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Happy hands at home

April 11, 2010 Leave a comment

I finished my dress!

Sort of.  I gave up on putting the trim on it (I decided that I don’t have the detail skills yet and would only ruin it by trying to make it prettier) and I need to fix the straps but I just didn’t have the energy this afternoon.  The finished product looks better than I feared it would, but also looks (and here I’m channeling a Project Runway critique) “a little ‘happy hands at home.'”  Still, as first projects go, it’s not awful.  Most importantly, I now know what skills I need to learn to be able to do projects like this much better in the future.

1) Darts.
I still think that “make darts” is not an “easy” instruction, but I muddled my way through four sets of darts on this project and they’re okay.  I suspect they can be done better and more easily though, so I’m going to look for internet or other advice to figure out how to get better at this.

2) Zippers.
Both my pattern and my zipper packet included instructions on how to insert the zipper but these might as well have been written in Latin.  I do not have anywhere near the sewing vocabulary to understand what these directions were saying.  Instead, I went into my closet and inspected all of my clothing with zippers, then made up a way of sewing the new zipper based on what  I saw on my other clothes.  It’s definitely not perfect, but it’s surprisingly good considering I was improvising.

3) Sewing a frigging straight line.
I proved surprisingly bad at sewing a consistently straight line. That’s not rocket science, that’s just something I need to practice.

All in all, I think it was a productive weekend.  I made a dress, learned what I need to learn next, and  feel more confident that this is something I can learn to do.  A good way to start on a new skill.

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Categories: Hobbies Tags: ,

I can learn anything I put my mind to, right?

April 10, 2010 Leave a comment

After a day of shopping on Thursday and two to three hours watching Project Runway on Friday I came to a decision: I’ve got to learn how to make my own clothes.  Really, it shouldn’t be that hard.  The t-shirt I just shelled out $15 for – on sale – is probably $2 worth of fabric and the design really isn’t very special.  Certainly I can make a t-shirt myself.  And sundresses – there’s almost nothing to them.  I should be able to make those, too.  And instead of having to pick from the colors and styles the stores offer, I should be able to choose my own and have it be just the way I like it.  There’s just one thing missing.

I don’t know how to sew.  I am determined to learn, though.  I started by heading to the fabric store on Friday afternoon in search of an easy pattern and fabric to work with.  I spent 45 minutes pouring over pattern books before I decided I was in over my head.  Then I spent Friday night looking for sewing classes in the area but couldn’t find any, so this morning I found an easy pattern on the Simplicity website and headed back out to the store to get my materials.

It took me 35 minutes to pick out a plain, light blue denim for the dress.  (I knew enough about my lack of ability to rule out the prettier patterns – too hard to line up the seams.)  I got right to work when I got home, reminding myself throughout that this is a learning experience and I never have to wear the dress if it doesn’t turn out well.

Results are mixed so far.  I think I kind of did the darts right, although I don’t understand why an “easy” pattern starts with the directions “sew darts in the bodice.”  I second-guessed the directions on the straps and have done them wrong twice, so I’ll probably have to take the bodice apart tomorrow and redo the whole thing.  But it’s okay, it’s a learning experience.  Eventually I’ll figure it out.

Categories: Hobbies Tags: , ,
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