Browsing Tag

oct 2015

kcw: why I sew
fall

why I sew: lindsay

Hi everyone, it’s Lindsay here, with my last post for the season. I’m writing today about why I sew.

Three years ago, my husband gave me a sewing machine for Christmas. I think he had heard me grumbling about the price of curtains and how I was sure I could make them for much cheaper. Ha! Obviously, I had not yet realized that sewing rarely saves you money! It was a basic machine, but it did the trick. Consequently, I’ve been making exaggerated sighs while sewing and “accidentally” leaving my Amazon wish list open on the iPad in hopes of getting a serger this year 🙂

Apart from learning to sew a pretty pitiful pot holder in my 6th grade home economics class, I’m self taught and making lots of mistakes as I go! I love the feeling of accomplishment I get from learning something new. I remember the day I finally figured out how to make buttonholes. I thought to myself, “now I can sew anything!” I’m still working on perfecting those buttonholes and so many other skills.

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I started sewing at a time that I was really having a hard time with work-life balance. I have a meaningful job that helps provide for my family (I’m a pediatric nurse). Despite that, I struggle with wanting to be home more with my kids and to not miss out on anything in these early years. I think, in many ways, sewing helped me battle some of the mom guilt. I’m not domestically inclined in the traditional sense. My cooking ability is marginal and my kids assume someone must be coming over when they see me dusting. Sewing clothes for my kids is that special thing I can do for them. Though it might seem counter-intuitive that adding something to my plate would help with balance, for whatever reason, it just helps me feel like a better mom.

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Another reason I sew is that I have a fashion obsessed five year old. I should clarify that “fashion” to her just means it has to be a skirt or a dress. She is my fabric shopping partner and is always excited to try on a new dress hot off the machine. I often don’t find things in stores that we both agree on, so handmade has been a good solution. I know we will be in the awkward tween years in the blink of an eye, so I’m soaking it up while I still can! I like sewing boy stuff too. However, my little guy insists on wearing the same Batman t-shirt nearly every day, so I’m just not willing to waste any of my precious stash on something he will refuse to wear.

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I have always been an artsy/crafty person. I used do musical theater, dance, and I’ve always enjoyed making things. At one point in my college career I was double majoring in music and genetics. Then I realized that was crazy sauce and I would be in school for ten million years. Some time after that, I lost track of that part of me all together. I think I fell hard for sewing because I was, unknowingly, in need of something to bring that back. Not that any art form is any less valuable, but making things that will be worn helps the practical part of me justify all the time and lost hours of sleep!

Compared to others, I have been sewing a relatively short time. Even still, it feels so ingrained in me now, that I know it will be lifelong pastime. As my youngest is just nine months, I’ll be making kid clothes for a while. Someday, when my kids are no longer interested in wearing mama-mades, I’m looking forward to spending some more time on building my own handmade wardrobe and starting to quilt.

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I’ve never really given the “why” a lot of thought, so this post has been interesting to write. Hopefully you’ve been able to relate to some of the things I’ve mentioned here or in previous posts. I don’t have my own blog (maybe someday?), but you can follow me out on Instagram. I’ve been so inspired by all the amazing work this season that I have already added many things to my incredibly unrealistic to-sew list. How about you?

kcw: the aftermath
fall

the aftermath

Let’s be honest.  No matter how organized one is for the start of Kids Clothes Week, we all know how things look and feel after the fact. If you’ve been sewing for a few seasons now, you probably have figured out how to prep your fabric and patterns beforehand to maximize your hour each day.  At the start, I imagine, there are lovely piles of pattern pieces on top of beautiful fabrics or at the very least, a clean sewing room with a list of what you wish to accomplish.

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Seven days later, I’m guessing that’s not the case. Although I’ve heard the rumors about people who put things away between projects.

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I will openly admit that it takes me a week or two to get back into the swing of things both physically and emotionally.  Balancing the normal work load and sewing every day is both exhilarating and simultaneously exhausting.  The sewing room generally ends up looking like a tornado came through as I move from project to project.  While most of the time I’m fairly organized, I rarely put things away during the rush of Kids Clothes Week sewing. The pattern pieces are overflowing from the box that holds patterns, all needing to be filed away in my pattern binders.  The pins are left in a pile, instead of neatly slid back into the pin cushion.  Scissors and rotary cutters languish willy-nilly on tables, under piles of fabric, or on the ironing board.  There are threads EVERYWHERE (heaven forbid I’ve used faux fur or fleece) and the pile of fabric bits around the thread catcher is pretty darn embarrassing. And don’t get me started about the seam rippers. All five of mine have gone missing.

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If you continue around the house you’ll find the dish washer  full of clean dishes needing to be put away, the laundry pile is sky-high, and the floors are in desperate need of a mopping. Not to  mention a few buttons or thread spools scattered about. And whether it’s a product of catching up on all the house work, or sheer exhaustion from a week of sewing madness, it often takes me a week or two to get back to the sewing machine.

All of this is caused by the lady of the house taking an hour out of her usual business to sew for her children.  But I have to also admit, I’m not in the slightest bit embarrassed.  As I wander around the house putting away the mess, sweeping away the crumbs, you won’t hear me complaining one bit.  The aftermath is worth seeing smiles light up their darling faces as they pull on that new pair of pants or slip into that personalized pair of pajamas they requested. I’ve accepted and completed the challenge and that in itself is quite an accomplishment.

What about you?  What does the Kids Clothes Week aftermath look like around your house?  Is the aftermath worth it to you?

kcw: overcoming challenges
fall

overcoming challenges

My kids were so kind as to share their stomach virus with me and it hit at the very worst time, day one of Kids Clothes Week. The next day, I got home late from work and discovered that I was missing a part from my machine. What I did find was a half eaten Cheeto where I thought it should have been. After 30 minutes of trying to get my three year old to tell me where he had put the “little white plastic thingy”, it had been recovered but my spirit had not.

The list of makes that I was so excited about, now seemed impossible. I was feeling like a failure before I even began. I kept seeing all this awesome stuff popping up in my Instagram feed and I’ll admit, I was super jealous.

kcw post 2 productivity superstars

1. Party Cocoon 2. Ole 3. Banyan Tee 4. Plaid Playtime

I could let this depressing monologue continue on but let’s get to the point of this post. I’m writing today about how to OVERCOME challenges during Kids Clothes Week. 

For me, it was all about a change of perspective (and a good long nap). In my head I had these items, photographed on clean and smiley children, in perfect light, without a wrinkle or rouge thread in sight. Those beautiful photos would then get posted promptly to await a near immediate barrage of likes and comments. I needed a good reality check. Some of these things don’t even happen in the best of circumstances.

Not to get all Tony Robbins on you, but we really are our own worst enemy sometimes. Although I marvel at some of your productivity, I feel like the real purpose of KCW is just to be purposeful in this strange hobby we love for a whole week. So, here’s some unsolicited advice on how to get out of your own head and regain your sewing mojo.

Pet some pretty fabric. Most of you have a few yards in your stash, yet to be cut, just waiting for the perfect project or until you feel worthy of its use. I have some Nani Iro with a magical ability to tame even my most foul moods and get me inspired to sew again.

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1. Moonlit 2. Mountains 3. Raindrops 4. Liberty

Go to your tried and true. I hack a pattern every KCW and every time, I wonder why I didn’t just sew the darned thing according to the directions! If I really wanted to minimize stress, I would stick with patterns I’ve made several times before. Here are a few that I think many of us could make with our eyes closed, they are just that good.

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1. Playtime tunic 2. Bimaa sweater 3. Geranium dress

Stop comparing. It’s easy to get down on yourself once you see the quality and quantity that everyone else is posting. Try to just click that little heart, leave a kind comment, and shut out the self doubt that might follow. Meg gives us this encouragement every season and it is always a valuable reminder.

Get some sleep. I make a lot of silly mistakes when I’m tired. Sometimes those late night sessions involve more seam ripping and cursing than sewing and smiling. Honestly, if it isn’t going well, what are the chances you are going to pull it together when you can no longer see straight and you’ve  already drowned your woes in a glass (or bottle) of wine? I say, quit while you’re ahead.

So make a frozen pizza, take grainy pictures of crabby kids, put off bath another night, and embrace the chaos. Try to enjoy the process without stressing so much on the end result. Revel in the fact that you sew your kid’s clothes. You’re kind of a big deal.