And sew it begins…
Working in this industry of custom sewing and design, people have always asked me do I sew. I have always given the same response…”No, I know a lot of talented people that can do it way better than I can.” But I am a lot like some of our customers, I want instant gratification. I want to be able to make things for my house without having to pester our busy seamstresses for something as simple as a table runner or napkins.
This is not a sewing tutorial by any means as I am still learning but I wanted to share my first sewing experience with you. Other than sewing patches onto my Boy Scout uniform.
I have been wanting a sewing machine for some time and my husband finally got me one last Christmas. Yes, I said last Christmas. It has been sitting in the box in my closet since then. I can hear it taunting and teasing me every time I go near it. I still have not touched it. It is not that I am lazy, it is just intimidating and makes me break out in a cold sweat.
Now, to be fair, I do not have a big dining table or space in my home to lay it all out and start sewing. Not only do I not have space, but going and buying all the supplies I need, seems to be a job in itself. I mean, seriously, walking into Joann’s or Hancock’s I am easily overwhelmed and way out of my league from all the notions and parts and pieces. In the past year, I have walked into Joann’s spent 5 minutes looking at all these foreign objects and left, twice.
I know that sewing can be a job but also very therapeutic. Most folks who sew do it for fun and really enjoy it. And I had to keep telling myself that I can do this. Working at U-Fab, I have picked up a lot of tips and hints and techniques along the way. Like I said, I work with a lot of extremely talented people. I have learned so much by working with our seamstresses and even customers have taught me things over the past four years. So I know that I can do this.
I have to say that I picked a pretty ambitious project to start off with…Christmas stockings. My husband and I are starting to begin our own holiday traditions and our childhood stockings stay at our parent’s home but we now have a home of our own. Plus, I have yards and yards of fabric remnants, trim, cording, banding and things I have picked up along the way. I actually have a closet dedicated to fabric. (Don’t judge me, I am not the only fabric hoarder!!!)
As I was cleaning up and beginning to bring out our Christmas decorations, I realized that we need stockings and that we could design them and I could make them. However, I said to myself “I’ll get to that one day.” Fear and anxiety began to set in and I became overwhelmed, again.
I was chatting with Tommie (U-Fab’s In-Home consultant, sewing extraordinaire and our very own moxie maiden) and she offered up a day off to teach and help with this project. I immediately went home and pulled out all our fabric and we began to design our stockings.
Once, we figured out a day that worked for the both of us, I made my way to Tommie’s home. Or should I say workroom. Holy cow, this was the set up I needed to get me in the game. Big table, industrial sewing machine, thread, needles, scissors and steamer. It was all there, well mostly on the floor, but this was going to ease me into it.
We started off by getting into the Christmas spirit and cranking up some Christmas tunes. I did bring over a bottle of wine, but Tommie suggested, in order to keep my lines straight, we should save it. We began but using pattern paper to make the shape of the stocking. We used the pattern to cut out all the pieces. We made the pattern for the stocking itself, the toe, the heel and the cuff.
I have to admit that Tommie did a lot of the sewing. Going around the toe and heel takes a steady hand and I don’t really have that. Plus it was my first time sitting behind a sewing machine. I think my biggest fear was the hand-eye coordination with the pedal and the steady hand. I was never good at video games for that very reason. But Tommie, so patient and kind, told me to think about it like driving a car. Which, in those terms, everyone does.
We pinned everything down in layers and begin stitching them together. It turned out to be pretty easy. I made contrast cording for each boot. Although Tommie had to go behind me and fix a few places. We hand stitched the banding onto the cuff. And hand stitched the lining into the stocking.
I look at beginning to sewing like going to the gym. I want a little help and tutorial at the beginning, show me what to do and what not to do for the first couple of times but after that, I got it. Tommie helped me get started and it boosted my confidence. She threw terms and words at me that I did not know and taught me the different tools and mechanisms on her sewing machine.
What do you do with all of those leftover scraps of fabric? I know most of you, like me, can think outside the box and create beautiful custom pieces that become a tradition in your home. Sewing can be a beast all on its own and I am not attempting drapes or bedding anytime soon, that is what U-Fab is for! But, I took that first step and had a super talent helping me along the way.
If you want to learn how to sew, then ask a friend or even your seamstress if they can give you a crash course. There are so many tutorials on YouTube and Pinterest that can also help you. Start simple and small. Have confidence in yourself and just do it. (Save the wine for when your project is completed.) After all these years of wanting to learn how to sew, I finally took my first leap, with the help of a friend.
Fabrics used Stocking 1:
Fabrics used Stocking 2:
102-Lux-Velvet-Citron, available in stores only.