A long-winded, parentheses-filled post about sewing

21 10 2009

Once upon a time, I was in 4-H to learn how to sew. (A special 4-H post has been brewing for awhile. Stay tuned!)

After exhibiting at the fair (I got a blue ribbon!), I used the rest of my skirt fabric–a geometric print with hot pink, turquoise, and black shapes and slashes on a white background–to make a bag.

I’m thinking I was in 4th or 5th grade at the time. Everyone had a bag like this:


Except for me. (Whatever happened to Esprit, anyway? And Guess?? [I put two question marks in there because one of them is part of the title.] Gone the way of Debbie Gibson and Tiffany, I suppose.)

I thought to myself, “I can sew. I can make a cool bag that will almost be as good as Esprit.”

Well, let’s just say that began a long line of sewing visualizations falling short of the actual reality. (The bag was, however, the only thing I made that ever caused me physical harm. I’ve already used parentheses too often in this post, though, so I’ll save it for the future with 4-H.)

Bags are so handy that I can’t seem to get away from them. Twenty some-odd years later, I’m still making bags. Here are two I made for a raffle tonight at my kids’ school:



(Psst. They’ve also got books inside! Please buy a ticket!) (Actually, I don’t know if I’ll even get this post finished before tonight, and I don’t think anyone who is going to be there also reads my blog. Apparently, I’m just going for the most-parenthetical-statements-in-a-single-blog-post record.)

My visions are more closely aligned with the finished products nowadays. Not always, but more often.

This next is probably my favorite bag, though. From this shirt:


(that I wore for my sophomore school picture),

I made this bag for Eden’s piano books:


I am amazed at how gigantic those denim shirts are. Anyway, its second life is a happy one.

I’d been happily sewing, making aprons and bags and Halloween costumes, when one day I saw a show.

I don’t watch much tv. There isn’t really time for it in my schedule, and when there is time I’d rather be reading a book. That’s just the way I am.

But one morning, early, my walking partner bailed on me (see–she does it sometimes, too! Just not nearly as much as I do . . .), so I thought I’d see if they had any Pilates workouts “On Demand” (which is something the cable company does for those of us who don’t have Tivo or DVRs) because I’ve always wondered what Pilates is. I found the fitness section (where there was no Pilates to be found) and while trying to decide between a 3 minute ab workout and a 12 minute ab workout, a preview came on.


For this:




Three minutes later, I watched my first Project Runway Episode.

Ten minutes later, I was completely hooked.


Probably only my mom knows this, but I used to want to be a fashion designer.


I had a Kimberly doll (I really wanted a picture of her in her red-and-white roller skates, but I couldn’t find one) that I would dress up for hours on end, using fabric scraps to make new clothes for her. Of course, I actually stuck the fabric into her body by pulling her arms out of their sockets and tucking it in instead of sewing the clothes, but it was still designing! I swear it was!


So Me + Project Runway = an insane obsession that has brought up a lot of my childhood aspirations.


I have watched (and waited, impatiently, for Thursdays) every episode this season. I have ordered past seasons and have watched three of them already on Netflix. Some of it is a little creepy, and a lot of the designers are full of drama and bad language. Still, I love it.

I love it for many reasons.

Especially when I started noticing this Heidi:


Looks a lot like my Heidi:


(Note the similarities, despite one being a professional picture I stole off a search engine and one being a picture of a picture taken in high school: the lovely brown eyes, the beautiful high cheek bones, the beguiling triangle smile. Heidi, you’re a dead ringer!)

So, where am I going with this? Well.

After 20 + years of making bags, I’m starting to make clothes.

And not just for my kids, either.


For myself.


That’s huge, especially if you are me and have an irrational fear of looking like you are wearing something homemade. I’m making a dress right now. If it isn’t too embarrassing, I’ll post a photo when it’s done. (If it is too embarrassing, I’ll give it to Goodwill and no one will ever know I made it. Deal?)

I think I’ll ask for a dress form for Christmas.