I started sewing in 4-H during junior high school. I got a late start so those first projects had a high learning curve, and plenty of mistakes. However, practice makes perfect, and by the time I was finishing high school, I had graduated to Pendleton wool, and my final project was a tailored two piece suit. During high school and college I sewed a lot of my own clothes, and even took a flat pattern class in college, just for fun.
Fast forward about 10 years, and my sewing had changed considerably; now I was focused on two little girls, wishing for fancy dresses and needing those cool crushed velvet leotards for gymnastics class. Soon they were old enough to begin their 4-H sewing careers, and there simply wasn’t much time for me to work the machine for much more than Christmas pajamas.
I did complete a few projects along the way…there was that crazy Pendleton plaid I scooped up for $3/yard at the outlet, and a few jackets, etc. but sewing had become discouraging. Not only were my skills rusty, but I never got back to anything close to my pre baby shape, and the alterations were discouraging. So, I moved on to quilting, hardanger, knitting and even learned how to crochet, but I didn’t really sew anything for me until this week. I kept busy with a few projects, that little black dress for my oldest daughter when she took off for college, and the All State formal for my youngest’s senior year. But only one thing for me, a Pendleton 49’er jacket that had no shape, and therefore no fitting issues.
And that was the crux, fitting issues. I didn’t like my shape, and I didn’t want to go through the fitting gymnastics necessary to make anything substantial. So what changed? A summer diet, but most importantly, the desire of our corgi/border collie to go on a walk! No lie, all summer that dog was willing to go on serious, fast walks twice a day! Together we probably did 3.5 miles nearly every day all summer. Yes, the diet and exercise were successful, but ironically, only a handful of people noticed. The big change, however, was that I now had a shape that didn’t need days of alterations and multiple muslins. Bottom line, sewing sounded fun again, instead of like work.
The final straw was completing a trench coat for my youngest. It was a Vogue pattern and there was substantial detail, and it was really fun! Finally, I was inspired to sew for me! Thanks to a wonderful mad money gift from my DH for Christmas, I decided to tackle something I had never dared before…pants.