I’ll tell you a secret: I can’t read patterns. I grew up the last of 6 children and most of my clothes were hand me downs or because I was so thin, my mother made 80% of my wardrobe since she felt it was a waste to buy clothes and have to cut 3-4″ off, and sew it back together so that it fit me properly. Fortunately, I learned early what a blessing “fitted” clothing was. After dismantling so many garments, Mother became proficient enough to eyeball and piece garments together. She and her BFF of 40+ years, Miss KayKay, would sit and compare ideas, bolts of fabric like their rent depended on it. By the time I took Home Ec, I was confused. I could not comprehend why my teacher wasted a period on laying out patterns. We didn’t do this at home. We knew what a sleeve looked like, just cut it in the fold, knew you needed 2 and boom, it was done. By the time we laid it out in class, pinned it and cut each piece, the bell rang. Frustrated, I’d go home and make it myself, wait for the class to catch up on Friday and throw mine in the mix with an attitude like Sexual Chocolate dropping the mic.
Today, I am trying to improve my mothers teaching and sew garments for myself now that I have grandchildren and a semblance of free time. To ensure that I can make something again, I use medical paper to create my own pattern pieces and jot instructions in OneNote for future use. Medical paper is durable yet not stiff and has proven to be an excellent source of pattern paper. It folds well into 6×9 envelopes that I can file for future use and does not tear as easy as pattern paper. Plus, I comprehend my instructions and write on it. This explains why I have rolls of medical paper.
My rediscovery of sewing:
In December 2014, I decided to open the box containing a sewing/embroidery machine I purchased in late 2012 (Brother Innovis 1250D) after my brothers passing. This was because my pastor-friend suggested that I find something to relax my weary mind. Unfortunately, trying to accomplish this when the wound was raw, was too soon. I was in mourning for so long, I was not aware. Then one day I walked in the guest room and the box screamed “Heifer, you paid $1,400 to stick me in a corner and abandon me?” Yeah that was stupid so I took a few classes at my local Sew & Vac to learn quilting (something Mother wasn’t into), I watched embroidery videos like it was the LSAT order to create and donate baby blankets to 501©’s. It’s something that I do in effort to give back. That’s why I launched my blog TheSelflessSeamstress. Shortly after my last big charity event, I began reading articles on sergers. Now, I know and you know my mother never owned one with 6 kids. Within two months of comparing features, checking them out in the store, drooling under the blanket while watching videos like it was porn, I felt defeated. I HAD to own a Babylock but it was outside of my budget. Eventually, I met a fellow self proclaimed seamstress who “thought” that she could sew for a living who offered to sell me her 6 month old Babylock Eclipse DX at 40% off, still packed in the styrofoam, with all parts still in the plastic securely taped closed. I bought it the following payday.
God? Where have sergers, namely Babylock sergers, been all if my life?? What use to take me days (yes plural) is quick and easy today. Durable stitches, even and I don’t need to cut!!!! Again, I watched videos on YouTube by others who had the same model, used scrap pieces and played around. I played around so much I damn near sliced my fingertip off. On day 2, I found out that knives on quality sergers are extremely useful and dangerous. Within 36 hours I fixed everything in my closet that needed adjustment on the serger. I have already outgrown my Innovis 1250D and will soon upgrade to a faster, heavier machine with multiple LED lights because my sewing room is small and doesn’t get major sunlight. I don’t “need” and embroidery machine but having that feature is a plus. I prefer one that has a large bed area that will enable me to make Queen/King quilts no less than 1,300 SPM. I would love a machine with laser light indicating the needle drop point (or camera) but considering m wish list and the two models I have in mind, I’m talking in the $5,000 range. The Lord will provide and I know that it will be mine in a year.
Lately, since I began sharing some items on Facebook, people say “you should open an Etsy shop” “Can you make me a …” Or “I will pay you…”
It doesn’t work like that. When I shift in that direction, it becomes work. “Hobby” made an exit. I already have a job I love and in reality, you can’t match their rate nor do I want a second. I sew for others under two conditions: One, my charities are my priority. People that touch me are second. The later is never planned. I may get an idea, jot it down, come home from work, make it and send it to you and I haven’t talked to you in weeks nor mention that it’s coming. When I feel it, I give. I will be honest, there’s a 99.999% chance that if you ask me, I can’t. Sewing is like music, it’s a feeling that overcomes you, pulls you in and talks to you, massages your senses and stirs your creativity. If I don’t feel a connection in the touch of the fabric or if the hue doesn’t say something about you, I can’t do it. Better yet, I won’t do it. For now, I will continue the deed of blessing others with my hobby (not work), and sewing for my charities. When you are in position to give freely, considering the recipients joy without your own or wanting anything in return you are selfless. I love every piece donate because I know there are so many babies and small children without. My quilts and baby clothing come with love and blessings.
So please, continue enjoying my blog and I will return in a few weeks when the moment hits me again. I need to pay attention to my husband and will be taking a breather from sewing…. Well, until my next FedEx shipment of a fabric arrives!