When I say I had no clue where to start, I am being completely serious. I had never used a sewing machine in my life! I didn't know what a straight stitch was, let alone what a basting stitch was. What is selvage? And, what in the world is biase tape, and why does it matter if it is single-fold or double-fold??? All of these questions swirled through my mind as I was beginning the quest to learn the wonderful art of sewing.
My mom was surprisingly understanding of my plight, noting that she had felt the same way at my age, and had begged her aunt to help her learn. She took me to a fabric store, and we searched for a pattern that she thought would be a good starting point. I wanted something very simple. Nothing fancy. No fringe, no ruffles, no sleeves, no zippers, etc. Just a plain and simple dress so I could learn the basic skills needed to sew. I thought a little dress for Hannah would be perfect for my initial voyage into sewing.
Once we found a suitable pattern, we began the search for a good fabric. I had no idea that there was different fabric that was used for different things! For example, I found a lot of really cute fabric designs that I thought would make a nice little dress. But, I learned that those were used with quilting, etc., and were not really intended for use in clothing. Wow. I had a LOT to learn!
We finally settled on a design on the correct type of fabric. Then came the time to read the pattern package to find out what notions would be needed. WHAT?! What were notions??? I was beginning to get overwhelmed, but my mom stayed pretty calm and patiently explained each item that was going to be needed to put the dress together. We picked out the different types of thread (which is another thing I didn't know... that there are different types of thread), we found the biase tape and the buttons, etc. And when everything was purchased, I went home to venture into the world of sewing!
I will admit that there were several times I wanted to give up. The directions on the pattern were so confusing, they may as well have been written in Chinese! Sewing has its own little language, and I was not fluent in it! But, my mom did her best to explain what everything meant, and ever-so-slowly I began making progress. The pattern pieces were all cut out finally, and then it was time to put them all together.
But, that was the point when I was going to have to use the sewing maching for the first time. I had no clue what to do with it. But, I learned what the bobbin was and how to thread the machine properly (after several failed attempts). I learned how to lock the stitch in by going backwards. And I even learned how to clean the machine out if there is a jam (which was a learn-by-doing process because I jammed it up several times).
There were a LOT of mistakes that led to me being forced to take a seam ripper to the stitch I had just finished and undo the entire lenth of the stitch because I did not have it lined up properly and, therefore, did not sew the two pieces together at all. That was a long, tiresome lesson to learn. And I made several of those. :o)
BUT... after what seemed like an eternity, I put the finishing touches on the pattern, sewed the button onto the back, and stared at my newly completed masterpiece! I was actually surprised when I looked at it. I kept saying over and over, "Wow. I can't believe it! I actually looks like a dress! A REAL dress!" Ha ha ha.
The ultimate test, though, was to try it on Hannah to see if it would fit her properly. It actually fit her great! It was a little bit big on her, but I had purposely made the dress a size 4, instead of the 3 she is in now, so that she could wear it longer. But, the bodice was in the right place, the skirt was gathered in all the right places, the sleeve holes were even, the skirt length was appropriate, etc. Everything looked great!
I am sooooo proud of myself! I keep staring at Hannah with the dress on in amazement that I actually made something that she could wear in public! Ha ha ha.
Now I just need to think of what my next sewing project will be... :o)