And then they…

the things we do to live a better life.

Sewing – How I Got Started, Part 1

If you are thinking about starting a project, perhaps your first one, here’s a piece of advice.  You won’t be able to screw it up as much as you think you will.  Before my first project, I was terrified that if I mess it up, it would be utterly ruined and a waste of money and time.  I quickly learned that, yes, I would screw up.  Again and again, but it is actually very easy to fix mistakes when sewing.  Just tear about the seams, and start again.

Before I was pregnant with Alma, I had never really sewn anything.  As a child, I played around and made a few little thingies, then in home-ec in middle school I made and awesome lip shaped pillow.  Other than that, I had never used a sewing machine.

The summer before I had Alma, the nesting kicked in and I wanted to make her a quilt.  I didn’t really know how to start, but I wanted to do something easy.  I came up with the idea of doing a gradient rainbow quilt, so I went to the fabric store and bought 16 pieces of fabric in a rainbow of colors.

Then I did some math and figured out how big I wanted the quilt to be.  I wanted the sizes of each strip to vary, so I just cut out 1, 2, and 3 inch pieces of each color.  Once I had all the pieces cut out, I lined them up on my floor and arranged it so the colors would overlap horizontally through the quilt.

I then sewed 12 vertical strips with one piece of each color in each strip. This seemed pretty easy, because the pieces were only 4 inches wide, leaving not a lot of room to mess up.

Then I got scared.  I had to attach each strip to the next, which meant I would be sewing two long strips together using a continuous stitch.  This felt like a lot of ways I could mess up.  As a beginning sew-er I felt like something would go wrong for sure and everything would be ruined.  I didn’t think I’d be able to sew a straight line for such a long distance.  I probably left the strips sitting for a couple weeks before I built up the courage to attempt my long lines.

I finally got brave and sewed two strips together.  It was quick, and easy!  I was amazed!  I kept going, and soon I had a complete quilt top, and I was really happy!

Then came the next scary part – the actual quilting.  I got my backing, my batting and my quilt, sandwiched it all together and found some good tutorials online.  I thought I would do a straight line down the middle of each strip, but quickly found that a wavy line would be much easier, and actually kind of cute.  I did 12 wavy lines and all of a sudden, I had a quilt!

Then the scary task of adding a binding!  I found this wonderful tutorial and basically did what it said.  The only thing I did differently was machine sewing it on, instead of hand binding the front.  Since it was for a baby, I knew it would be washed a lot, so I wanted it to be really secure.

Holy cow, I had just made a quilt!  I was basically a super hero in my mind.  I had come up with an idea, done math, sewn a bunch (192!) of pieces of fabric together, and – poof! – heirloom!

And Then They - My first quilt - a great beginner pattern and tutorialI basically took it (and still take all my sewing projects) one step at a time.  I gave myself permission to make mistakes.  I took breaks, short and long, along the way.

What are some projects you’ve been wanting to try, but have been too scared to take the first step?

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One thought on “Sewing – How I Got Started, Part 1

  1. Pingback: Sewing – How I Got Started, Part 2 (or a love letter to Oliver + S) | And then they...

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