Old Dog, New Tricks

Sewing has entered and exited my life many times for more than fifty years. Each time I picked it up again I had to get up to speed and often my rusty skill set wouldn’t be up to the challenge. Hand embroidery, my earliest skill, has always been the first to recover but I have wadded up many a larger (an more expensive!) garment (thereafter known as a wadder) because I’d get lost with nowhere to turn.

But when our seventh grandchild came into view and I was retired, I had to try sewing again.

The landscape of the sewing world I reawakened to was astonishing. Why?

  • The Internet. It seems quaint to capitalize the familiar word now but for today’s purposes, let’s just give it that little boost.
    • One reason I have been able to renew old skills, relearn processes and learn new ones so quickly is simple: There is a blog, a tutorial or a YouTube video for everything.  Not to mention online classes. All hail Craftsy!
    • Moreover, my fabric and notions shopping opportunities have opened up to the whole world. I’m no longer confined to what box stores and fabric chains have to offer. This is especially significant because we live pretty far from the beaten path.
  • Bloggers. Where did all you whippersnappers come from? Mommy bloggers in Utah, chic Scandinavian knitters, twenty-something New Yorkers sporting dresses my mother wore when she was a twenty-something New Yorker…the whole world is sewing and writing about it. Beautifully, I might add.
  • Sewing Computers. My thirty-five year old Kenmore sewing machine went to its final resting place to be replaced by a Bernina B580 Sewing computer in 2012. Ninety percent of my frustration level disappeared on the spot. It’s cool that it has lots of stitches and an embroidery module but what I really love is its flat out reliability. It allows me to be fearless.
  • Smart phones. I snap pictures of ready to wear (RTW), fabrics, street fashion and my own work incessantly. Why my own work? I swear I can see things better that way. The camera imposes a distance between something in which I’ve invested time and allows me to see it more objectively. Or I think I can.

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Hollyburn Sew Along

I’m so proud to post this badge: I participated in my first sew-along. As the (charmingly yellow!)  badge reveals, the sew-along was hosted at http://www.mymessings.blogspot.com.  (Which is in Melbourne, Australia, so I’ve been virtually travelling!) You can visit over there to see the indie pattern company Sewaholic‘s skirt as sewn by other participants.

Craft as Therapy Hollyburn skirt model 005 Craft as Therapy Hollyburn skirt model 001 I Googled “sew along” and found many sites where one can join in this activity, which is kind of a cross between a tutorial and a quilting bee. The Sew Along-er or sets the pace, stepping the Sew Along-ees through a pattern for which they have previously bought fabric and notions.  See? More interactive than a tutorial and more instructive than a quilting bee. And if you want to show off your handiwork, you have to finish it, so it’s very motivational, too. The instructions stay up at the website, though, and you can go back and do the sew along at any point later, too. I don’t think my first sew along will be my last!

It was a happy coincidence that my daughter had to swing home from college anyway and could model the skirt I made for her. It’s done up in a quilt weight cotton because her first employment after graduating with her journalism degree is a reporting job. In Texas. In the summer.  Hot, hot, hot! She loves the skirt in the shortest, fullest view (C) and I’m following it up with cool fabrics in views A and B, too.

Zebra A-Go-Go

Craft As Therapy Pockets a gogo and Sewing Space 018

So its called a Pocket A-Go-Go and you can make your own by following the directions at http://www.instructables.com/id/POCKETS-A-GO-Go-Purse-Organizer.

My first Pocket-A-Go-Go was pretty floppy, so I made this one with Pellon interfacing and Velcro so that it actually does stand up … Craft As Therapy Pockets a gogo and Sewing Space 010while you load all this stuff into it! Here’s what I got into mine:

Craft As Therapy Pockets a gogo and Sewing Space 006

Now I’m running over to Pretty Grievances at  http://www.prttynpnk.wordpress.com to enter my organizer into her Jungle January – In Praise of Textile Beasties sewalong. You should visit her there.  She proposed a month of wild guest posts and projects. UPDATE: Oooh, oooh. There were so many pretty animal print outfits there. You really should visit her!