Way back when, my daughter was not quite one and I was a SAHM. I had just one child, my house was almost always very clean and ready for company and I was looking for something to keep me busy. Don’t judge too harshly…I was pregnant with my son and started nesting WAY early…..I cleaned so hard, I broke my toaster that year. When my husband went outside in the snowy beyond sprinkled with salty ice melt, I would wipe up every last faint foot print IMMEDIATELY. It was ridiculous. I should have napped, but I digress.
Adorable 1-year old who now cleans constantly because of that:
I needed something to keep me busy. So a month after my daughter turned one, I decided I would buy a sewing machine, some fabric, a pattern, and make her a Christmas dress. So I did those first three things. I pinned the patterns to the washed fabric. And then all of that sat and sat and sat. I didn’t even take the machine out of the box until my son was a week old….It had been six months. I didn’t know where to start. i didn’t know what a basting stitch was. I didn’t know how to wind my bobbin, or how to get the three to catch. So I nestled all that junk in a corner for eight more months.
I do not have pictures of the nestled junk, but here is that sweet little boy:
I was finally getting out of the Marine Corps. It had been a long three year medical separation process and it was incredibly bittersweet, but it meant I was no longer in limbo and I could make plan, go places….and cloth diaper my kids. So while I was willing to pay for the diapers….I suddenly became stingy when I realized I didn’t want to pay for somebody to serge around a square piece of fabric, or turn and topstitch. I’m all for supporting WHAMs and WHAPs (and anything else the amazing people who work in their homes call themselves), which is who most of my diapers were purchased from. I just couldn’t do it for the wipes.
Cloth diapered cutie:
It was the push I needed and I FINALLY opened that wretched Singer I cursed at every time I sewed. It took me TWO HOURS to make 6 wipes that first night. No, that’s not a typo. It really took that long. It would have been longer, but I had to quit before I threw the machine out the window of the second floor so I could revel in it’s death. I would go on to fight with that machine for over a year an my husband always knew when I was sewing because of the flourish of harsh language being spewed at an inanimate object.
In that year, I did manage to accomplish a few other things outside of spewing hatred at my machine. I made crayon holders, cloth pads, pj pants, pillow cases, underwear for my daughter, and a few other things. The more I made, the more I realized there was so much i could make! So I saved and I bought a better machine. I read and scoured pdf pattern groups. I explored Pinterest and Facebook, lurked in sewing groups, soaking up all the knowledge I could and building up the guts to make a piece of clothing for myself. I made Scrundies…and they fit! It was thrilling. I needed more.
The summer after my son turned two, my husband and I decided it would be a great idea to road trip it from Ohio to Yellowstone and meet my parents for a week of camping. It was and interesting trip for sure. It was also the trip where my mom showed up with her vintage Babylock serger and multiple vacuum-sealed bags of fabric for me from her friend. I could hardly wait to get it all home and go to town!
There was no looking back at this point. I joined more groups for patterns and fabric. I only dove deeper. I had a thirst for knowledge of all things sewing. Then my health began declining. I had previously been able to regularly work out, run, do 5Ks with my husband while pushing two babies. Very suddenly, I wasn’t. I could sew, though. And so I dug deeper and kept learning and pushing myself. Around this time I applied to my first pattern test. I was thrilled to be chosen. I took my pictures with my camera strapped to my deck while I ran back and forth, hoping the timer wouldn’t run out before I made it to my mark. I didn’t have a tripod or remote yet.
A picture from said test:
I was hooked and I began testing for more groups and dove in to the world of strike-off sewing. It was wonderful to feel successful again, to feel I had value after losing so much of my physical ability, which I had held on a pedestal for most of my life. I finally felt relevant again.
One of my early strike-offs:
I tell you all that to tell you this: sometimes you have to just jump. It might be scary. There certainly will be unknown challenges and growing pains. You will never know how far you can go, how much you can learn and do, nor just how far you can push yourself until you try.
So jump. Take that first step.
This first week of January, a new year, and you. The same awesome you. Make a splash!
If you prefer a more guided tour from the edge of the cliff to the water, the 52 Week Sewing Challenge is a great place for you to learn and explore (with prizes!) in a more controlled environment. I will be there too, continuing my journey, meeting more awesome people, and continuing to push myself and try new things. I really hope you come join us!
The first week challenge is to make something comfy/cozy. I made an awesome sweater (gratuitous sneak peak) that will keep me warm in these cold Ohio winters from some gloriously thick, fluffy, fleecy sweater knit from Joann’s.
I can’t wait to see you all grow in your journeys!