Friday, April 02, 2010

How I spent my blogging vacation

Staying away from the computer except for work & bookkeeping for a few months left me with more than a little extra time. There was home organization, half marathon and marathon training, experimental cooking, big volunteer projects at the school... but I'm not one to sit idle. To put that extra time to good use, I chose something off my "Someday, I'd like to_____" list. I picked Learn to Sew.

My mother sews. Not just the simple hems and repairs - she made costumes for halloween and school history fairs, dresses, curtains. (She's quite handy.) My grandmother was even better, tailoring her own suits, making fancy window treatments, doing her own reupholstering. Me? Nothing since I was an 8-10 year old in 4H Club.

I have a 3rd grade daughter. She, like many 3rd grade girls, has an American Girl Doll. She wants her AG doll, Molly, to have an extensive wardrobe. A wonderful thought, until you go into the AG Store and take a look at the prices for each outfit. $20-30 a pop... OUCH!

Then I found out McCalls, Butterick and Simplicity all have patterns for 18" dolls. Not just period costumes - shorts, shirts, dresses, tights, track suits, coats, etc. The fabric requirements are 1/4-1/2 yard, making bargain hunting in the remnant section a breeze.

Add that to my love of handmade aprons, and the fraying status of my favorite two vintage models, the approach of holiday gift giving, and sewing seemed to be the right skill to learn. Bought a sewing machine and set to working my way through the first few projects.

I figured I could manage a few things, but had no idea I'd end up loving the process. The planning, measuring and order of sewing a garment appeals to the same part of me that loves making maps. (With only a handful of map projects the last several months, I think the sewing helped keep my brain from stagnating.)

What started as a dabble, became something a little bigger. I've now got a stack of finished AG clothes, some of which have been bought by other moms, and a uniform wardrobe which did fairly well in the school auction. DD has a growing wardrobe of skirts, peasant tops, and dresses from both current and vintage patterns. Aprons and bags are making great gifts, when I can bear to part with them. I've even managed a couple of 1950s pattern dresses for myself, with plans for a couple more, now that the weather is warming.

Learning how to sew has made changed the way I look at some other parts of daily life, too. What's even better, it's making my daughter look at things differently. More about that next week, though. I have an A-line summer dress to cut out for DD, a hem to let down on a pair of B1's pant (he's hit 6'1", when did that happen?!), and a zipper to add to my soon-to-be favorite summer dress.

Happy weekend! And a blessed Easter to those celebrating.


Slamdunk said...

Happy belated Easter to you.

Wow, great creations. A few years ago, the Mrs. mentioned wanting to learn how to sew so I checked with some insiders and gave her a gift of a nice sewing machine. I think it has left the box one time thus far... Oh well.

mappchik said...


You know, it's possible the Mrs. will pick up the sewing machine and dig in at some point... when the kids are older. Perhaps when the need for costumes, curtains and hem repair all hit in the same week. And, if your daughter develops a fondness for quirky clothes... making tops & dresses for DD is far cheaper than shopping at the kiddie boutiques.