All of my school years were spent attending private schools. Not that we were wealthy... quite the opposite, actually. My Dad was a teacher in the elementary grades, and chose to work in private faith-based schools, so all 5 of us kids were able to attend the schools where he taught for greatly reduced or even free tuition.
Anyway, that's not the point of my story today. The part that I disliked the most about private school was the quite restrictive dress code. Specifically, we had to wear dresses or skirts every day, and the hem had to touch the floor when we were on our knees. My more petite friends were able to find fashionable clothes in the department stores that worked just fine, but my slightly taller than average frame (I'm 5'8") was just a *tad* too long for many of the styles of that time, and if I tried to get away with a store-bought skirt, I was often found out. The result was that I was either wearing my skirts "low-rise" (way ahead of the trend on that one!), or I was wearing some home-sewn frock which I really didn't like. Sewing my own clothing was one of my most hated tasks- deciphering the instructions, dealing with tissue-thin pattern paper and almost always ending up with a product that didn't fit quite right and looked hokey.
Needless to say, although I have sewn a few quilts and lots of curtains and pillows in the years since, I have not had even a *slight* urge to sew myself a piece of clothing.
Then a few years ago I started browsing etsy, with its shops full of amazing hand-crafted and unique clothing articles, and I began to view home-sewing with interest. But with two young rascals to care for, and a remaining dread of commercial patterns, I resisted quite easily.
Meanwhile, I was growing frustrated with the clothes available locally, finding current styles either too young or too matronly or too fitted or too low or too blah, blah, blah... And when I did find something that I really liked, it was almost always well out of my budget price range (can anyone say single-income-family-in-a-down-economy?), and besides, the kids continue to grow and need new clothes, so it was hard to justify a new wardrobe for me just for vanity's sake.
But finally, I am taking the plunge. And I plan to let you all in on the process, whether it be good, bad, ugly, or perhaps even fabulous.
I used some birthday money that I had been saving, along with some of my recent earnings from a wedding cake to buy a serger to be used in conjunction with my old hand-me-down sewing machine.
I also bought this book, because I would love to one day be confident enough to branch out beyond patterns to craft my own clothes:
and a few adorable patterns for little girls from ManiMina on etsy, which I chose because of their simplicity and potential for adaptation.
My plan? To practice on Katie, because even badly made clothes look cute on 2 year olds, right?
Now, after sticking with me for that long explanation, you deserve a small reward. Want to see my first attempt?
Not wanting to mess up brand new fabric, I first made a "muslin" out of a thin cotton fabric that a friend's parents brought back from a trip to Africa.
Super easy to make, with clear instructions, and way cuter than I expected.
Little Missy's favorite part was the re-purposed tie from an old t-shirt of mine. She kept stroking it saying, "Dess, Mama make pretty dess".
Stay tuned for more adventures in sewing.