This week I posted a picture on my instagram of me holding a Tardis mug for this thing called Sewvember that Amanda is putting on. After a few comments on the mug itself, I was wishing I actually had a tardis, so I could go back in time and tell a younger Elizabeth that she would, in fact, know how to sew one day, but she should REALLY get started sooner.
I think if you went back to a wee Elizabeth, you wouldn't be hard pressed to find her trying to make something. You also wouldn't be hard pressed to find her failing. Let's talk for a moment about my very first attempt at pattern drafting; before I knew that it was called pattern drafting - or pattern cutting, whatever - and shortly after learning to put a patch on my girl scout vest (don't hate). At this point in my life I can't recall if I even knew what a sewing machine looked like, and I certainly didn't know what jeans should look like when they are a flat pattern, but I had definitely learned how to hand sew a patch onto a vest and I definitely wanted to make jeans. So I grabbed what I thought looked correct fabric wise - probably quilter's cotton, definitely light blue - and I took some scissors and hacked the fabric into the shape I thought pants should be. I wish someone had taken a picture, even though I didn't get very far into those trousers before quitting. I think I was probably seven at the time.
Anyway, I cried about it to my mom, put down the scissors and needle, and didn't pick them up again until middle school. At that point, I thought I had gained a surplus of practical knowledge, and I was going to try to distress my jeans and put patches on them from this cool circa 70s sheet that we had. I could probably tell you now that the weight difference in the fabric was an issue, but also that I still wasn't using a sewing machine (and guys, my hand stitching was REAL BAD). I proceed to cry some more, put the needle and fabric down, and assume that sewing was never meant to happen for me and I should just give up.
I couldn't give up though, not really, because I had so many ideas about what I want to wear and I wanted to make those ideas happen. So for a long time after high school I kept anything I thought was well fitting, and I swore I would recreate it when I learned to sew.
(I'm going to reach the point eventually...I think)
Anyway, fast forward to fall 2011 and I went to Austria, I saw this girl wearing the coolest socks and DANGIT I HAD TO HAVE THOSE SOCKS so naturally, I asked her where she got them, "my husband's grandmother knitted them for me, it's a very Austrian thing to do" - alright, that's good enough for me, and then knitting was on my radar.
Fast forward another year to fall 2012 and I finally learn to knit. It's incredible, because I realize that it's actually possible for me to make wearable stuff. Like, it's possible for ME, who made enough mistakes to assume I shouldn't even try, but with a little help, it's totally possible. The following spring, I learn how to use a sewing machine for the first time and begin to press on to "getting mediocre at sewing" (please ignore my surroundings, instagram is as much a process for me as sewing is). I don't know if I should say this about myself, but I really do think I've pushed beyond the line of mediocrity. Never in a million year would I have thought 90% of my wardrobe would be made by me, but that is the case. Even if I do have a pretty small wardrobe. With that said, I have gotten rid of so many things if they weren't up to the standard I wanted. I know nothing can be perfect, but I haven't kept anything I've deemed actually bad.
Honestly though, I think this whole thing - this whole learning to sew, learning to make, has been about the right pair of jeans. Seven year old me thought good denim was worth some effort, 23 year old me realizes just how much effort that is. and so I've started from scratch to try to make a pair of jeans that works for my body type. I made the first muslin, but since it was hilariously bad, it was immediately trashed and I started over. The second one isn't bad. I have to fix an issue with the rise in the back, but other than that it's all just removing excess fabric from the pattern, and then I feel like I should be good to go.
This has been my theme song for this whole process, from the Jamie jeans to my first attempt to this most recent try. It'll probably continue to be my theme song for many of my years sewing, and it will probably be the theme for my life outside of sewing too. Always making mistakes. Always trying to take them in stride though.
If you've gotten to the end of my long and rambling post then I commend you. And then I will tell you that it is definitely my plan to keep making things after I get jeans right. This may have been where it started, but definitely not where I plan on it ending.
Meet my friend Melody, who takes most of my outfit photos, unless someone else is credited. She's a graphic designers who does incredible work and also blogs a bit, too. She definitely blogs more consistently than I do.
I just started reading the blog of a friend I went to Bible college with in York. It's pretty legit if you're into pretty legit blogs, so I recommend reading it.
I put a new beanie in my shop and I'll have the pattern up for that in a couple days.
True style. Aimed at photographers, but I think this is good stuff for everyone, yeah?