I have been saying for years that there are 2 things I am determined to learn before I move to some other remote country and live in a hut. (Okay so I won’t be living in a hut, but you get my point.) And since that time seems to be getting steadily closer as Nate works to finish up at RTS, I figure I’d better get a move on.
One of those things is gardening. And not just pansies and roses and monkey grass. I’m not too concerned about adding color to my flowerbeds on the mission field…I’m talking about veggies and fruits and herbs and whatnot…things that will feed my family and others, should we end up living in the middle of an extremely poor community. As of now, the only thing I can grow is weeds.
The other thing on this list is sewing. I figure it might be helpful to be able to make simple children’s playclothes, easy and comfortable wrap skirts for myself, and simple home decor items like duvet covers and curtains…. all things I will probably want/need in the future. I also think it would be great to be able to make inexpensive and really easy childrens clothes if we’re working with some sort of streetchild or orphan ministry in the future. I don’t want to be a professional or do anything fancy…I just want to be able to make things that people need, or things that my family could use but can’t afford.
I have been telling Nate for years that I was going to learn to sew as soon as I had time, but I don’t think he ever believed me. Now that I’ve got a little more time on my hands, I decided there’s no time like the present! A wonderful friend gave me an amazing sewing machine that she doesn’t use anymore, complete with a manual, sewing book, and accessories.
I decided that the best way to learn the basics of the machine was to get a sewing book for beginners. I spent a little time at Barnes & Noble sifting threw several options, and I finally walked away with this one:
The great thing about this book is that it covers all the bases for a beginner… It taught me all the parts of the sewing machine and how to use them, how to sew different kinds of seams, how to handle various fabrics, how to read a pattern, and more. I just sat down and started going through the book, page by page, and doing everything along with it. It was a great way to learn… kind of like having a tutor. The book also includes several beginner patterns (10 I think) for really cute accessories and clothing. She walks you through it step-by-step, so it’s not overwhelming. I would definitely recommend it to anyone else who doesnt know a thing about sewing but wants to learn!
The first thing I sewed (other than a bunch of random seams on fabric to practice a straight stitch) was a pillowcase for Jane Bradley. I don’t have a picture of it, unfortunately. Lacey had a pillowcase when we were growing up that she took everywhere. It is basically a faded, tattered rag at this point because it has had so much wear. I found some leftover fabric from Lacey’s old bedding, and I decided that it only made sense for Jane Bradley to have a pillowcase like her mama’s.
My next project was a basic pillow:
I didn’t attempt to do any sort of special opening (zipper, buttons, envelope, etc) bc I was still learning how to sew in a straight line! The next time around, I decided to try something a little more difficult:
I had some leftover fabric from the bedskirt in my guestroom, so I decided to use it to make a pillow to match. Since I already had a 16×28 pillow form, I figured it was a good size. This one was a challenge because I didn’t have a piece of fabric big enough….so I had to do a little bit of piecing, but you can’t even tell! I also decided to try an opening for this one.
In Progress: a wrap skirt from a pattern in the S-E-W book… I’m done with the construction, I just have to go back and finish up some seam backs so they don’t unravel and make it a little more polished. I had to use the only fabric I had enough of, which was some leftovers from the fabric I made JB’s pillowcase from. I’m not one to wear alot of purple and green plaid, but that’s okay bc it’s more for the practice anyway. Here’s what I’ve got so far:
Next up: a skirt out of some super-cute fabric that my aunt Ame bought me at Bernina, a project for my anxiously awaited soon-to-arrive nephew, and an applique monagramming project. I can’t believe I’m actually figuring this out!
So this fall and winter, I’m going to really work on the sewing and try to become decent at it. Next spring, I’m going to plant a little mini-garden out back and see if I can keep anything alive long enough to come out of the ground! For now, though, I just enjoy being able to look at Nate and say “I told you I’d learn how to do this!” every time I pull out my machine (: