I finally got it together and consummated my relationship with my new sewing machine. I decided I would try and sew something “for real” this time. In the past I’ve always kind of winged it…sometimes with relative success, but usually…not so much. I never really knew the right way to make a piece of clothing (like what’s this thing called interfacing??), so I would just kind of cut according to a piece of ready-made clothing I had on hand with some non-fabric, blunt-ish scissors, and then just kind of put it all together with whatever stitch seemed to look nice. Needless to say, the outcome would look quite home-sewn, which I don’t think anyone ever strives to accomplish.
So I used my first pattern! I have to say I was kind of nervous, since I had seen some before and the dozens of different lines made me think it was way more complicated than it actually is. But — it was totally easy and worked so well!! I printed this skirt pattern out (for free!) from Burdastyle, which is an open source sewing site, sort of like Ravelry for knitters, taped it together, cut out the pieces and a couple of hours later had this lovely skirt made of a gorgeous navy cotton lawn (not organic, sadly).
I even used interfacing for the first time to make a real waistband. Burdastyle is a great resource for sewers, with tutorials on various projects and general techniques, and a decent library of free (or at least cheap) great patterns. I’ve already bookmarked quite a few that are definitely worth attempting.
I’ve also come across some other great resources for sewing techniques, since I know practically nothing except what I’ve invented (the art brut approach, if you will, until now). You may be able to notice the currently screwy hem on the skirt. Since the skirt tapers at the end, the hem was pretty much a nightmare. I redid it several times, until I came to an intermediate solution of just sewing down a few points of the hem — I sewed a couple of inches, left a couple of inches unsewn, and continued as such to leave space for where the fabric has to bunch. But now I’ve found this: the faced hem. When I have the patience, I plan on doing this with some leftover scraps of some printed cotton lawn. I’m still discovering all the resources that are out there. It’s amazing how much easier sewing can be when you learn techniques that people have already figured out for you. I guess that’s not amazing at all really…but what is actually kind of amazing is that seemingly complicated garments are actually far more doable than I had thought before.
So, like I said, the fabric I used was not “green” in any way. I haven’t found too many resources for green sewers yet, but Amy Karol at Angry Chicken (a blog I have been really loving lately for amazing things like homemade deodorant — that I have made and can attest to its wondrous efficacy) has mentioned an online resource for eco-friendly fabrics, yarns and sewing supplies: NearSea Naturals. They have organic cotton thread, natural elastic and the like, and also fabrics like hemp silk charmeuse. I will be partaking soon. When I have convinced myself that I am indeed in control of my spending habits and therefore do not need therapy to uncondition myself from the feeling that spending money does in fact make me feel better…sigh.