Crafty Creations 1: My first shirt


I learned how to sew as a child, because my mother used to sew, and I asked her to teach me. I sewed myself a skating costume around the age of 10 or 11, but I must admit it…it had no taste at all. After that, I pretty much didn’t bother doing the sewing myself, but I mostly helped my mom to design the dresses she made for me to practice in. Sometimes she made my competition dresses, too, and then I’d also help to design the beading patterns.

I loved to design the styles to go with my music, and then I would figure out how to alter the pattern so that we’d make what I had dreamed up. My mother always said she didn’t know how I could do that; she didn’t feel comfortable designing her own patterns herself. I actually think this was one of my earlier experiences with thinking like an engineer – I loved to think of how the pieces would go together, unfolding the fabric in my mind to see the overall patterns. Then I would tell my mom how to alter the pattern and how to put the pieces together after she cut them out.

I hadn’t had any experience with sewing since I quit skating (7 years ago – wow such a long time and yet sometimes it still hurts to think of it), but last summer I decided to sew myself a shirt, mostly out of a desire for thriftiness. I went to Target and bought a string tie-dying kit from the craft/kid’s aisle, and then I went home and opened a pack of sheets that I had gotten from my mother-in-law for Christmas a year ago. I had never used them because they have lace on them and I don’t care for lacy bedsheets (I don’t think I should subject my husband to that). I got out a shirt with a similar design to the one I imagined I could make with the bedsheets. Then I measured myself and the dimensions of the shirt, and I crafted a pattern to make the shirt from scratch.

Then I cut out and tie-dyed the pieces using the string tie-dye kit (this involved wrapping the string around the twisted fabric and letting it soak in hot water), and I let them dry. Next, I stitched the pieces together – by hand, because I didn’t have a sewing machine at the time. But I found it to be rather relaxing, as repetitive as it was. As I was stitching it together, I tried it on and pinned any adjustments that I needed to make. At the end, I had this shirt, which I like very much:

I actually didn’t complete the shirt until a few months later, having left it undone with only one unsewn seam for that long. So for the holidays (Christmas to my parents and family anyhow, winter solstice/Human Light/general time of joy and family to me), I asked my mother for a sewing machine, and she got me one, which I love! A later Craft Creations post will be about my first sewing project with the machine – a bohemian skirt.

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