Like a lot of people raised in the 60s and 70s, my mother sewed my clothes and Halloween costumes. In grade 7 I took a semester of sewing, which led to my introductory sewing experiences: a stuffed frog filled with dried beans, and a smock top (Holly Hobby fabric). My youthful sewing career was defined by periods of absolute fearlessness, like when I made a bikini with neither pattern nor knowledge of how to sew knits, or when I made my first button-down blouse in real silk organza. I sewed off and on through my 20s but I was impatient. I’d set completely unrealistic goals (from shopping for pattern and fabric through to completed garment in one evening?) and wind up with something that wouldn’t survive more than one trip to the laundromat. As my social life and paycheque improved, my interest in sewing diminished.
When I first married and moved to the U.S. we lived in a small town that is home to one of America’s preeminent fabric stores (Hancocks of Paducah). About once a week I would walk the mile to Hancocks and run my hands through the beautiful quilting and home dec fabrics. My $25 garage sale machine had made the trip with me so I started sewing again but limited myself to window treatments and quilted handbags. We moved every couple of years, criss-crossing North America so that meant plenty of opportunities for shades, table runners and pillows. Gradually the projects became more elaborate, and the epitome of my home dec experience was hand beading 10 yards of silk to drape a 12-foot high Palladian window. When we moved again just two months after that project was done, I said ‘enough’ and put away my machines.
In 2015 I discovered Marie Kondo and vowed to surround myself only with things I loved. As a serial shopper, it was incredibly depressing when there was nothing I loved in stores. Either the colours were off, or the prints were appalling, or the fit was horrible. So I started sewing again. I’m imminently more patient and finicky than I was 25 years ago, but more than that, I have discovered real joy in the whole process.
This blog is my sewing journey.