Wednesday, April 29, 2009

shhhhh ...... sew good

Pssst.... Don't tell my yarn stash - my fabric stash has been wooing me. Long before I was a knitter, I was a sewer - a passionate seamstress who mastered welt pockets and hand tailoring for jackets. I even made own my wedding dress (still hanging in my closet even though it will likely never fit my daughters since I am only 5 feet and they are all going to be much taller). Then I learned how to knit and I had a couple of babies while my big kids grew into teenagers. Knitting is portable. Knitting can be done in the car or while watching television or standing in line at the post office (although I've never done that). I became passionate about knitting. I mastered lace (sort of) and cables without a cable needle (mostly). I became versed in wool, cotton, alpaca and tencel in the string form. My sewing machine and serger gathered dust in the studio pressed into service only now and then to fix a hem or two. I destashed the cloth (good move) and sent my library to new homes (great move) so that those things could be enjoyed by others. I kept just a few remnants, just in case....

Then the other day I was depressed and in need of a pick-me-up. I just happened to be next to a fabric store. I swear the fabric reached out of the store, draped itself around me and yanked me inside. The colors, the textures, the patterns, the possibilities, it was intoxicating. It was a kid in a candy store sort of delight. A pattern for a darling children's dress leaped off the rack and into my hands. It tickled at my brain...remember, remember, remember...oh yeah, I have fabric that the girls picked out at home bought two years at a store that has since gone out of business (a moment of silence for the wonderful Fabric Place, which sold both fabric and great yarn).

It was like a visit from an old friend. I forgot how much fun we have together. It's not really like I'm cheating on's not like we have an exclusive relationship, right? Yes I have yarns calling my name and patterns dancing in my head but I can't seem to settle on one right now. I have the SOS on the needles and I seem to be able to do no more than one row a day (very complicated pattern) I'm at the grafting point for a scarf that I won't need until next October.

I'm taking it slow with sewing - just a little bit every day. One day cut out the pattern - the next cut out the fabric - next we'll sew just the sides maybe. Conveniently, the seven-year-old is dying to learn how to sew so the timing could hardly be better.

I know I could buy the dresses for less at the store, but there is something so fundamentally satisfying about turning a flat piece of fabric into a three-dimensional garment. The secrets the short cuts - they're all coming back to me - iron at every stage, store the pattern and accessories in a plastic bag on a hanger with the fabric, mark the fabric right after you cut it.

I still like knitting for its portability but sewing goes so much faster. It's just easier when you're not actually making the fabric!

I know my two friends can coexist peacefully. What I learn from one, I bring to the other. They complement each other. Once I'm done with the sewing the dresses, I can knit the girls shawls to go with them :)

You can see from the fabric that my girls have a bold sense of styles - bugs and dinosaurs? What could be better. Thankfully their taste hasn't changed in two years!


Bonnie D. said...

The bug and dinosaur fabrics will make wonderful dresses! I'm so excited for you. What's the pink.

Oh... btw.... we need to pull Allison into the sewing world. Come on, Allison! You know ya wanna!

Holly Jo said...

Oh, the mystery of sewing. You amaze me. Welt pockets? I don't even know what those are. :)

Can't wait to see those dresses. They have impeccable taste in fabrics.

Danielle said...

Lovely fabrics! Your story of sewing first, then knitting sounds very similar to mine! :)