Thursday, April 23, 2015

Getting my sew on

I did 11 years in 4-H in my younger days, one as a "mini" and 10 as a regular (first 10 year member of our club, thank you very much).  We did a lot of projects, none of them involving animals.  Foods was a big one.  I did clothing (sewing) a few times too, until it got to be too hard.  I made pillowcases as a Mini, and a drawstring bag, wrap around skirt, and a jumper as a regular.  In news that should shock nobody, I still have all 4 of these items.  I'm a bit of a sentimental hoarder, but I'm working on it (but probably still not getting rid of the clothes I likely stressed and cried over). 

My wrap-around skirt features a colorful fruit print and the jumper is black with purple flowers.  I don't know why purple, it's never been my favorite color (blue, always and forever).  I went through old photo albums and found pictures of these but my scanner is refusing to work (the same lovely motherboard issue that has kept me from syncing my phone for months and thus still gives me Christmas songs when I do "shuffle all".  Basically, I need a new motherboard).  But really, that's for the best because 90s fashion wasn't kind to many people.  I mean, I wasn't always the fashion plate I am now (that's MAJOR sarcasm there) but it's also wonderful to look back and remember how little we really cared about what we wore (#bestchildhoodever).  Although my Beauty and the Beast shirt (shown here, scroll a ways) seemed to be in rather high rotation for me.  My first Target purchase.

ANYWAYS, all that to say I've had some sewing experience but it's been awhile.  While they are no jumper, I sewed pillows when Luke was a baby, thanks to a lot of help from my sister and her very eager to assist kids.  It seems the more frantic I got the funnier the kids found it.  

I don't know what brought it on but I decided at the beginning of the year that I wanted to try to sew one thing a month.  This is a bit problematic as I don't own a sewing machine.  My sister with (then 4, now 5) kids does.  My Mom does.  A few of my other sisters I see less frequently (working moms) do too.  My, mother to 5, sister is very generous about sharing hers but, as you can imagine, trying to sew with 5 kids (her four at the time and our one) doesn't make for the most peaceful sewing experience.   Still, my January sewing project was complete with this blanket for Luke:

I mostly followed these instructions and had all the washing, cutting, ironing, and pinning done before heading to my sisters.  My corners aren't as pretty but Luke doesn't mind so neither do it.  We use his blanket to make a fort for every naptime and he gets tucked in with it every bed time.  Doesn't stay under it at all but he at least starts there (this is one of many reason I have a hard time picturing him in a big bed any time soon!). 

In February I was going to my parents to do our taxes and realized it would be much easier to use my Mom's machine since I would only have one kid trying to help.  So we started with that and then my parents lost power for over an hour.  This did not help with my sewing or tax prepping although my cousin did manage to keep doing some demo & dry walling in my parents' bathroom in the dark.  By the time the power came back on I was in a hurry to get home for nap time (don't mess with nap time) so my Mom, so generously, let me bring her machine home to finish my project (which I plan to do a whole post about soon!). 

Having a sewing machine here was wonderful.  I loved it.  My favorite nap time activity quickly became sewing while watching Grey's Anatomy on Netflix (I will finish my 16 month long, 10 season rewatch soon!). 

There's something so peaceful about sewing, creating something, especially when it goes well.   I spent a few Saturday nap times sewing while Matt was building furniture (!!) and it seemed every weekday naptime I was also baking bread or dry beans to freeze.  It was almost like being Laura Ingalls (you know, besides electricity, tv, Netflix, etc.).  I felt pretty homemakery and it was fun. 

My March sewing project was making new pillow case covers and a new throw pillow (form and all) for our long gestating bedroom update.  I used these instructions: pillow case, pillow covers, pillow form.   Even already cut and pinned, I couldn't whip a cover out in 20 minutes but it did go pretty fast, even for this sewing novice.  I was so so excited when I put them together and that they actually fit!  And I made that!  I was a little too generous in my cutting so the covers are a little big but it's all part of the learning experience! 

It took me a few nap times to complete all 6 of those projects (2 pillow cases, 2 pillow covers, 1 pillow form, and a small pillow cover) but it ignited a spark.  I really like sewing.  I like picking out fabric (Jo-Anns is dangerous).  I like making things from scratch and customizing them, even if I'm not saving much, or any, money. 

I've gotten a little ambitious in my sewing goals but am once again lacking a machine (my mom needed hers back at some point, I couldn't keep it forever).  I don't think I'll ever progress to making clothes but just home projects could keep me busy for awhile.  I mean, at some point we will have to move Luke to a big bed and, hopefully, someday I'll have another baby that will need a blanket to kick off in the middle of the night.  And I think I could manage a simple tote bag or reusable shopping bag.  And I'd love to make a quilt some day. 

What about you, rediscover any hobbies/talent/projects from your youth?  Anyone want to admit to interesting clothing choices in the 90s?  Any other 4-H alumni out there (besides my sisters)?  I'm surprised at how much of what I learned and did through that program still applies to my daily life!

No comments: