Sunday, March 9, 2008

A Stitch in Time

Hobby #3 - Sewing

ever since birthing a child i find myself more and more domesticated. i love womanly arts - something that really struck me on a trip to sweden in 2000. i visited the home of the famous swedish artist Carl Larsson. instead of oohing and aahing over his paintings, which are fabulous, i was completely blown away by his wife Karin and her tapestries and her decorating and her oh so ahead of her times furniture designs. there was one chair in particular that any mid century modernist furniture maker probably stole from and she designed it in the late 1800s. the carpenter she commissioned to make the piece was so embarrassed by it he made sure she picked it up in the middle of the night and drape fabric over it so that people wouldn't know he made it. anyway - she is an inspiration to me. i have always loved going to the local fair, not to solely partake on the latest fried creation, but to drag my dh into the craft section to ooh and aah over the amazing quilts.

bryan bought me a sewing machine a couple years ago and i was able to figure out how to thread the bobbin and teach myself some basics...after many horrible monstrosities...and begin to start my love of sewing. still very much a novice, i am learning the art and loving the creative side it allows me to exercise.

my recent projects include broomstick horsies for all the 2 year olds in my life, hooter hiders for all the nursing moms in my life, aprons, tote bags, baby blankets and even some clothing.

my nature with most things handmade is not to pattern. i like the organic nature of creating and working things out by trial and error and also the obvious home-made quality. my dh wants me to sell my horsies - which he terms my dopey horsies - but i doubt i could make it into anything profitable at this point and besides i get so much joy of giving someone a gift they couldn't just purchase, something that

although my nature is not to pattern, i decided to challenge myself with a certain tote bag challenge to see if i have advanced enough to follow a pattern. there are several errors, but i actually ended up with a bag! amazed i found myself encouraged that i indeed can sew! i am now on the lookout for new patterns that i can twist with my own stamp and constantly try to not get caught up in making my creation too *perfect*.

for me, sewing provides an outlet to design - from finding the perfect fabric (always a challenge since most fabric stores carry a wide variety of floral patterns and not much else) to the right project and working that project to make it functional. i love the organic process and the feeling that i can create something that people will enjoy. unlike knitting, sewing makes perfect gifts because people truly appreciate functional things that have the homemade touch. not that someone wouldn't appreciate a handmade knit gift, but that sewing projects have a more modern sensibility to them i guess.

i have also found myself maturing through sewing. whereas before i wouldn't have taken the time to iron my ends and create finished edges, i see the importance of taking the extra time to cut correctly and finish my edges and cross my t's and dot my i's if you will. it is a big step for me and i secretly congratulate myself when i am able to accomplish a piece that looks somewhat professional or somewhat sweatshop material.

speaking of sweatshops i must project here and add that sewing is no longer economical. where my mom learned to sew to create outfits of her day because she could not afford the latest trend is no longer the case. fabric is expensive....or i should say good patterns are expensive. it would cost me much more in time and materials to create an outfit than to merely hop on down to forever 21 or whatever china shop trend store and buy something. but that is perhaps beside the point.

although i find myself maturing in this art, i am a far way from the intermediate level. someday i would love to learn to quilt, but all that exact cutting and math and matching edges leaves me a little cross-eyed at this point. i will stick to my beginner patterns and staple presents until i mature a little more into the exactness that the art of quilting requires.

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