I have been so busy sewing the final mock ups for my sewing book (cue excited squeal), that I have not had a chance to make anything else…not even a little accessory to share with you! I am hoping that will change later on in March…fingers crossed! 🙂
So when it came to decide what to share with you all today, I became stumped…which usually never happens. I thought and I thought and, yep, I thought some more, and came up with this story. The story of how and why I started sewing….
I was around the age of 10 and had just received the ultimate gift that every little girl in the ’90’s wanted (and I am sure even today,) an American Girl Doll. Kirsten to be exact, whose story was set in the 1850’s. I loved that doll and took her everywhere with me. I dressed her, fed her, braider her hair, and had just about the best time ever! But, one thing I did not have enough of was outfits. To purchase them through the company was expensive, and I was convinced that I could reproduce them on my own.
Now up to that point, I could do a basic sewing stitch. I’m talking basic. And I don’t believe I ever used a sewing machine up to that point. I might have…I’m just not sure. Maybe my mom will remember when she reads this? 🙂 But as far as I am aware, I hadn’t. So I begged my mom to haul out our 1970’s Singer sewing machine, that I am pretty sure weighed more than me, and sat down for my first lesson. Mom gave me the basics, some scraps to practice with, and off I went.
It didn’t take me too long to figure out what I liked and didn’t like about sewing. I enjoyed the sound it made, and even the odd “machinery” smell that it emitted after over an hour of use. Perhaps many of you know what I’m talking about? It’s the wonderful blend of your sewing machine, the heat from the light inside, and a little dose of magic. Every once in a while, I will get a whiff of it from mine and it instantly takes me back to a happy time. Now that I am thinking about it, I hope that smell isn’t a sign the machine is about to explode?….Oh well! 🙂
What I didn’t like about the sewing machine was my constant battle with the bobbin tension. I hated it! That machine was so finicky and would seize up with the bobbin and I would just about loose it. Oh and button holes….not my friend back in the day. Thank goodness for sew-in velcro!
Eventually I got the hang of it, and my dad took me to the local Joann Fabrics store where I picked out my first sewing pattern. It was a Simplicity pattern for 18″ dolls, and I am pretty sure was fairly new in response to the popularity of the American Girl Dolls. With that in my little hand and two choices of cotton, I plunked down my allowance and headed home to get started!
My first doll dress. Where to begin?….
I guess I should take a “glass-half-full” view of it.
It was a dress.
And if you pulled really hard the velcro in the back could alllmmooooost touch. What I didn’t understand, at the time, was the concept of a full skirt. I just cut out enough to go around her body and thought that was enough. So my 1850’s doll was wearing a 1960’s Twiggy shift dress. But I didn’t care. I just kept practicing!
Every week, like clockwork, my mom and dad would take me to the fabric store. I would pick out one or two calico patterns (1/2 yard each) and would go home to try again! I got pretty good at it and before I knew it, Kirsten was wearing a dress that was properly fitting, properly designed, and didn’t need a shawl to cover up her exposed back. It was a great accomplishment!
I don’t know if my parents, at that time, realized the impact this experience would have on me in my later life. They always supported my brother and I in our hobbies, but I wonder if they knew they were laying the groundwork for my passion and career? Regardless, I would like to say thank you mom and dad! You supported a dream that has become a reality! 🙂
Oh, and dad, thanks for the extra fabric money. I’m not sure how my allowance always went so far…but it did! 🙂
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