This week, my aim was to consolidate all of the basic sewing skills I have very recently acquired in my sewing adventure. This is particularly important, as I want to make my first attempt at sewing a dress next week. In order to adequately consolidate my skills, I set myself the task of making more of the items that I had made during my previous 3 weeks of sewing. I have been helped along by the fact that Mothers’ Day is fast approaching (26th March for us UK folk).
From my previously completed projects, I would be giving my mum and my fiancé’s nanny a few of my previously completed projects. All I had left to make were 2 cushion covers for my mother-in-law (to be). I have also made the decision to start an Etsy shop, in order to sell some of the accessories I have started to make.
I have various items that I would like to eventually start to sell, however zipper pouches are the first items on which I want to concentrate. This meant making more zipper pouches in order to practice improving upon their quality. I particularly like working with the PVC coated cotton but wanted to practise working with this material much more. Keeping my sewing goals at the forefront of my mind, my list of chosen projects was: 2 cushion covers and 5 zipper pouches.
With my consolidation plan decided, I anticipated that I would complete an item a day, spanning across the entire week. This did not happen (many are the plans of a person’s heart) but I’ll save the reason why for my next post. What actually happened is that I took a break from the sewing machine for 4 days, then had the bright idea of challenging myself to complete all 7 items over the space of one evening/night.
I currently suffer from insomnia, a side effect from the work-related stress I sustained in my previous job, and thought it best to turn this weakness into a creative strength. I started my first zipper pouch at 17:30 on Friday evening (GMT) and finished my last cushion at 02:00 on Saturday morning (GMT). Every single item was completed within this time. In hindsight, this was a very ambitious task for a newbie sewist, however it was during this time sewing that I had my ‘EUREKA’ moment.
I cannot explain exactly what happened, except to say that everything suddenly clicked. I knew which steps to undertake next without the aid of a video tutorial, having continuously stumbled on this particular skill in previous projects. I finally began to understand why things had to be completed in a particular order or in a particular way. I noticed that my understanding of the fabrics I was using had greatly improved. I was cutting the fabric much better and working more efficiently, which meant that I was working much quicker. It felt amazing! I only used the seam ripper three times, a feat I still cannot quite believe that I achieved.
I encountered a few problems along the way, but they were minor and I was able to change my technique in order to accommodate for these issues, yet achieve the overall effect for the particular item. In the 4 days that I spent away from the sewing machine, I must have given my brain the time to properly process the new skills that I have been learning, therefore enabling me to effectively put them into practice when they were next called upon. Not only am I absolutely thrilled that the very basic sewing skills are no longer incredibly difficult for me to achieve, this situation has taught me a very important lesson: to take my time, because everything happens in good time.
Up until this week, I had been sewing practically every single day, eager to ensure that I rapidly improved upon my skills, pushing myself to learn a new skill with each new project. While this has been beneficial to my learning, in hindsight, there were a few key moments when I really should have taken at least a few days break from the sewing machine to give myself the time and space to fully take in what I had learned so far. Thankfully, this week I realised the need to take a break and ensured that I stayed away from the sewing machine. Instead, I read chapters in my sewing books that provided more in-depth knowledge of the basic sewing skills that I have been practising. I also rested.
Resting is equally as important as being busy and I never appreciated just how involved with sewing I have been, until I stepped away from it. The short break has done me the world of good and led to the creation of 7 items of a far superior quality than I have previously been able to achieve. I am absolutely elated and I cannot wait to see where my sewing will lead me. I now have the much needed confidence boost to continue with sewing and also to believe that I can become an excellent sewist.
I have also received sincere and genuine feedback from the gifts that I have recently made. The feedback has been very positive, particularly regarding the professional look of these items, despite me being at the start of my sewing journey. Today, I am very proud of what I have achieved so far with my sewing and I will continue to enjoy this moment while it lasts.
Sewing: I think I might just have cracked it. From now on it’s onwards and upwards!