09 September 2008

Sewing Schmewing

I’ve been bitten once again by the sewing bug as happens from time to time. I’ve taken a few sewing classes and possess some basic sewing skills. I can sew a straight seam, install a zipper and have even set a sleeve. The thing that I lack the most is the patience to see the project through from beginning to end. There’s a particular dress pattern that I was itching to tackle all summer but every time I took the pattern pieces out of the package I was instantly panic stricken and stuffed them right back into their envelope. I’ve decided that to get back into the sewing groove I should start easy. Instead of trying to sew a garment from scratch I’ve been making a list of pieces to be on the lookout for at thrift stores that I can alter and experiment with without worrying about ruining an entire bolt of fabric. A few of my ideas are:

  • Finding high waisted 70’s skirts and shortening them into swingy mini-skater skirts.
  • Using the leftover fabric from the hem of the skirt to make some sort of suspenders (or braces depending on where you’re from!) to button onto the waist of the skirt.
  • Finding worn-in flannel shirts and taking in the side seams and shortening the sleeves to make skinny button downs.
  • Finding high waisted pants to cut off into shorts. Something like these.
In the mean time, enjoy this collection of photos from Iowa State University Library Special Collections' photostream of young women learning the ins and outs of garment construction, from studying textiles to draping to weaving their own fabric all the while prim and proper in their sweater sets and circle skirts.


keira said...

I feel the same exact way about starting from scratch sewing projects... totally overwhelming... but I shorten the hem on almost every single vintage dress I buy and it's super easy and very satisfying. I do it so much that when my friends see me in a new dress and I tell them how I altered it shorter they respond with, "of course you did." My sewing machine's broken so I do it all by hand, too.

Love the idea of creating buttoned suspenders on a skirt.

Louise said...

I have grand sewing plans but I don't even know how to thread up a machine, being able to do fairly minor but effective alterations would be a crucial skill to have. You obviously already do some altering! But I'm keen to see how things like taking in shirts work for you.

Adiel said...

I'm just getting into sewing and altering. I need to get my own sewing machine soon, right now I just use my roommates.
Recently I made a skirt for myself from scratch, it took me a whole Saturday. When someone requested I make the same skirt for them, it only took me 2 hours start to finish. That is encouraging to me!
Good luck with your projects!

copperoranges said...

my grandmother taught me to sew when i was a child, but i am so afraid to do it without her guiding me along! i hope you post pictures of your endeavors!

casey said...

Though I do love sewing garments from scratch, there is something just as fun about reworking an existing garment into something new! I do that a lot because I don't always have the time to sew things from a pattern. Just today I picked up a 90s dress from the thrift store that had distinctly 30s details. It just needs a hem and the sleeves to be reworked, and it'll be a fun, late 1930s style! :)

I can't wait to see what you do... I think these ideas are great (especially the suspenders/braces idea--I've been itching to do that for awhile myself!). Be sure to post some pics! ;)

Sally Jane said...

Thanks so much for the comments and the encouragement. I'll be sure to post some photos of my projects, whatever they end up being.

keira: Yes, I'm always shortening the hems on my dresses as well. I can't imagine doing it all by hand!

louise: I'm excited to try altering shirts too. I've never tried my hand at it but I'll post some photos if it works out.

copperoranges: That's very sweet! I promise photos of whatever I end up finding to sew.

casey: I've seen what you can sew from scratch and it's amazing! I'm nowhere near your skill level but I'm working on it. The dress you found sounds wonderful.

The Clothes Horse said...

I love those photographs...I wonder how staged they are...

Anonymous said...

hehe cute old photos, love when you post those, but cannot sew for the life of me

StrikeMatch said...

Seems like everyone has sewing on the brain. Those shorts look amazing and I'm sure you'll look great in something similar.

Atalante said...

Hi, I'm new at your blog. Nice to meet you.
I feel the same about sewing sometimes. Even though I visited fashion school and definitely know how to do sew. I often have an idea but can't bring myself to make a pattern and cut the fabric. Because of that fabric is piling up..soon I will drown *gg*

Leah said...

I adore those photos! I wonder how close to modern classes they are.

I have to admit, I love sewing! From scratch and alterations. I think a lot of the time, after knowing a few basics, it's just having the confidence. The only way you get better at anything is practice!

yarnovermovement said...

oh thanks for posting & sharing these photos!tara-lynn