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So, um.  I tried sewing today.  And there were some failures (I totally botched the drawstring bags) and some successes (I made two throw pillow covers that look pretty decent).  And a realization that it’s probably good that I’m having now.

I don’t find sewing to be fun.

Sure, playing with colors and figuring out what fabric you want for something is neat, but the actual process of sewing is too fussy and precise and neat and fiddly and specific and meticulous for someone that’s a big ol’ messy haphazard improvisational slob.

I do like knitting, becuase at least with knitting you can fix things after the fact – there’s a process at the end, called “blocking”, where you soak the knitted whatever in water and lay it out flat in the specific shape you need it to be and let it dry that way, with pins holding it in the exact shape you need it.  It’s kind of magic – the process can be messy and imprecise, but then the blocking process magically evens out all the wonky stitches you did and your knitted piece is the way it’s supposed to look; the uneven stitches even up, the holes in lace yawn open, and your thing is nice and even and flat.  But with sewing, you have to cut things to the exact specific precise shape you need them and you need to sew in exactly specifically precisely the place you need your stitches to be and if you do something like sneeze you run the risk of your seam going uneven


Well, it’s better I know that now.  There is one quirky and silly and fun thing I did like – there’s a quilt-top-making process people use with pre-cut strips of fabric called “Jelly rolls”, where you take a crapton of strips of fabric and sew them together end-to-end, and then take the big long strip and cut it in half and sew those strips together side-by-side, and then repeat that until you have a pre-sewn nice stripey bit of fabric.  I had some fabric I ordered off ebay from someone’s scraps – a strip about three inches wide and 60 long – and I tried that with it and ended up with a nice-looking front for a pillow cover.  I ordered some more strips off ebay recently that are coming, and I have some other random patches, so I may just use them to piece a quick throw blanket together and then give all the rest of my patches and fabric to Niki when I return the sewing machine, along with the two or three sewing books I’ve somehow found in my travels.  But I’ll have a couple cushion covers and a throw and the right to say that I sewed them, and that’ll be good enough and I’ll go back to looser-limbed crafts instead.



3 responses »

  1. I like the idea of sewing (again) but I know I’m not precise enough for the work. My Mom was an expert sewer and I regret I didn’t take more advantage of learning how to really sew well, but the idea of setting in a perfect sleeve and getting those button holes right will just never be a reality. I did love sitting in fabric stores pouring over those big pattern books and best of all choosing fabric. Mom made most of our clothes and after they had their use she cut them up in blocks and made quilts. On my bed right now is a quilt mostly in lovely shades of rose and pink with prints of the dresses we use to wear. Maybe some day when I retire I’ll take up sewing again just to be able to buy the fabric.

    • That technique about randomly sewing strips together, the “Jelly Roll Race”, is just wonky and freewheeling enough that I kind of liked it – I had a bunch of scraps of feed sack fabric I bought off ebay, and they were ultimately all too small and weird shaped to do anything with them; so I cut them all into the same size strips, sewed all those strips together end-to-end, and then randomly sewed them together using this technique –

      It’s actually made a great third cushion cover (although one that’s a little small for my current pillows, so I’ll need to get a form just for it); it’s random and patchworky and mixed-up in a way I like. I have a couple of other such “Jelly roll” pre-cut strip bundles and I think I’ll just do that with them.

      My mother tried quilting once as a hobby when I was in high school, and I think she made a quilt for my cousin when she was just born. However – that was the last thing she ever made. She asked my father to take a picture of the quilt before sending it to my cousin, and my father misunderstood and didn’t just take a picture of the quilt, but also of her face as she held it up. It’s a hysterical picture – the qult is actually really nicely done, but then you look from that up to my mother’s face and she looks completely and utterly exhausted and pissed off. I think Mom saw that and decided “I think I don’t like quilting, I’m done.”


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