hey look I made stuff!

One of my resolutions was to take a sewing class and I can check that one off the old list. It turns out that I was like a really crummy seamstress before. In fact, I don’t think I should even use that word. Seamstress.

As with many things I approach in life, I just went for it full steam ahead without regard to Sewing Rules like pre-washing fabric, ironing, measuring, cutting straight lines, following patterns… This fake-it-’til-you-make-it approach often works often but sometimes, it is best to be careful and thoughtful and follow rules. Like with sewing (I know mom, you told me so).

My sewing class was through the adult ed program and was held at a local high school in the home ec room. Or, consumer science, as our dear teacher, Carol, called it. Carol is a sewing champion and taught the eight young women enrolled in her class the lost arts of patience and clothes-making. Carol’s days involved classes full of smart ass kids who would tell her things like I don’t care if I mess up with the serger this class doesn’t matter anyway. Punk. So, for her to have the full, thirsty attention of us, well. She dug it. Although I have to admit I just couldn’t indulge her enthusiasm for paper piecing to make Christmas ornaments.

My eye-opening lesson: There is good reason to take the prep seriously. I learned that not everyone has to seam rip for 45 minutes with each project. Really? I learned that the edge of my happy curtains in my living room no longer needs to be concealed by a giant jade plant because now I know how to straighten my fabric perfectly (I alway ripped my fabric before).

The crisp, clean, pre-washed fabric with flawless, blunt edges all stacked up on my work table brought my inner type A to the surface. I realized that I didn’t follow sewing etiquette because I was afraid that I would then have a ton invested in the project and if it didn’t turn out I would feel like an asshole but if I just kinda tossed my hands in the air and sewed with whimsy and it didn’t turn out I could say oh well, it was just an experiment.

Now, I sew with intention and respect. I am still impulsive and a rule-breaker but I feel like I can be now because I know when not the break the rules (in theory anyway). I am, in fact, making a large quilt for our bed. It is currently in a tidy stack of 36 16-inch squares on my dresser. I used the pillow cases I made in my class as the color inspiration.

We also made pajama pants and a zippered pouch.


In other sewing news, my sewing guru of a mama is starting an etsy shop for kids clothes like this dress. Stay tuned.

12 Responses to hey look I made stuff!

  1. lera says:

    Woo-hoo! Look at you sew, girl! Great job!

  2. Lera! Thanks sister! I am SO excited about it….keep your fingers crossed for the quilt.

  3. jen says:

    awesome job on the projects! they look great…

    and how exciting about your mom’s etsy shop! if she ever needs models in the minneapolis area…i have two girls (1 y/o and 4 y/o) and they LOVE to wear dresses!

  4. Heather says:

    Oh, you are so badass and now I am even more convinced that when they were cutting out the garden loving chicken adoring girls of the world we got cut from the same cloth. I totally sew like you used to – I spit nails and curse like a sailor the entire time; Ben thought I was possessed by a gremlin or something. Congrats on moving on to more perfect and less aggravating sewing, that is awesome! (Can you post a cutting straight for Headstrong Sewing Maniacs tutorial? Someone a few weeks ago told me to pull a thread out across the weave of the fabric, but I have yet to try that…)

  5. FinnyKnits says:

    Oh and look how HOT those pillowcases are anyways. GEEZ. How will you ever sleep on them? My eyes would be popping open to stare at them all night.

    Good luck with your quilt and congrats on the class. You big fancy pro seamstress, you.

    Hi to the chickens and my parallel life.

  6. cjs says:

    have I mentioned lately how cool you are?

    my mom is THE BOMB when it comes to sewing. I remember going to bed as a child, serenaded to sleep by the sounds of the singer, humming into the wee hours of the morning.

    I, on the otherhand, am intimidated by all the rules, as you mentioned. What can I say. I am a rule breaker. impulsive. impatient.

    And now, inspired.

  7. Kelle says:

    GO GIRL!! Sewing…so wish I could do it. I even have a machine…next time my mama comes to see me, I think I’m gunna make her teach me. Now if only I could learn to play the violin and speak French.
    Oh, but laughing at that picture of you modeling your pants…I envision it in an Anthropologie catalogue and someone flipping through and landing on your lovely pic with the coop behind you…and not thinking one thing about it. What? Doesn’t everyone go topless and pajama-pantsed out to feed the chickens? You rock.

  8. TRB Holt says:

    YOU inspire me! I am so proud, and I know your Great Grandma Bratton is smiling from her sewing machine in the sky! She guided me on many of the sewing “rules”.

    I just bought a new machine and I feel like Thomas Chippendale who just came out of the dark ages and discovered power tools for the first time! However, I will never forget you my little Singer featherweight! I have 3 pieces of pre-washed fabric looking at me; waiting to evolve into the latest Bug fashion. Happy sewing sweet Nici!
    xoxoxo, Mom

  9. Joan says:

    Excuse me but are those pajama bottoms made out of Pillow ticking?

    To bad Dolly isn’t here to help with the quilt, by the way she wrote a bit in her journal about the sewing project of the quilt. Next time I see ya I will show that part to ya.

    All your projects look fab even the ones you did prior to the official class. XXOO Joan

  10. Anonymous says:

    Forget the PJ’S … Look at that that FLAT tummy!!!!!

  11. Wow, what beautiful stuff you’ve created! I LOVE those pillow cases… seriously, where do you find these cool fabrics? *envy*

  12. Hi, just wanted to mention, I loved this post. It was helpful. Keep on posting!