Friday, 14 September 2012

Learning as I go along

The first time I used a sewing machine was in Family Studies class in grade six. I remember being terrified that I was going to somehow manage to sew through my finger (I really didn't have any faith in the machine's foot...) Over the next three years, I produced a series of sewing mishaps, euphemistically referred to as 'projects' by my teacher, who must have wondered how anyone could so consistently sew crooked lines, get the tension wrong, or just not even line up pieces of fabric. To be honest, I much preferred shop class, where I had no trouble making a mail box with key hooks, wiring a lamp, and producing endless plastic key rings. When middle school was over I left sewing behind me and never looked back...until I became a mum.

I somehow got it into my head that Ruby should have homemade costumes. After all, that's what I had had when I was growing up. So, the sewing machine would come out once a year, usually with Hallowe'en looming only two weeks ahead, and I would cut out patterns, piece together fabric, and sew. But that was about my limit, and by the time Hallowe'en was over I was glad to put put away the sewing machine for another year. Then Oscar was born, and I was glad to have an excuse to switch to store-bought costumes.

This summer, inspired by my friend Jessica, I decided to pull out my sewing machine again. Jessica had made a couple of sundresses for her daughter, and Ruby had been admiring them. At eight years old, Ruby will soon be at the point where she doesn't want to wear sundresses. So, I decided to at least try to make one sundress. I figured the worst that could happen would be that the dress would be an abject failure, and that Ruby would realise that my talents as a mother lay elsewhere (pie-making, explaining Plato's Theory of Forms, etc...)

Well, I did it. And here are the pictures to prove it:


I found the tutorial on how to make this dress on a great blog called craftiness is not optional. The pattern is for a much younger child, but it was really easy to adapt. So, the sundresses were a success, Ruby is now convinced that I am a a fantastic seamstress (for now anyway...) and I'm working on a new sewing project. Sometimes, you just have to get out there and try something new. I'm glad I did.

What is something new you've tried to learn?


  1. Your daughter is a very lucky little girl, and I bet she always remember these dresses fondly. I tried quilting a few years ago - hand pieced a lovely twin sized quilt, which has now sat in a closet for 5 years waiting to be actually quilted (all pinned together to the batting and everything...).
    Now I do card making ( - I am not very artistic, but am learning as I go - some are "meh", and others are good enough for me to be surprised I made them! Keep up the discoveries :)

    1. Thanks Sarah. I hope Ruby remembers these dresses. You never can tell with kids. At least I have photos of them to show her later. Frankly, I'm always impressed by anyone who can quilt, as it seems so intricate.