One of my Me Made May challenges to myself is to do more reflecting on my sewing journey. In reflecting, I thought about how my sewing journey all started.
My grandparents were tailors in the Philippines. They came to live in America when I was a little child. My grandma made many dresses for me as a child, mostly for special occasions and events. I realize now how very lucky I was to have that opportunity. What a gift! My sister and I (and sometimes, even my mom) would always match.
My favorite outfits were my special occasion dresses. When I was 12 years old, tuxedo dresses were in style. My grandma made a tuxedo dress for me for my 12th birthday party outfit. It was a white tuxedo shirt with a red tuxedo tie and a black skirt with a little ruffle at the bottom. I loved that outfit. She also made my 8th grade graduation dress. I even got to design it. She made it exactly how I drew it. It was a pink long formal gown with a sweetheart neckline and puffed sleeves with a little ruffle at the bottom. I think that was the last thing she ever made for me and I still have it. I wish I had kept the other things she made for me. She made Barbie doll clothes out of her sewing scraps for me. She made special occasion dresses for my sister and aunts and I would borrow them to wear to my high school dances. What a special memory.
I remember how my grandma always sewed barefoot and wouldn’t you know it, I only sew barefoot, too. I don’t know how to sew with shoes on!
I first learned how to sew in October 2015. I was in a little bit of a funk and needed something to focus my attention on. I decided that I needed a new hobby and another way of creating. I decided it was the perfect time to learn how to sew. The first thing I made with my sewing machine was a Peter Pan cap for my Halloween costume. I found a pattern online and followed it. It was pretty simple to make and I was so proud of myself. Here’s a picture of me wearing my Peter Pan cap. I’m with my work friends. It’s Halloween 2015 and our whole unit is dressed as Disney characters. I am on the far left dressed as Peter Pan.
I wanted to learn more. I hired someone to teach me the basics. I considered it a birthday gift to myself. Her name was Nicole and her company was called Zen in the Art of Sewing. I actually found her on Groupon and she also had sewing groups in her home to teach beginners how to sew. She also taught people privately. I had her come to my house the day before my birthday to teach me how to thread my sewing machine and how to do certain stitches, like how to gather and hem, do a french seam and sew pleats and darts. She taught me about different fabrics. She also bought my first tools, such as scissors, seam ripper, pins with a magnetic pin holder and other essentials. She came to my house for a total of 3 sessions. She taught me a lot and enough to get me started. She also sewed barefoot and said that was the only way she knew how to sew. What a coincidence!
In November, my family and I took a week long “vacation” to Texas and I decided that would be the best time to start a sewing project. When I was in Texas, I bought a New Look pattern, fabric, scissors and pins (because I didn’t bring them from home, it was a last minute decision). I watched Professor Pin Cushion YouTube videos on how to make a dress using a pattern. With that first pattern, I learned how to sew darts, pleats and put in a zipper! Definitely not a beginner pattern, but I did it. I didn’t even realize that I could have sewn a more simple dress. I think did a really good job, considering that it was my first time. I actually wore my creation to work and received many compliments. I also had a chance to show Nicole my first completed dress. She said I did a great job for my first dress and I remember her saying it’s because my grandma was a tailor and that I had sewing in my blood.
“Courage starts with showing up and letting ourselves be seen.” – Brene Brown
Happy Me Made May and happy sewing!