Up until now, I have held the belief that I can’t sew. It turns out I was somewhat misinformed. I have been planning to try to learn for quite a while. I visited the local fabric shop, asked for help picking out an easy pattern, and ended up with New Look 6013, even though it doesn’t say ‘Easy’ on the packet. I also bought the fabric, interfacing, thread and zip, total, just over £14.
I set off, blithely cutting out. That went fine, up until the part when my daughter said she wanted me to make one for her too. That meant I had to preserve a different size. Fine mostly, as it is a smaller size, but there’s a bit on the sleeves I had to be careful not to cut off, and remember to fold back when pinning it onto my fabric.
Then, the actual sewing. Note to self: Remember to switch stitches on the sewing machine after doing the basting. Oops.
Other than that, it all went fine for a while. I sewed the vent at the bottom of the skirt the wrong way, though. Left and right is not my strong point, particularly when the bit I’m supposed to be pressing towards the left is inside out and back to front!
I also managed to attach the back of the dress to the front, getting up to speeds my sewing machine had never seen before. Then disaster stuck. I had stitched one sleeve, then when I started on the second one, the machine clunked to a halt. I had been getting on so cheerfully, feeling how amazing it was that it was all coming together so well, then suddenly my illusion of competence collapsed. I took the machine as apart as I dared, then put it all back together. It made no difference. By this time I was so frustrated. A sewing machine is basically very simple. There isn’t a lot to go wrong if you know it isn’t the motor that’s the problem.
I packed up, and went back to the living room, muttering about the unfairness of all things, just when it was going so well… My husband asked when I’d last oiled the machine. I looked at him blankly. Then I went and found the little bottle of oil (unused) which had come with the machine when I bought it. Thirteen years ago. Ahem. Enough said.
After that point, I got on well. I only sewed one bit wrong – one bit of unpicking isn’t too bad. And I had a couple of little bits that were not completely flat once the interfacing round the neck had been turned round the right way. But I put in a zip! This was the bit that really scared me, but I managed it.
The biggest surprise was that when I tried it on, it fitted! This is the bit that truly amazes me. The fact you can take a piece of flat fabric, and after a bit of cutting and sewing, it fits round a person. I think that’s a kind of magic!