All posts filed under: Miscellenia

The Joy of Sewing – and Teaching

I’ve been teaching sewing at Made on Marion for the last 3 months – a quarter of a year. Teaching historical sewing is something I’ve wanted to do for a long time, but I’ve also ended up teaching something that I didn’t expect to teach: beginners sewing. I taught beginners sewing years ago, and I loved it at the time.  I’m loving it now. I sometimes get funny reactions when I mention that I teach basic sewing classes.  The reaction is basically “Isn’t that a little beneath you?”  It’s phrased differently, depending on whether the person means it as a compliment or a snark. The answer is “No, absolutely not!” for many different reasons. First, everybody has to start somewhere as a seamstress.  When I teach advanced classes like corsetmaking and coats one of the worst parts is when I have to untrain and correct bad habits that advanced seamstresses have picked up over the years.  Teach a beginner correctly, and they will have a good foundation for all future sewing. Second, it’s a great …

Winter Coat Weekend & my first coat

Next weekend is my Winter Coat Weekend class at Made on Marion – where we’ll get all the tricky bits of a coat done in one weekend (and, depending on your pattern, all of it, done). This is very much how I made my first coat: two days of mad, happy sewing, learning about bound buttonholes and welt-flap pockets and tailoring wool with the guidance of an expert seamstress. I’m still really proud of that coat: it was a beautiful thing, black wool, silver lining, fabulous silver & black buttons, bound buttonholes, welt-flap pockets, topstitched collar.  It was a testament to my time and growing knowledge, and to the people who taught me.  It fit well, was super warm and comfortable, and went everywhere and did everything to me. I wore it in San Francisco winters and NYC spring snowfalls, to rugby games in Wellington, and everywhere in between.  Alas, when I moved to NZ it was too heavy to pack, and I gave it away.  For all I know it may be still out …

Why reproducing a garment is pretty much the most awesome thing ever

One of the first things I learned when I learned to sew was how to make a pattern from a garment I already owned and reproduce that garment. It’s still one of my very favourite skills, and something I use all the time. There are so many reasons why being able to pattern-up and reproduce a garment you already own is awesome. First, you know it will fit perfectly.  You may spend a little extra time making a pattern rather than using a commercial pattern, but you’ll gain that time back in not having to worry about fit. Next, you know the item will suit you.  For all that I know my body, what I wear, and what looks good on me, I’m still occasionally seduced by a pretty pattern cover, and invest time and money in making something that isn’t going to get a lot of wear.  When I reproduce a garment, that never happens. Not only will a reproduced item suit you, but you know it’s going to work in your wardrobe.  I …