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Seasons of Sewing

Posted by on April 3, 2013

I am a re-emergent sewist (self-proclaimed). I learned as a young girl from a neighbor lady who had an old Singer treadle. I made a black and white bag and loved it. My mom sewed a lot, but I don’t remember sewing with her. She was, however, my inspiration. Like my dad, she seemed to be able to do anything she set her mind – and hands – to.  And there was the t-shirt I made in my 8th grade home economics class. It was red and turned out fairly well, except for the fact that I couldn’t get it over my head. Thus began my fear of sewing with knits… Anyway ….

My mom gave both my sister and I a Singer sewing machine the year my daughter was about two. I cried. It meant so much to me. I sewed children’s clothes, curtains, dresses for myself, Halloween costumes – you name it. When we moved from California to Illinois, my kids were in fifth grade and kindergarten. I rarely used my Singer and when I did, the tension was a mess, leaving a mound of knotted thread under my sewing piece.  My original love affair with my machine had turned to bitterness, resentment, and dread.

Now, in the third chapter of my sewing life, I’m a grandmother of two sweet little  boys. My daughter and SIL bought and renovated a home and she, too, began to need curtains, and sweet things for her young. Pulling out my old Singer, I decided I’d take it in for a fresh cleaning and repair so the before-mentioned emotions would not return. “Well,” said Mr. Sewing Machine Repairman, “it’ll be more to clean it than what it’s worth.” If it had been a classic Singer, I would have perhaps not agreed, but I was tired and not willing to fight with the old gal.

They, conveniently, not only repaired sewing machines, but sold sewing machines (mostly Bernina, Baby Lock, Janome) and I discovered a lot has happened in the last 25+ years in the sewing machine industry! I decided on a Baby Lock Sophia 2, and everything was an improvement! It had an auto threader, needle up/down, a large selection of stitches, as well as an embroidery capability. I didn’t want to upgrade beyond what I thought I would use, and this model was on sale, so I committed. That was a year and a half ago.

Since then, I’ve made lots of crafts and home decor items (pillows, a quilt, pouches, purses, pillow cases, etc., etc.), but no garments. Having received a dress form for Christmas, I’m looking forward to making things for myself, as well as for family.

I really enjoyed making clothes for my daughter when she was young. I had sweet little tags I’d sew in them and loved to see her face when she’d put it on for the first time (without the pins!). So when a close friend of mine was having a birthday party for her sweet little one-year old daughter, I decided to make something for her, something she could wear while working alongside her Momma-the-very-good-cook, – an apron!

By nature I have a more subdued aesthetic, but sewing for little girls you need lots of color, especially pink! The fabrics I chose for the apron are bright, playful and fun.  I picked up the main fabric from Joann’s, the coordinating green from Hobby Lobby.  I made the apron from McCall’s 5720 and it was an easy, straightforward pattern. There’s a matching apron for Momma, if you wanted to make one.

I wanted to personalize it by adding embroidery using a pattern I purchased from Sarah Jane Studios,  She has a set of little girls in each month of the year, and I chose the birthday girl’s month, which is March, and she is flying a kite. Sarah Jane is a wonderful artist and I love her work and you should check her out! Anyway, I drew it out and embroidered it – before purchasing the fabric. Don’t do this! You’ll fall in love with colors that don’t work!!

I had been hearing about the Pilot Frixion erasable pen. It was perfect for this!

I had been hearing about the Pilot Frixion erasable pen. It was perfect for sketching out the pattern!

I embroidered her before purchasing the fabric. I was going to make her into a pocket

I embroidered her before purchasing the fabric. I was going to make her into a pocket

You may think it matches enough, but she really disappears. So, I have this sweet child waiting for something else.

McCall's 5720

Didn’t the apron turn out pretty? That pink ruffle at the bottom really makes it pop! I didn’t make the ruffle, it’s a by-the-yard pre-ruffled trim from Joann’s. The giant ric rac is playful, tying in the green pockets and straps.  The flower buttons on the front are decorative only, as they were sewn over the ric rac.

Arpon Back

Here’s the back. The morning of the party, I was concerned about the adjustment of the neck strap, so I cut the neck strap (2 hours before the party – am I crazy or what!?) and added two button holes and one smaller, matching button to make it adjustable for a growing girl. Only one button because I’m afraid her hair would get tangled in it, and if that happens, she may never want to wear it again! I made the size 3-4, which was the smallest available. It turned out pretty well, but I would would do that step before sewing the neck strap into the apron next time, just to make the edges neater. Off it went to the party and my friend loved it. Success!

Last week, during Joann’s 5 patterns for $5 (saving $73!) I bought 3 patterns for myself and 2 little boy patterns. My next project is a dress for myself and I’ll let you know how it’s going. Until then, if you make this apron, I’d love to see how yours turned out!

I’m loving this sewing season!

See you soon, Terry

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