My husband bought me a sewing machine about 10 years ago (or more!). I had wanted to start making my own clothes. Needless to say, over the past decade, he's probably gotten more use out of it for his reenacting hobby than I ever did.
Somewhere over the past several months, I began thinking of projects involving the sewing machine. Perhaps it was the hours of pricking my fingers with a needle sewing a small canvas gym shoe bag for my daughter last year. But I pulled out the sewing machine in June to quickly whip together some lavender sachets as gifts for Frida's teachers, and the machine hasn't been put away since then.
When we were in Berlin back in August, I visited many little boutiques where the clothes were being made in the back room, by the shop owners/designers themselves (Bis es mir vom Leibe fällt, Quasi moda Berlin). Of course, the cost of quality and individuality was certainly a bit higher than for mass-produced goods such as those you find at the large chain stores in malls world-wide.
It reinvigorated my view of making clothing by hand. I saw that it could be much more than following a Vogue pattern picked up at the fabric store. Just as I am fond of winging it when it comes to making dinners (soups, stews, and quiches are what I love to experiment with), I realized that if I could learn the basics of some of the stitching techniques I saw used by the boutiques in Berlin, and by awesome Etsy clothiers I just discovered (such as Brooklyn's Fink) I could begin experimenting at home.
Until then, I am starting slow. My first, and biggest, attempt so far has been this overnight bag I made for my neice's birthday. Monogrammed, as well! I have enough material left over to make one similar for my daughter. I think for my daughter's, I will skip the top drawstring handle, and do a simple tote handle and snap closure to see how that works.
So, just as I was feeling high on my achievement with my niece's overnight bag, we received this week a lovely package of goodies from a friend who knits, crochets, and makes little stuffed animals. She had made a "yarn" out of plastic grocery bags and crocheted it into a tote for me! And now I am in awe about how much there is to learn, and how with a firm foot in the basics, you can experiment and go anywhere with your craft.
Maybe for Christmas, I'll be asking Santa for a Sewing Machine 101 class at G Street Fabrics...