Dust It Off and Try Again

After sitting neglected in its box since middle school, my sewing machine is finally getting some love!


When I was in sixth grade, I had planned to learn to sew, inspired by my mother’s stories of how her mother could look at a dress in a storefront and replicate it to perfection (and by the idea that I would be able to make clothes that would be tailored to my own proportions and not some ideal model generic standard).  I may have an hourglass build, but I’m rather petite (5’0″) and muscular, which means storebought clothes made for a short, smallish person typically don’t accommodate my athleticism (le sigh). The best looking outfits I’ve ever had were handmade or custom fitted (translate: cheerleading uniforms and wedding dress) because they actually fit me.

Anyway, my grandmother was an expert seamstress, right up until the stroke-induced dementia robbed her of her prodigious skill.  My mother can sew a button, but a seamstress and a quilter she is not.  My learning to sew options diminished rather rapidly, and other interests and activities took precedence–you know, things like school, cheerleading, music, friends, boys….

Flash forward 18 years to January 2013.  My husband and I have really wanted a new coverlet for our bed, mainly because the chartreuse green Tarjay coverlet we bought four or five years ago is looking, erm, sick.  It has faded to a horrid shade of puce.  Suffice it to say, our bed has a chronic sinus infection.  I fully expect to wake up in the night and think I am cuddling with one of those creepy Mucinex characters instead of Chris, except it will really be Chris enshrouded in the sinus blanket.  Only one of our cats likes to sleep on it (the one with no discerning palate…Have food? Will eat.  Have bed? Will sleep.).  Despite DH’s chagrin at the thought of buying more bedding, he reluctantly agreed that we should look for a replacement.  I watched white sales and clearance sales on bedding from West Elm, Pottery Barn, etc., but for the price, they just seemed a little lackluster. Nothing spoke to me, which is apparently unusual, since Chris says that bedding (especially pillows), must shout my name when I enter a store. Then, a bold idea struck: What if I made a quilt for our bed?! Did I mention we have a king size bed?  If you’re an expert quilter, you’re already laughing, aren’t you? A novice, tackling a behemoth.  Just call me David. 🙂

Well, I may have lofty goals, but I’m not an idiot.  I decided to refresh my rusty sewing skills by starting much simpler (hence why this post is not in January when I began thinking about this!).  After finishing my PhD coursework this spring (ah, priorities!), I began the summer of sewing by hand sewing some buttons on some shirts, shorts, and pants that had been awaiting these for months? years? sometime in a drawer.  Then, I tackled a stuck zipper on a skirt I had not been able to wear in six years, thanks to some expert advice from the almighty Internet.  Voila! A “new” skirt for work/school.  That’s when I broke out the big guns and dusted off my sewing machine to try again, try again. (Remember this song?)

I decided to start machine sewing with some simple reversible napkins, and sew begins my journey towards becoming a seamstress and quilter. Stay tuned for the breakdown of how it went down!