Hobby Week–Sewing

I have decided that this week shall be Hobby Week here at Beehive and Birdsnest. I like to collect hobbies which isn’t surprising considering I was born to two people who always had some “thing” that they were into. My dad leaned toward things that go. He was on the pit crew for a few race car teams and then fell madly in love with sailboating. My mother liked to do practical things: make shoes (which she learned from the monks at the monestery down the road from us), weld, make jewelry (we’re talking lost wax and pouring molten metal; not stringing beads). She also happens to be a very good artist as well.

When I was five my parents built a house. Quite literally. They hired a crew to pour a foundation and build a frame. Then Mom and Dad did everything else. Themselves. They ran the wiring, plumbing and ductwork, framed the walls, built every cabinet from scratch and hung the doors and windows. It turned out pretty darn nice.

Our unofficial family motto is We Learn How To Do Things.

I inherited my parent’s practical practical streak. But I also have a love for pretty things. My mother leans heavily on duct tape and making things work. The way they look doesn’t really matter that much. But if I’m going to do something it had better be beautiful or what’s the point?

I started sewing early on. I was always picky (and poor) so the only way to get the really cute clothes I wanted was to make them myself. Fortunately my mother is a crackerjack seamstress. She can create anything you show her. She taught me well and the rest I picked up through the years.

Sewing is such a great skill to have. It can save so much money. For example, I decided that I need a bag of a certain size. It needed to have a top that shut somehow and it needed to be cute. I searched Etsy and couldn’t find exactly what I wanted. So instead I bought a pattern on Etsy (from EmiShimosato), changed a few things and made the bag myself out of fabric I already had on hand. It wasn’t hard and took maybe two hours from start to finish. That’s the thing about sewing. Depending on the pattern, it’s not too difficult. It’s more like learning a new operating system on your computer or doing very strange origami. Once you’ve done a few projects it starts making sense and getting much easier.

For example, who would guess that this bizarre inside-out ring:
Would ten minutes later look like this? Just what I wanted!

I’ll bet that there are some excellent sewing tutorials on You Tube. I’ve had great luck buying patterns on etsy. The directions are really well explained and there are usually tons of pictures too. These are great especially if you’ve been burned in the past by trying to make something from one of the big name pattern companies (those are sooo hard to figure out, even for people with lots of experience.) I haven’t tried every pattern on Etsy, obviously, but the ones I have tried have been so nice to work with and incredibly easy to uderstand. Add to that the fact that the patterns are almost always downloadable immediately (yay instant gratification!) and the designer can usually be emailed if you have a question.

If you’ve tried sewing in the past and have been scared off, let the internet help you out. There are online tutorials and lots of people who are willing to help you.

Honestly I’m not in love with sewing. I’m not passionate about it. The whole time I’m sewing I’m just waiting, waiting to get the finished product. Very few things are as gratifying, though, as sewing. It’s such a money-saver (although most kids clothes can definitely be bought cheaper!) If you need curtains for your house sewing can save you a ton.

All in all this is one hobby that, while not the funnest thing ever (them’s fighting words to a quilter!), should be taught to everyone. It’s just so darn useful!

Are you a sewer? If not, why? Have you ever taken lessons or anything like that?

Stay tuned for more hobbies all week long.
| Filed under Fix-it, Good Things, Making Stuff

8 thoughts on “Hobby Week–Sewing

  1. i find it ironic how you post this the day after me and my mother had yet another argument about how I need to learn to sew…

    Fortunately, my Halloween costume involves hot gluing, safety pins, and a few hand stitches. I persuaded my mother to sew one seam for me, and ta da! Little effort on my part…

  2. ACK! Oh the guilt! Oh the pressure!
    Reading your post made me itch with uneasiness. Seriously.

    My mom sewed when I was little but never passed the skill on… that and spanish (thanks a lot mom, Hello we live CALIFORNIA!)
    Anyhow, No, I do not sew. Needle and thread yes. Machine and Bobbin, No.

    Oh how that Bobbin scares me. And all that looping and threading that thread just to get the darn machine going. It makes me sweat jsut thinking about it.

    So, I know I am failure for not teaching my kids to sew. They can wash their clothes and cook though, so at least they'll be clean and fat adults! 🙂

  3. Your mom sounds like my mom. My mom would fix anything in the house. And she was also like your mom in that function comes before form. LOTS OF DUCT TAPE.

    My mom is a master furniture refinisher. She knows each step and how to do it right. And it always turns out beautiful.

    In my old ward in Upland, CA, Sister Tuttle made furniture. Like once, she wanted a bigger kitchen table, so she found out how to do it. And then she ended up making her kitchen cabinets, children's beds, entertainment center and dressers.

    I like people that just make it happen.

  4. My mom taught me how to sew and quilt. Although I am fairly competent I, like you, really don't enjoy the process- only the outcome! I have six gorgeous quilt squares all pieced together and ready to be made into a new table runner, but I just don't want to do it! Maybe I can get my mom to do it for me…

    I love your mom's resourcefulness. It is inspirational!

  5. I sew for the product not the experience, too. I just bought my first Etsy pattern last week and can't wait to try it.

  6. Your sewing project turned out really cute. I also like to sew and can figure out how to make things on my own fairly easily. I love how we can take some fabric and do a few cuts here and there, add some seams, then have a wonderful item at the end. I have mostly sewn with cottons and non-stretchy fabrics and wish I were better at knits. It's a fun hobby, I agree. I enjoyed hearing your family background about hobbies.

  7. There is only one big reason why I am not a sewer: Thread. I can never get the bobbin threaded, and if I do, it gets tangled up immediately with the top thread or breaks and disappears. I spend 90% of the time I'm trying to sew either untangling or re-threading the machine. I guess I am thread-challenged. NOT worth the frustration!

  8. This is just what I needed to read. I have on my 2010 New Year's resolutions, "Learn to sew." Well here we are in October and I haven't done a single thing to be able to check that one off! It actually looks pretty fun to me except that fact that when I have tried in the past I end up with a mess of thread tied in knots on my fabric, leading me to believe sewing ain't for me!! But I will try again, and maybe soon!!

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