Monday, February 15, 2010

Can a crafting failure learn to sew?

A few weeks ago, I developed the intense desire to learn how to sew. I'm not exactly sure why, but it could have something to do with the fact that I am five months pregnant with my second daughter. I have heard about women who pick up random, short-lived hobbies during their pregnancies, and maybe this is mine. I hope not, because I really do want to learn to sew proficiently. I decided to start this blog to chronicle my adventures in sewing--perhaps not the most riveting of topics, but maybe some of you will be inspired to learn along with me. Or perhaps, if I stick with it and post about my projects, you might see a pattern you'd like to try yourself. Or maybe, as my husband suggested, I will lose interest in a matter of weeks and change the title of my blog to "Sew Long!"

I wish I could say his prediction is off-target, but I have a terrible track record when it comes to craft projects of all kinds. I visited the graveyard of unfinished craft projects in my closet, and I found these:

In the picture are a piece of a knitted scarf (running out of yarn was clearly not my problem), a half-finished cross-stitch pattern, a partially painted wooden train that was supposed to be for my 4-year-old cousin Ian (sorry, Ian), and 16 wooden blocks in a wooden box. I had big plans to make those blocks into a six-sided puzzle by decoupaging pictures from children's books or old calendars. I really think I would have done it, but after purchasing the blocks, I realized that they were not perfect cubes, which meant that the puzzle wouldn't be smooth on all sides. But really, I would have done it. I swear.

Elsewhere in my home, if I looked in the right places, I know I would find many more partially completed cross-stitch projects, a poorly-stained chalkboard/bulletin board combo, and a half-woven fringed baby blanket intended for my cousin Bradley, who is now 18 years old. I also have several empty scrapbooks and a drawer full of various scrapbooking notions. I'm good at planning craft projects, but my execution leaves much to be desired.

In truth, this is not my first attempt at sewing. I did take sewing lessons when I was about 12 years old, and I made a denim drawstring bag and a few pieces of clothing. I have a particularly frightening memory of a backyard fashion show for the students to display their work, in which I modeled a sweet pair of culottes. That's right. Culottes. To illustrate just how long it has been since I've undertaken a sewing project, check out the goodies I found in my old sewing box:

What was I thinking when I bought fabric markers and giant buttons in three alarmingly fluorescent colors? And what is with the freaky troll doll head cut out of stretchy fabric? I fear that my plan was for some sort of neon button-covered mess of a t-shirt, and for once, I am relieved that one of my projects bit the dust.

So I used a sewing machine in class 15 years ago, and I have very occasionally used my mother's machine for quick fixes, but I still consider myself a beginner. I found a few throw pillow patterns that I wanted to try, and they looked easy enough, but then I read the instructions. Bias-cut edges? Interfacing? FLANGE??? What have I gotten myself into?

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