One stitch at a time

It’s been a while since I last posted.  I decided to focus on a few things even though I still need to work on the other non-blog sections of my website.  I actually have a sewing update, so I thought I’d post!

As I mentioned, I was having a lot of issues getting started with my sewing.  For starters, it’s been a long time since I last sewed, and I always had a bit of nervousness even when I regularly worked on projects.  I started moving some things around to let me have access to my sewing machine, but allow my husband, Christopher, the use of the way-too-small study for his writing and job hunting.  Just when I’d figured out a decent place to work (sewing and cutting/pinning), I ended up taking a quick trip to visit some sick relatives out of state.  I came back home determined to get started, even if it meant majorly messing up and needing to start over again.

I started with an 18th century shirt for Christopher.  I didn’t use a pattern, but decided to try some instructions I found online.  I liked the looks of the shirt, and it seemed like there would be enough information for me to give it a try.  I have some basic understanding about putting together garments from webpages like this, but I guess I felt the need to push myself, hold myself to higher standards than I used to, and prove something to myself with this “welcome back” project.  There were a few sections I wasn’t completely sure about, and I would sometimes take longer than I should have to figure out all the possible ways to proceed with some of the steps.  Where I wasn’t completely sure about how to do something, I picked the best choice I felt would work for me.  I also decided to give something a try once I started working on this project:  hand sewing.

I’d mentioned I was on a time limit and needing to move forward with everything I have to sew for a get-together.  I also am still new to sewing, even though I have faked my way through some pretty big (for me, at least) projects.  Even though I have some time before the event, there are a lot of things I need to make and purchase for our outfits (both mine and my husband’s).  I do believe — and have tried where I could — that where I feel comfortable or confident, I should push myself to attempt things like hand sewing or trying something new to learn for the next time.  Or at least give it a try.  I figured using some hand sewn stitches on a shirt would be good practice, and if it didn’t work out, it would be mostly hidden under other garments.  Besides, for some reason I hate sewing gussets on a machine.  I didn’t realize how nice hand sewing would actually be, though.  Except that it is a little slower than a machine (at times, it feels like I’m doing well — other times, I definitely slow down), I have enjoyed sitting on the couch with just a needle and thread and not having to rearrange a few pieces of furniture to get to my sewing machine.  It’s just a little more convenient, and a bit soothing to me.  I have used the machine on a few things that are hidden, or to sew some stitches for me to gather into a collar or a sleeve.  For the most part, I have ignored my machine, and I would love to learn a little more for the next time.

I’m almost finished with the shirt, and for a little while I actually thought I would be disappointed with  my work on it.  I just felt like I might have made a few too many mistakes.  As I started progressing, sewing the sides up and adding the sleeves, the shirt started hanging right and it seemed to be working out after all.  My enthusiasm picked back up, and I’m happy again with my first project in a long time.  The thing that has meant the most to me has been my husband’s reaction.  He’s been so happy watching me work on a project again and has asked here and there if he could see one of the seams I just finished, or try on a sleeve after I attached a cuff.  The smile that lit up his face when he tried that sleeve on said it all for me, and his joy at trying on something I’m making for him has just made all the work and frustrating moments worthwhile.  I’m so happy he’s enjoying it as much as I am.

I still have a few finishing touches to do with the shirt before it’s finished, and that’s only one project down from the many I have left to go.  It won’t be totally accurate, but I’m having fun making an attempt for the event and I look forward to trying another shirt down the line, possibly.  I’m also very fortunate to have a husband who loves the thought of fun costumes like this and gets into it, checking out accessories to buy or try to find.  I’m so glad I finally decided to jump in and get back to a hobby I enjoy so much!

About Cynthia Griffith

I have way too many interests and hobbies, and continually cycle through them -- paying attention to some, while others wait for when I can get around to them again. My main interests are sewing and costuming (I enjoy historical clothing, such as 18th and 19th century, as well as fantasy costumes like elves and hopefully someday even dwarves), as well as getting back to art by drawing fan art of Thorin Oakenshield and Company. My husband Christopher and I spend a lot of time together, enjoying the outdoors and shared hobbies such as juggling. This blog and website is my way to share what I'm up to with friends and family.
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9 Responses to One stitch at a time

  1. Each time you prick your finger and I hear you say, “OWW!!!” I know you’re making progress 😉

    It’s been sooooooooo cool seeing you do so much hand stitching.

    I really appreciate what you’ve been making. It’s cool that the first shirt with French cuffs that I’ve ever had is a shirt made by you! 🙂

  2. More like stabbed a few times! 😉

    Awww, I’m glad you’re enjoying me sewing some stuff for you! Can’t wait until it’s all done so you can try it all on! 😀

  3. Kaycee says:

    Can’t wait to see! Glad you are enjoying the hand sewing. I have been doing more of that lately…It is nice to sit in bed and sew with a movie on 🙂

  4. Hi Kaycee! Thanks so much for the reply!

    Yes, it’s amazingly cozy and soothing for me. I sit on the couch and have the TV on History or Discovery channel or something like that. I don’t necessarily watch it, but I catch things here and there and listen in — I usually have it on for background noise when I’m working on something.

    Christopher will either be writing in the study, or he’ll join me later on the couch for a little TV-together-time so it’s nice for me either way (a little “me” time or a little “together” time, and getting some work done). I also thought about sewing get-togethers. I don’t have a case or anything to help carry sewing machines and gear, so it would actually be nice to be able to hand sew and make gathering up a few things to take to someone’s house and sit and chat with others a LOT easier 😀

    I really didn’t expect to do this much, but one thing led to another and I would have done more if I’d been a little more prepared!

  5. Mary says:

    I’m glad you’re sewing, too. It looks great in the picture and I’m sure it looks even better in person. It’s a very meditative thing, isn’t it? Nice work, kiddo.

  6. Thanks, Mary! It does look pretty good so far — of course, I think it would look even better with the whole outfit together, but then I just can’t wait 😉 haha! There are a few things I would do differently next time, but that’s part of the reason I went with more affordable fabric on this one so I could test this out.

    Thanks for the replies, everyone! 🙂

  7. Arlen says:

    It’s so amazing to see your progress psychologically speaking. Even with all your current stressors just having a focus and a project and stuff has really calmed down your life in so many ways.

    That is going to be one damn special shirt!

  8. Arlen: Thanks so much for the reply! Yes, I’m so glad I finally got past my nerves and found a way to make some room for sewing. It makes the living room a bit of a mess, but hmm… maybe if I tried to do more hand sewing…? 😉 Haha! Seriously, though, even the little messes and eyesore of the machine in the living room will do for now. The joy of having projects to work on again makes it worth it, and it’s been fun to have little goals to shoot for 😀 I do need to hurry up and finish the shirt… had too many distractions the past few days, but at least we were able to pick up one accessory for Christopher (some small cufflinks that will work well enough for this).

    I just can’t wait to see it all together! I sure hope I can find all the fabrics I need 😀 Best wishes, and thanks again for replying!

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