing that interests me is the variety and choice involved in making my own. =D

    Whit says:


    Good luck with the skirts your making. :)

    Laree says:

    The only good way to get Joann's coupons is to sign up for their email/mailing lists.

    I laughed SO HARD in this description. I could tell where the story was going - and I've been there!

    but I love, love, LOVE sewing. There is something so satisfying at making something cute to wear/sleep in/ under. Good luck! Hang in there, you'll make it!

    Whit says:

    I'm on their email list (I buy a lot of yarn), but there just wasn't a decent in-store coupon for that week. Ah well...

    I think I'm going to start tomorrow. But, really this time. :)

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