Does something have to be hard to be a sewing achievement? Do you need to slave away for hours and hours at the machine and cutting table, and turn out something completely unique and immaculate to celebrate a major triumph?
I don’t think so.
Lately I’ve seen a few projects pop up and they haven’t been a couture garment but they have marked developing a new skill, overcoming a hurdle, technique refinement or beating a difficult fabric. I enjoy these posts as much as the posts that are full of monumental sewing achievements, like a couture dress, a tailored jacket, jeans that look just like RTW. Yes, those posts blow me away and I often read them and think ‘I wish I could do that’ or ‘if only I had the time’. However I think celebrating our little achievements is important. Cumulatively these will lead to bigger things but it’s important to enjoy the sightseeing stops on a sewing journey. Everyone starts somewhere and I’m sure even the rock stars of the sewing world have their sewing nemesis.
In the last couple of weeks the following have popped up:-
- Goodbye Valentino posted a Kwik Sew 2498 top. She commented that this year she had decided to sew challenging projects – but this project qualifies as it has five buttons – apparently she’s not a button fan! I think that’s great, it’s not a couture top but its a celebration of overcoming a sewing hurdle, and yet she’s churned out made an amazing dress that counts as couture but celebrates this Kwik Sew project too. I admire and love that.
- Kim-ing. I love everything about this blog. She’s quite new to sewing but her enthusiasm, sense of fun and sharing is infectious. I’ve loved watching her Thurlow journey (because I’ve been there too!) and I think there are another pair to come! Or her Cambie dress with its invisible zip and lining. She’s a stitcher who bumps along over the hurdles and lets us have giggle on the way, I mean this would have to be one of the most light-hearted and joyful sewing blog pictures I’ve seen, I love it!
- Bimble and Pimble – she made leggings! Yes, leggings are not hard sewing in themselves (although she did try hard to make it so) but she drafted them herself from an Etsy tutorial! And oh my goodness they are wicked things! Check out the fabric!!
- Sylkotwist she conquered some very temperamental dobby fabric and made a lovely pair of Iris shorts. She’s also nailed Peony and got it to fit beautifully – which was beyond me. I got so cranky with this pattern, I ripped out the zip and binned it before the camera came out!
- Thornberry’s made some more Renfrews and so has Sew Squirrel and SusiehomemakerMDand Gillian they all find ways to sew this pattern and make it their own. The sewing blog world seems to be afflicted by Renfrewitis!
There are hoards of others I can mention (sorry if you feel I’ve missed out but trust me I’ve read your blog!) but there are many more that I can’t because they are not deemed fancy or clever enough to blog about. I think that’s a shame. We all often bang on about ‘the simple things in life are often the best’ but it seems we don’t think so in regard to sewing.
So what’s been my achievement lately?
Making a simple gathered skirt with an invisible zipper closure. Exactly easy peasy.
I love making these skirts. This is my third and I can see the simple improvements in my sewing skills. For these skirts my go-to guide has been Gertie’s full gathered skirt posts.
I’d been having a rather tough and arduous time at work. Feeling very flat on Friday evening, I spotted some owl quilting fabric I had purchased for my eldest daughter. She’s got an obsession with owls this year, it’s her classroom theme. She’s a very diligent student and adores her teacher – so it’s all about owls in 2012. Too often I promise to make them something and never quite get around to it.
I decided to remedy that.
So I cut out four rectangles of fabric, a piece of interfacing and started sewing. Less than 90 minutes later she was wearing this.
Now it’s not a WOW project. However this is the third skirt I have sewn for my daughters and it gives me simply joy because of the improvement in my zip insertion skills, drafting and finishing.
I had planned to add piping to the waistband – but she just wanted the skirt NOW. So I obliged.
- I’ve gone from no zip or button – just a tie waist. To a centred zip and button. To finally an invisible zip. This one is not perfectly neat but it’s getting better! I should have finished this in the same way I finished the Hazel zip (which was perfect), I’m not too fussed though – I’m sure there will be a next time. The girls hunt the bargain tables for new skirt fabric every chance they get!
- I’ve learnt how to accurately calculate waistbands and finish the waistbands neatly.
- I can do French seams (this is how I finished the side seams).
- I can draft a simple skirt and have a child beam with pride because it fits them perfectly – and only them. And they are happy because their Mum took the time to make it for them.
- Most importantly, I feel much happier about life;
- and my daughter adores her skirt.
And perhaps those last two are the most important achievements of all to come out of this little sewing project… it might be simple but to someone else is means the world.
I’m not saying that creating a couture dress or making a tailored jacket is not an achievement (because they are some of my ambitions and I am awestruck by these projects and most jealous) however I think we all need to be a little kinder to ourselves and celebrate the simple joys and improvements in our techniques as well – however simple the project might seem.
What’s been your major sewing achievement lately?