Most of the time, I think of myself as an “advanced beginner” sewist: not really that skilled, but able to make more than a pillowcase. And then I remind myself that even a year ago, the idea of making a swimsuit made me laugh out loud!
Anyhow, the CSC editors were reminiscing about our earliest makes – the joys and the total failures – and we thought it would be fun to share them with you too. Of course the joy of blogging is that some of us also have photos and posts from those early days too!
For me, way back in about 2010, I took a sewing class which taught me pretty much nothing except how to thread a sewing machine. I immediately reapplied this knowledge to making a pillowcase and duvet cover using an online tutorial – and I must say it was sort of a success, as I still use them today.
Then I slowly started building up the courage to try to make something wearable. I was entirely convinced that there was no way I could ever sew something as complicated as a buttonhole or zipper so I picked up a copy of Christine Haynes’ Chic and Simple Sewing, which promises a whole wardrobe of button and zip-free garments! A very non-intimidating place to start.
My first attempt was a wrap skirt in a quilting cotton, as modeled here:
I must say this is much better than I remember! However, what you can’t see is that it basically only overlaps by about 2 inches, so it was entirely unwearable unless I wanted to flash the neighbourhood. The concept of grading up was entirely alien to me so it never crossed my mind that I could just make the pattern bigger. But all in all I have to recommend this as a first pattern: it was pretty simple to put together, and a quick project even for a beginner. I can’t remember what I did to the seams inside, but let’s just assume they’re probably raw…
Next up, I started my quest for a wrap dress! I was sort-of aware that I really wanted to make knit wrap dresses, but as that seemed like a task of Herculean proportions, I attempted Christine Haynes’ woven one instead. No FBA, no grading, nada. I used a slightly lighter cotton that I bought in Bali back when sewing was a theory and not a practice, and this was my first introduction to the idea that materials other than quilting cotton might be best for garment making.
And check out the AWESOME styling, lack of makeup, awkward face, and indoors-at-night messy spare room. Winning!
As evident from this pic, the dress ended up being a mini-dress, and as with the skirt alas it didn’t actually cover me up while moving. For this reason, it never got worn out of the house..
So I must say the photos are much better than my memories, but maybe that’s just the way these things go!
What was your first garment? Do you have any hilarious stories? What do you wish you could go back and tell your novice seamstress self? Or are you a beginner? If so, what advice would you like from sewists who’ve been at it for longer?