Learning to sew

I’ve spent much of the last year and a half learning to sew clothes and it’s been quite the journey, but in all the best possible ways. When I started out on this the driving force was to be able to make my own pants, since they’re the hardest thing to find a good fit on when shopping ready to wear. Little did I know how much I was going to learn about my body, what I like, what fits me well, and how much practice it takes to make clothes I’m excited to wear.

I took an online class to learn, that came with three patterns and so many vidoes about sewing in general and helping through the difficult bits of the patterns. I can’t say enough good things about Closet Core Patterns and this class, it’s great. From helping me to think about what type of machine to buy, to helping me learn the basics of sewing with the machine I got, to thinking about fit and patterns and fabric and how to make all of those things work together to make a successful garment. I’ve bought a second class from them on how to make jeans and that’ll be my upcoming winter project, making my own jeans.

I’ve made four pairs of pants, three pairs of shorts, a couple of tops from woven fabric, and four things from knit fabrics (t-shirts and one t-shirt dress). That’s the total of what I’ve made that I like and actually wear. That means I’ve made things I don’t really like, that I don’t wear, and they’ve gone back in the fabric bin to be used as scraps for other projects. That’s OK with me, that’s how I learn. It was the exact same way I learned how to crochet and knit, many of my early yarn projects are things I don’t wear or use at all, and I’m totally OK with that.

The biggest thing with learning to sew that’s made an impact is how much I’ve gotten to know my body and my own personal style. As I make patterns I’m figuring out how to make them fit me, which isn’t always easy, but so many online resources have helped me along the way. And I’ve thought long and hard about what I wear and what I like to wear, which means I’m choosing both better patterns and better fabrics to go with them, so the final product is something I’m excited about wearing.

One of the biggest hurdles for me is that I don’t have a fabric shop where I live, which means I’m ordering all my fabric online, which is hard. But guess what? Another helpful resource came my way and I can email the folks at Stonemountain and Daughter Fabric, down south of me in Berkeley, and they’ve been great about giving me ideas of fabrics to go with the patterns I have on my list to make when I’ve emailed with a list of questions. Just this month we were down in the Bay Area and I got to go there in person and feel the fabrics and ask questions in person and it was so fun. It’ll be a regular stop for me whenever we’re in the area.

So I’m sticking with this sewing thing and I’m starting to really enjoy it. It’s slow. It takes time. It keeps me away from the internet and screens. I think long and hard about what to make, what size to make, I usually make a muslin as a test run (for woven fabric projects), and then I sweat it out as I cut into the real fabric. I’ve made enough garments between sewing and knitting that most days I’m wearing something I made, and I gotta say, I love that feeling.