Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Starting a sewing adventure

   I can crochet. I can do cross-stitch. I can do a little embroidery.
But I can’t sew. And I want to.
A little background: when my mother still sewed, she was a wonderful seamstress. She could make anything—dresses, blouses, shirts, pants, quilts—and did it beautifully. As a child, I watched her sew and imagined that one day I would do it.
When I was 14, my mother let me take a sewing class through the local recreation department.


Here I am at 14 sewing in class.

I managed to make a drawstring skirt. But I remembered nothing afterwards about how I had accomplished it.
Flash forward 30 years. I decided I wanted to give sewing another try, so my husband bought me a great sewing machine for Christmas in 2007.

My sewing machine.
I managed to push through my procrastination and anxiety and learned to use the machine. I made some pillows and cut out blocks to make a little quilt. I didn’t do a great job, but I was learning.
Then things went south for my mental health—I went through an episode of depression and extreme anxiety, the worst anxiety and fear that I’d ever experienced. And the cover stayed on the sewing machine.
It’s been sitting downstairs in the basement in my work area ever since. But I periodically thought about it and kept telling myself that some day I would learn.
Last week, for reasons I still don’t understand, I felt the need and the energy to go downstairs and clear away the things I’d stacked around the sewing machine. I made room on my worktable. I dusted everything.
And Sunday night I sat down and loaded up a bobbin and rethreaded the machine.
It wasn’t easy. I didn’t remember how to do it, so I had to follow the instructions in the user manual, some of which I didn’t understand. Larry helped me and we finally got it done.
I took out fabric and looked over some patterns I have.
I decided to make an apron for Larry since he does more cooking than he used to do. It won’t be a feminine apron—I’m using material covered in a Virginia Tech motif. Virginia Tech is his alma mater.

Fabric with a Virginia Tech theme.
I’m going to try this. I know it won’t be perfect. I can’t guarantee that it will even be good. But something in me wants to try.
I’ve again pushed through the procrastination and the anxiety. I don’t know if it’s therapy, medication or both, but I’m feeling more like doing things.
And I want to make something for my husband.

Do you sew or do other crafts? What was the last thing you made, or what is your current project? Does anxiety or depression ever get in the way of enjoying your activities?

30 comments:

  1. Love the apron material! That is hysterical - ha ha!! I guess I would have to use New England Patriot material for my husband. : )

    Oh yes, my illness often got in the way of doing stuff. I have a couple small cross-stitch projects that have been waiting for me to work on for a while. I'll get to them some day. However, I've been really busy lately (which is a really good thing for me) so I just haven't had the chance to get to them. Good problem to have.

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    1. Sunny, Virginia Tech material is probably the only fabric I could use for an apron that my husband will wear!

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  2. I love the idea of an apron for him - and the pattern is great.

    I can only sew a straight line at this point, and I admit my grandfather would be mortified at that, as he was a tailor! My mother is able to sew fairly well though, and I have just started to get an interest in it. I have made quite a few camera strap covers, but that's as far as it goes.

    My "cup of tea" tends to be in scrapbooking - that is where I feel most creative.

    Please be sure to show us the end product - no matter what it looks like!

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    1. I love the creativity people show in their scrapbooking! I will show the apron, but it might not be pretty!

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  3. My daughter is super creative and a wonderful seamstress (she has her own children's clothing line) I was in SC with her last Winter and she helped me pick out a sewing machine and then showed me how to use it. I think threading the machine and putting thread on the bobbin was the hardest part. lol So I am brand new to sewing too. I made tea towels for my first project and then an apron. I bought a really simple skirt pattern to try next. Once I get going, I find that the hum of the machine is relaxing. OCD can get in the way..I have a worktable and chest with all my fabric stored away and I can get caught up in making sure everything is put away neatly..so sometimes I don't want to sew because I don't want to worry about that. It makes me sad to think I miss out on fun activities because of OCD. I am so happy to hear that you are feeling like you want to want to do things..that is awesome in itself.

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    1. Krystal Lynn, I get hung up on making a mistake that I won't be able to fix. I get really anxious. But once the sewing machine starts humming away, I start to relax.

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    2. On my apron I sewed the seams closed where I was supposed to attach the ties across the waist..I was a mess. It took less time to fix it than I spent getting upset. Like, where in the world did I come up with the idea I must do everything perfect the first try? My daughter told me she has made zillions of mistakes, some she can repair but she has thrown away fabric away many times. She just laughs about it. Her work is so beautiful but it took practice. You and I are allowed to make mistakes..we will create beautiful things and mess up sometimes too. I am so proud of you and can't wait to see your creation. You know your husband will just adore it.

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    3. Thank you, Krystal Lynn, for your encouragement! Your daughter has the right attitude, doesn't she?

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  4. Good for you for pushing through your anxiety, Tina. I love the material! In seventh grade, I jammed a sewing machine in "home economics" class. The teacher got angry and said I should stay away from sewing forever (or something like that). And I have!Isn't it amazing how somebody's words can really affect you? The truth is, it's just not "my thing," but I so admire people who can sew! Good luck with your project!

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    1. Thank you, Janet. What an awful thing for a teacher to tell you, even if sewing isn't your thing. A teacher/guidance counselor told my husband when he was in about 8th grade that he'd never make a living working with his hands. He still remembers that remark to this day, and it kept him from doing more with carpentry, which he really enjoyed. Now that he's retired, he's doing more with it and enjoying it.

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  5. Wonderful! Having been on a similar journey with crafts, I am excited for you. It feels good to conquer fear, yes? Even just clearing the space and taking the step to face the sewing machine...I could feel it. I have been there.

    You already know about the skirt I'm knitting -- and after much angst and ripping sections out over and over again, I'm a few weeks away from completion! It looks great. I'll post photos and the happy ending on my blog.

    I also gave my stepdaughter's favorite stuffed bear a makeover, and I hadn't used a sewing machine in years! It really aggravated the ol' anxiety (she's had that bear since she was little), but I stuck with it. I even made her an accompanying children's book telling a semi-fictional story of the bear's makeover (I took progress photos along the way). It was a big hit and got me comfortable again with a sewing machine.

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    1. Nadine, what a wonder thing you did for your stepdaughter! How creative, too! I can't wait to hear about the skirt. I bet it will turn out lovely.

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  6. First time I sewed, I sewed the sleeve on a shirt upside down. So it pointed up and laughed for about 20 minutes uncontrollably at the thought. I was in high school with some nuns, volunteering to sew at a psychiatric hospital. The resident I was helping, kept repeating, "Its OK." as I laughed helpless to stop myself. This only made it funnier, thinking of her walking around with one arm up, as if nothing was wrong. I can still picture it and hear her.

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    1. Jodi, What a funny, wonderful memory! It sounds like something I would do.

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    2. Ok Jodi - that was laugh OUT LOUD funny! Great story. Sounds like something I would sew!

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    3. Oh my..hilarious!! I love the resident's response too.

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  7. That is a pretty fancy machine!

    I go through periods where the anxiety is so bad that sewing is the last thing I think about. Then the machine gets covered up. When I feel better or want to make something, I too have to dust it off and re-learn how to thread that darn bobbin :-)

    I'm glad you're experimenting with sewing.

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    1. Elizabeth, I'll probably never learn to use everything on the machine. Why is it so hard to thread the machine? I thought I'd never get it.

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  8. Oh good luck! I tend to get frustrated easily sewing. I'm just not very good at it. I took a class last summer through City of Roanoke. I had fun and made a purse and a teepee for the kids. They weren't great but they did get finished!

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    1. How cool--a teepee! I bet the boys enjoyed it. That sounds more fun than an apron! LOL

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  9. Ok, one more comment..I have to tell you that when I was first married my husband asked me to sew the crotch of his uniform cause it ripped and I didn't turn it inside out. I can still see his face when he saw it. LOL

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    1. Oh, Krystal Lynn, thank you for the laugh--it so sounds like something I would do.

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    2. Krystal Lynn, just knowing what a funny and witty person you are, oh my, this story just seems to fit! Really cute story. I'm thinking that Tina should write more posts on sewing. I like all the laughing I'm doing reading the comments!

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  10. I sew too. And enjoy it as well when it's for myself. But my family often asks me to fix things or sew curtains or so for them and that I enjoy less as it's often boring work. ;(
    I also love to knit, and do crochet and cross stitch, but when I'm depressed I enjoy none of them. I still do them at times like that, but it's really no more than going through the motions without enjoying it. I just feel it's good to keep busy.
    But, I'm knitting a big blanket for my son on the moment that is nearly done, so I am getting pretty excited about it now! So nice to be able to make a gift for someone else.

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    1. Oh and Tina, yes, I would love to see your apron too when it's finished!

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    2. Klaaske, It's wonderful to make a gift for someone, and from what I've see of your work, I know the blanket will be beautiful! I get excited, too, when I'm almost at the end of a big project. The biggest blankets I've made are crocheted baby blankets.

      I will show pictures of the apron, but it may not be too great! :-) I plan to work on it some tonight.

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  11. Hi Tina! I've never been interested in working on things with my hands, but at the moment I'm doing some art with a friend. She's encouraging me heaps, and today for the first time since we've started, (about 3 months), I enjoyed today's effort. I did scrapbooking and mixed media, and loved it :) It wasn't perfect, as everything has to be in my eyes, but I was happy with it. That's a real achievement in my life! Susan.

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    1. Susan, I think it's great that you're doing artwork. I'm so glad you enjoyed it, too. Just keep reminding yourself--as I have to remind myself--that it doesn't have to be perfect!

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  12. I think it's great that you are feeling better and taking on a few things. Can't wait to see the results!

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    1. Thank you, Yaya. I'm excited and anxious about it, but I'm having fun, too!

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