Sewing is Always Fun and Never Frustrating

Halitrax is, in part, a way for us posters to challenge ourselves and try new things. But for this week I say, “I’ve had it up to here with your rules [and I would like to talk about something I already sort of understand]!” Sewing.

To be honest, I have yet to learn most things about proper sewing. My past ventures have revolved around interesting bed sheets and upholstery fabric. I assumed the floral/animal motifs I sported would distract from uneven hems and misplaced darts. I was sadly mistaken.

But a new day is dawning. I have begun to dedicate more time to my projects. I have learned to edit and stop drinking while “on the job.” Most importantly, I’ve learned the value of mending.

Most of my pants have holes in them. I rarely buy new clothes and my thighs rub together when I walk. It’s a terrible combination, as you can see.

Patching the pants of tomorrow with the flares of yesterday.

Mending your own clothes is rewarding, in mind and pocket. If you want to go for a bit of creativity, try repurposing thrift store items. The fabric below once formed the dress of a distant family member. I’m trying to make something of it, but we’ll see.

This will turn into a dress somehow.

There are people who are better at sewing and avoid looking foolish in their home-sewn creations. Regardless, I have a lot of fun with these projects.

It’s inexpensive (relatively speaking), a good spatial exercise, and you can learn to tailor your own clothes. You also learn that new clothes are bananas under priced and that you should probably care about that.

There are craft nights at Roberts Street Social Centre. But you can start your own or whatever. Do what you want.

12 thoughts on “Sewing is Always Fun and Never Frustrating

  1. Great ideas. Why would I need to go to the seamstress to have my hem let down an inch? (Why would I need to -again- I should say. I’m picking up those pants after work.) I can already sew a mean button, but I need to practice blanket stitches and darning. There is a bag of hole-y wool socks in my closet just begging for a darning.

    And you’re right about the pricing of clothes. It is unsettling to pay less than an hour’s proper wage for a dress. It’s also unsettling to pay a tonne of money for a piece of alarming low quality. I would say that we should all buy American Apparel, but cotton’s terrible and Dov Charney should not be encouraged.
    Solution = mend and alter old stuff.

  2. France, I have a similar problem and constantly wear out my pants in the same area. I was pleasantly surprised to discover that a certain denim clothing store will replace pants for free if they wear out too quickly (less than a year ish). However, although this is store-policy, I’ve encountered locations that have cast accusations that the pants were deliberately destroyed. Dumb, I know. Why would anyone destroy a perfectly good pair of pants to have them replaced by the EXACT SAME PAIR. It makes no sense.

    But I digress.

    You should give me a sewing lesson. I can do the basics but have trouble with measurements. For example, when hemming my pants (upwards, imagine that, Gill) I know where the need to be hemmed (where they should end), but what does that mean for where to make the cut? How much space should be left to fold over and sew? SO MANY QUESTIONS.

    Also, I want to try making an infinity dress. Think that could be done with repurposed materials?

  3. Sewing night! I know that Frin has very talented friends if she wants to recruit them to show us a few things.

  4. Frances, I’m always so impressed when I see the cute dresses that you’ve made out of old sheets and cool stuff like that. Truly, you are an artist. I sew stuff all the time, but I don’t have a machine, and it usually ends up looking pretty shoddy. As I just wrote in the comments re: second-hand shopping, I was able to successfully repair the hem to a pair of nice dress pants. But besides mending little straps of dresses and pockets of pants, I’m pretty unskilled.

    Now, KNITTING I have a tiny bit more experience with. But still, don’t know how to make socks or mittens… uhh, I guess I’m unskilled at that, too. What about felting? I made some pretty good-looking magnets! That’s one step away from hot pants!

  5. Sewing night! A friend of mine has a few sewing machines and a serger. But you can have a fun time just drafting and mending to start.

    Jan, you can teach me more about knitting. I am the worst with tension and I get bored very easily. Does that sould like a fun challenge?

    Keeping an eye out for interesting fabrics and trims (if you like that sort of thing) is also a good way to start. When you’re first learning it’s nice to feel inspired by a fabric. Your enthusiasm can drag you through all the time you spend redoing seams.

  6. I must say that I’m thoroughly enjoying your blog posts, ladies! Keep ’em coming!

    I admire the talent of sewers (? people who sew = sew-ers?)… seamstresses! It’s an ability that I feel I’ll never have. I remember as a kid trying to learn to sew and for the life of me I couldn’t! I’d jam up my mothers machine, I’d break the needles, if it came undone I could NOT re-thread the needle, it always ended in disaster and I’m pretty sure my mother cringed every time I asked if I could play with her machine!

    We were thrift shopping the other day and my sister tried on a few fabulous things that didn’t fit quite right and she says “oh, well I could just take it in here or here and it’d be great”. I WISH I could do that. If I find something I love, but have to alter it to make it fit, it’s not coming home with me.

  7. Thanks, Rhonda. I think it was a blessing that my mum didn’t sew. No opportunity for bungling until I got older and had some perspective. I accidentally sew things to my pants fairly often, but it’s okay.

  8. I accept your challenge, Frinner! We will have a craft night. That’ll give me an excuse to get out my excessive stores of un-knit wool, and hunker down with a good set of needles. Then, we can get out some DIFFERENT needles, and get into this “sewing” you speak of. Only problem is, I also get bored easily, so we might end up just staring each other in the face… at least we can swordfight with our needles, if it comes to it.

  9. Fran, You’r right it’s a blessing I didn’t sew. My experience was very close to Rhondas. One exception – The sewing machine & I both came undone!

    I’m sure you will make something really nice from the pictured gown:D

    • If Grammie teaching me how to wash dishes and make beds was any indication, I bet her teaching you how to sew was an intimidating experience. That lady meant business. Of course, her quilts were rad, so it wasn’t for nothing.

  10. Fran, are you doing your sewing by hand? Or sewing machine?

    I have to hem my pants quite often. The hem usually falls out. I seem to be poor with knots. And I hand-sewed my own pads and I hand-sewed some Bodum cozies. I can only do small projects because it takes so long! I wish I had a machine, I would like to do much more sewing.

    Sewing business also reminds me of a group that puts together packages full of re-usable pads for young women in poorer countries. Quite often, having her period will prevent a girl from being able to go to school, which means she might be missing almost an entire week every month. Not cool! So they are always looking for people to sew them pads. Their website is here:

  11. Jess, I’ve been doing both. When I first started sewing it was all by hand, which proved to be the worst. I got a sewing machine for about a hundred bucks a few years ago. If you’re interested and have that disposable cash it’s worth it.

    Thanks for posting project thrive. I looked into it and it’s totally my speed for charity work.

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