Monday, June 27, 2011

On sewing and weekly inspiration

So, my current obsession with sewing and why it's so weird.

When I was in primary school (first 7 years of school here in SA), we had to do Needlework for three years - standards 3, 4 and 5. Age 10 - 12.

I liked some of the sewing but absolutely HATED knitting.

My mother knits and she knits beautifully - she made little jackets for my babies and used to make me beautiful jerseys that were the envy of the other kids.

I lack the knitting thing.

My hands would sweat, I'd get bored - it was just terrible and I remember many evenings CRYING (literally) over knitting that wasn't done, and then sitting up until all hours trying to finish it. I was just too slow.

I was a bit of a good girl so going to school with things undone was just never going to happen.

Sewing was a bit better. More instant gratification, I think.

I could sew buttons onto shirts then (and now) that will just NEVER in a million years come off.

The embroidery was also mildly satisfying but only because of the precision and the pretty colours, not actually the process of sewing.

Still I didn't do too badly but it was my worst subject ever.

We didn't have cute fabric and the styles of the things we made were just awful. Nothing like this cute dress.

So of course I vowed never to ever touch a knitting needle ever again. I'm proud to say that my resolve has not weakened in the 25 years since then.

As for sewing, I never willingly hand-stitch anything, except buttons, because I rock at those.

But while I was at high school, I did sew a bit on my granny's machine.

She sewed beautifully (my wedding dress, etc.) and I'd make easy but fun things - bags for the library, pencil cases, etc. You know, fun things.

These days if I need pants hemmed (actually I always need pants hemmed), I take them to a lady here at work who charges R35 ($5) per pair of pants.

I had two pairs of jeans done last week because they were falling off my soon-to-be skinny bum and dragging on the floor.

By the way, I said to this lady, "oh, I haven't seen you around much" and she said, "yes, I've been suffering from depression". Fabulous - not the depression bit but the fact that she is comfortable enough to admit it. The first person I've come across at work to say something like this. Because of that, I could encourage her and later pray for her and her family.
With all this blogging and online surfing and now Pinterest, it's been so easy to collect ideas of things to sew.

And the idea of sewing has not been a "no, I'll never" but more along a "maybe I should give it another bash".

My theory is that I have to break even on the money I spend for the machine for it to be deemed worthwhile.

So if I add up all the hemmed pants, cute bags, pillows, cute gifts, etc., once I reach break-even point, I can relax and take it easy.

I'm getting closer... yesterday there was one of R800 (on promotion), one of R1200 and then R5000 and upwards.

If I do it, I'll add some sewing things to my 37 things list. There are less than 6 weeks til my birthday!

Do you knit and/ or sew? What do you like/ not like about it? Did you have to take Needlework in school?

P.S. Go read this super fun 30 things list from Joy the Baker, just to inspire you


  1. I really did not enjoy knitting or sewing in school, at all. Actually the whole subject of home economics was a little bit stepford to me.

    To this day I don't see the point of messing 5 dishes to make one omelet, and no one can sell me on that unless they have fairies cleaning their kitchen.

    As soon as I was allowed to, I dropped the subject and took up metal work and technical drawings instead. Some of that's come in handy from time to time.

    I think I hated the girly stuff in part because my mom was just so good at it, and I needed my own thing. She could sew things, bake cakes and make flowers from icing...I could draw something in 3D, weld or wire a plug?

  2. I'm glad that you are enjoying sewing. I too have received a sewing machine from my Aunt but do not know how to use it.
    I can knit and have when I was a child. Not really something that interest me.

  3. I only took needlework when we had to, but I rocked at sewing and even designed my own clothes at varsity which I sewed too. I even sold original mens' shirts that I sew. Sadly, my then stunning Pfaff needs a service and has been standing in the cupboard for ages.

    I think I need to get it out soon.

    I want to make memory things of some sorts for the kids with their little receiving blankets as bits in.

    I also used to knit - it's ok. But embroidery is not my thing - and my mom is wonderful with that - arthritis hands and all.

  4. I have never sewed anything at all, really. My mom taught me to sew buttons on when I was younger, but I have to confess I never even do that...Jeremy does his own buttons if they have to be done!

    I do have a lot of interest in appliques right now, and have talked about how simple it would be to learn to stitch around the edges. Mom picked me up a good secondhand machine, but I haven't had the time to sit down and learn anything about it yet. I need to go on eBay and look for a users' manual.

  5. I loved home ec!

    No surprise but I do enjoy sewing and would love to learn to knit. I only crochet. My problems arise when I use patterns, I'm too much of a free form kinda girl!

    I love the uniqueness. It's always one of a kind when you make something. Anyone can pick up a shirt in a shop, they're all the same just pick your size. But having something custom fit or made just for you is fabulous!

    If I could justify the shipping costs I'd send you my spare, but something tells me it would just be cheaper to buy you one!

  6. I hated knitting AND sewing. I think that school just ruins these things for us - another reason why I hated school. I am LOVING my knitting now and I'm open to the possibility of exploring sewing sometime in the future. I think I would love to make my own clothing. Never say never I guess?

  7. We didn't have anything like a needlework curriculum in school. There was a Home Economics course for high school students, but it wasn't required (and I didn't take it).

    I learned to finger-sew (buttons, little repairs) from my mom, and - like her - I used to LOVE needlework (needlepoint and cross stitch) when I was in high school / college / early working years). Honestly I think the reason I dropped it was that we got our kitties. They used to go NUTS around any kind of yarn! :)

    There are times when I contemplate getting a baseline sewing machine for little simple projects, but I already have too many "projects" on my to-do list that are untouched...even ones I WANT to do. At least for now, it doesn't make sense to add another contraption to the house, one that will rarely be used and will cause me guilt! :)

  8. For me- I wish I could sew. I'm a disaster at anything crafty!

  9. My mom was a seamstress for awhile, so yes, I can sew ;)
    I have a machine somewhere... in one of these boxes.
    I'd love to have a place to keep it all set up all the time, because by the time I get it all out and ready to go I'm out of free time.

  10. I just got an introductory sewing lesson for my birthday! I'm really interested in learning mostly just so I can make cute little things for our guy and around the house.

    A few years ago I took up crocheting, which I really enjoy. Much easier than knitting IMO, although I wouldn't mind learning that either.

    Handmade items are so special. :)

  11. As I have already mentioned I have only recently caught the sewing bug - my mother was a great seamtress and tried to teach me. I think the dress we started when I was in year 8 is still lying half uncut in a box somewhere!
    My tip is to have the sewing machine in a place that it can stay out or can easily be pulled out. That way you can just work on projects with each wave of craftiness desire. If you have to spend too much time setting it up it will probably stay packed away I found!

  12. The hardest part can be working out how to thread the sewing machine but once you're there in can be fun., i enjoy sewing even tho i do pretty badly :-) i think its like with cooking, its a confidence thing and the only way to get better is just to do it.
    I like knitting these days but i tell you, i like crochet WAY more coz its a lot faster so u see results sooner! I only use natural yarn these days too- i recommnd u find some lovely soft organic bamboo/cotton and use Japanese wooden knitting needles (so much nicer on your hands)- and I too hated the way my hands would sweat with the yucky old synthetic fibres.
    I wash my hands alot too while knitting to avoid the sweat thing.
    I also keep the knitting /crochet project in a clear plastic case (one that some shampoo + cond came in, with a zip) as it keeps the dust off which makes for less dirty/sweaty knitting as well (we have a cat too so its good for keeping the cat hair off which sometimes rolls around the flat like tumble weed in cowboy movies)
    Keep up the craft i look forward to seeing the pics :-)

  13. Looks like it may be a long and happy obsession! :)
    My Mom always had a sewing machine and, being farm kids, a lot of our little dresses, shorts, tops were courtesy of her old Singer.
    Knitting.... hmmm, not so much. If I ever get roped into doing "squares" for a blanket charity run then I get my hubby to cast on for me... and my squares are never actual squares. Crocheting - I love, but I only ever taught myself 'granny squares' and didn't go further or frillier.
    We also had sewing as a school subject -- high school though. (For me, it was one of those non-academic subjects to replace some other un-doable subject... or so I've always believed). Exams were hectic but 50% of our marks were from dresses that we had to make - one for a child/baby and one for ourselves. I think I only wore the one I made for myself once. The baby one, I'm happy to say, got worn almost to threads - first by one niece and then another :)

  14. 1. I can't believe that girl made that dress...impressive.
    2. We had to take one home ec class in high school and I loathed the sewing.
    3. My mother has a wonderful sewing machine, bought by her children, that she barely uses.
    4. I can just see you sitting there with your knitting being sad :(
    5. Did the males in SA take those classes too? Just wondering.

  15. Nope I dont currently sew or knit but am keen to start sewing.

    We had to do home ec at high school which did include some needlework - cant say it was my favourite subject.


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