Years ago I met a fabulously wealthy woman who could easily buy couture for just everyday wear. And the way in which she was always impeccably dressed with the most unique skirts (her trademark) and dresses, made me think she did. For the longest time I avoided asking her where she shopped because I knew that I would just have to run to the store only to be disappointed because I couldn’t afford what she could. However, after saving pennies faithfully I decided to splurge on a skirt like hers and asked where she got them.
It is true, her clothes were couture except that they were made for her by her. This chic Frenchwoman sewed all her own clothes!
The shock must have been written all over my face because she invited me over the next week to see her sewing room. She showed me her patterns, her fabrics from around the world as well as some dresses she was working on. For the next several weeks I’d have tea with her as she helped me to sew a skirt. Although my mother had sewn or knitted most of my clothes growing up and I took it in school, as an adult I just never thought twice about sewing things on my own. That is until I, too, had a skirt that was wonderful, quick and easily made. When my skirt was finished I was hooked and wanted nothing more than to have a sewing room filled with fabrics, patterns, mannequins and freshly brewed tea.
But then I moved away and left my friend and her pretty sewing room and my small flats never seemed to have the space for a machine or a box of patterns. Then when I moved to America it seemed cheaper and quicker to just buy most things than to make especially since when I first came (1999) most “home made” things seemed to centre around being crafty (glue guns, anyone?) and practical but perhaps not pretty.
However lately with a resurgence in sewing books and blogs that talk so wonderfully about sewing and making useful, pretty things, I’m thinking about getting into it once more. In fact, on my last few trips to Liberty of London, I’ve spent more in the notations and fabric areas than anywhere else. So it’s time to put that all to use.
Here are a few sewing discoveries I’ve made:
I signed of for A Beautiful Mess’s sewing e-class. Having bought a sewing machine in 2009 and never used it once, I figured this class would be a helpful way to change that.
I’ve collected an embarrassing amount of sewing books. They’re like cookery books – so beautiful that I can’t help it!
Madalyne’s Sewing Blog is gorgeous. What I love is that she offers individual classes to help you get through a project if you’re stuck. I might just have to take one.
Simple Sewing with a French Twist: An Illustrated Guide to Sewing Clothes and Home Accessories with Style (for more images visit the author Celine Dupuy’s site). In love with the wonderful pictures and the beautiful, practical yet easy to make patterns. It has my sense of style with things I’d actually use (or expect to buy at one of my favourite stores) and thought this might be a good intro.
Amy Butler’s In Stitches: More Than 25 Simple and Stylish Sewing Projects was actually the catalyst for me a few months ago. When I saw this book I was really interested in getting back into sewing. Then when I saw what Emira at Domicile had made from it, I was even more interested.
Anna Maria Horner’s blog was the one of the first sewing/pattern blogs I ever read years ago (I think almost 10?) in which she posted about her young daughers newly sewn jumper dress and bag and I swear those photos, that dress and that bag could have been in a magazine (to which I would have said, “where can I buy that!”)
If there are any sewers out there with advice, links or ideas, I’d love to hear them.
(This post originally written December 30th, 2006 but updated because I’m trying to do this all over again!)