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Miss Dress-Up

Hey, Internet! Happy Valentine’s Day! Sorry, I’m not grinch enough to say I don’t like any and all excuses to be celebratory and I’ve been happy to find dog-featuring valentines hidden all over the house today – some attached to chocolate, some to flowers, some to magazines.

Moving on – during Friday’s Art Crawl, I picked up a Colette Pattern from Needlework.

It says BEGINNER on the front and the instructions look straightforward enough so today I cut a tissue-paper Peony dress.

Over the weekend, I snapped up a few meters of fabric from Value Village to practice on (tip: if you lack faith in your sewing abilities, I strongly recommend this. Value V has tonnes of fabric and you can get 2-3 M for $3. Much cheaper, and less heart-breaking, than making your mistakes on the good stuff). If I can get that out of the way this weekend, I’m going to pick up an Ikat-esque fabric Needlework carries and start the real deal next week.

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Sew She So’s

My first experience with a sewing machine was in grade nine home economics. I was supposed to make a pencil case. Instead, I made three broken sewing machines and was told to move on to my shop rotation early.

Suffice to say I’ve been wary of sewing machines ever since. However, since I’m also weary of paying someone else to sew up every hole and shorten every hem, I took an introductory sewing class at Mohawk College a while back.

It was and was not a success.

Was not, in that as soon as I set foot to pedal, the needle snapped in two and flew across the room. I then went on to break two more needles and dislodge the foot from the machine completely.

Was, in that my instructor said this had nothing to do with my technique/understanding and more to do with the too-heavy, rubber-backed fabric I’d chosen. And though the apron I was supposed to finish that day still only hangs around my neck (the waist ties remain unsewn), I feel like I came away with a basic knowledge of the machine – how to load the thread and perform simple tasks like hemming.

I’ve been lazily looking for a machine online ever since. Today, during a mid-afternoon run up to Value Village and Bibles for Missions, I found the exact same old-school Bernina I learned on (the second, semi-successful time).

If you’re on the hunt, BFM on Upper Wellington still has two Singers (one of which is a beautiful old metal one with a wooden base) and a Kenmore on the shelves, all for under $50 each.

So I now have around two weeks to get my simple sewing skills in shape in preparation for the grand opening of Needlework and its upcoming classes, which I’m pretty psyched about.

I’m also hoping all this fabric sewing limbers me up for the spring, when I might be buying (fiiiinaaalllyyyyyy!) a Juki to machine-stitch some of my lighter weight leather. Can I tell you how excited this prospect makes me? No more hand-measuring and marking and punching five stitches to an inch in suedes and skins that don’t hold measuring and marking impressions!


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