Sewing is SEW Fun!

7 Jun

Post 1 of 4


For several months now, I’ve had the itch to learn how to sew. I researched local sewing lessons, contemplated my options, and took my inquiries to my grandmother, as food for thought (yes, my Gram emails. She also knows how to follow and comment on my blog – hi Gram! She’s amazing! And henceforth on this blog she will be known as the proper noun of ‘Gram.’). Anyway, Gram said it’s too bad we don’t live near each other (we are about 4.5 hours away – in good traffic conditions), or else she would teach me herself. So, an idea dawned upon me – why NOT go to Gram’s for a sewing lesson? I could make a long weekend out of it, learn from the best, and have some really good life-time memories. Gram eagerly agreed and we set the date.

I will break the posts into 4 parts:

1. Learning the machine, finding supplies, getting started

2. Stitching the braid on the front of the pillow, creating own cording

3. Assembling cording and backside of pillow to the front

4. Summary of steps 1-3 for second pillow

Let’s get started!

Sewing is SEW Fun! Post 1:

Arriving at Gram’s, she had the office completely organized as a sweat shop, I mean, sewing room. Her machine was set up, iron roaring to go, all her tools and instructions nicely organized and in easy reach. Without a moment’s hesitation, coupons in hand, we were on our way to JoAnn Fabrics on the other side of town.

At JoAnn’s, I bought:

2 16×16 pillows

3 yards of black velvety fabric

3 yards of black and white patterned fabric

3 yards of braid

1 package of cording base (yes – I MADE my own cording – that will be in post #2)

The next morning, we got started on my first pillow.

Patient and full of hope. Ah, me in my more innocent days.

Of course, this required some instruction on how to use the machine. I have never touched a sewing machine, threaded a sewing machine needle or spun thread onto a bobbin. I was a complete sewing dunce. So I started by stitching this lovely piece that I call, “rag.”

It's perfect to mop up diet coke spills and wipe away brownie crumbs.

Gram said I was a natural and it was time to get started. Yes – A NATURAL. She said that because it is true, and has nothing to do with being directly related to her.

We measured our fabric and did some fancy math in our head.

The measuring stick was to whack me when I did something wrong.

Giving an inch around the fabric for stitching, we cut our pieces and pinned to sew together.This part was fairly easy, just moving along the edge of the patterned fabric stitching it with the black fabric.

Gram gets me started.

Sewing is like driving a car. You guide the fabric with your hands, no need to pull or push it, and you use the pedal below to run the motor which actually does the stitching for you. The harder you press down on the pedal, the faster the machine moves. It takes a little bit to find the appropriate speed that you are comfortable with, but once that happens you are able to maintain smooth and even stitches.

I'm taking the reigns!

When you reach a corner, you make sure your needle is down (inserted in the fabric you are stitching) then you lift what is called the ‘foot’ (which holds your fabric down while you stitch, and prevents you from breaking your needle, which I might have done at least once), turn your fabric 90 degrees, put the foot down and keep stitching.

First items stitched together.

Well, that’s it for Post 1. I’ll post what happens next this Friday. Stay tuned!

9 Responses to “Sewing is SEW Fun!”

  1. Jess June 8, 2011 at 9:57 am #

    Erin, you rock!! And actually, you inspire me to learn how to sew more than buttons 🙂

    • tealandtulle June 10, 2011 at 7:48 am #

      Thanks Jess! I had a great time learning… I might bring my pillows to the next social to show them off. Thoughts?

      • Jess June 13, 2011 at 4:06 pm #

        Doooo it! 🙂

  2. Gram June 7, 2011 at 6:39 pm #

    Erin – our week-end sewing session was the most fun I’ve had in ages. You certainly have the knack for sewing – you “got it” right off!. Not only your Gram, but your great grandmother and great great grandmother are “busting their buttons”over your skill – SO FAST!!

    • tealandtulle June 10, 2011 at 7:48 am #

      Hi Gram! Thanks again for all the great instruction – you made learning fun and easy. It’s fun to be sharing in the same interest that abilities that have been in our family for generations. Hopefully I can keep practicing and really make some fun, stellar items! We’ll have to plan my next trip down and what project I’ll tackle next. 🙂

  3. Sheila June 7, 2011 at 12:58 pm #

    I love the fabric you picked for your pillows! I really love the space you have to sew too… bright sunny windows, a wide table with space to move, and look at that wonderful thread rack… How inspiring it is to work in an area that is set up to do exactly what you want, and even better that you get to do it with someone you love!
    have fun!
    can’t wait to see the finished product!

    • tealandtulle June 10, 2011 at 7:46 am #

      Hi Sheila! My Gram has a work room that she’s able to dedicate to her sewing and other craft projects – I agree though – what a luxury that would be to have an entire room do have at your disposal! That way, you could close the door mid-project and take a little break. 🙂 Thanks for reading and posting – I’ll be sure to keep up on the next few posts so everyone can see the final results.

  4. Jackie June 7, 2011 at 11:05 am #

    Your Gram is as cute as a sewed on button! I can’t work a sewing machine to save my life. Neither can my mother. Once, she made me a shirt but put the arm hole where the neck hole should be. I inherited her genius with crafts.

    I love your step by step guide. I look forward to more projects!! 🙂

    • tealandtulle June 10, 2011 at 7:44 am #

      I’m not going to lie – I think I had beginner’s luck. The first pillow went really easy, but the second I seemed to struggle with. I had to handstitch the last part of the pillow to close it up, and you can definitely TELL as my stitching is just horrible. That part of my pillow looks like Frankenstein’s monster’s pillow. 😉

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