"Imagination is the beginning of creation. You imagine what you desire, you will what you imagine and at last you create what you will."
George Bernard Shaw

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

I'm Buying a Sewing Machine!

No, I do not sew....YET!!! :) This summer I was supposed to be only cooking, but was sneakily recruited by the sewing ladies to help while I was on tour. It was hilarious the way they did it--saying they had heard I wanted to know how to sew, and then teaching me a few basics so I'd feel more comfortable with the machine. Letting me help on a pair of pants or two. And then BAM!! Out of nowhere, telling me that there's nobody signed up to sew the entire time I'm on tour. How could I turn them down? They work so hard, and we can't have the kids in baggy, ill-fitting uniforms! This is what you're going for:

Hi Brian!

As I've mentioned before, I learned quickly that Mary, the physical therapist, was an excellent sew-er (when you put it as sewer it looks like you're meaning sewer system...) and I was able to bow out of any real sewing duties until finals week.

Vintage looking handmade Barbie clothes from here

But I've been interested in sewing for a long time. And I've grown up knowing that my Granny is an excellent seamstress. She would make my Barbies elaborate clothes with snaps and coats and matching skirts and tops out of little scraps of fabric. The dresses above are not from MY dolls, but I'll have to take some photos the next time I'm at Mom's! I have always heard stories of the clothes she made my mom. I know my mom has made herself some simple dresses and tube tops when she was younger. My cousin Carrie bought a sewing machine awhile back and we had joked about her making the chair covers for my wedding. I've mentioned before how we're a crafty, creative family, and I've felt for some time that I could be quite successful in the sewing world.

This past week, I had the opportunity to proofread my first quilting book for F+W and that's when the lightbulbs went off. I had previously wondered how successful I could or would be with making clothing. And if I would even keep up with making clothes. When I started reading about quilting I realized that that is the type of project I've been waiting for. Everything about quilting appeals to me. The different fabrics you choose (and the quite involved/complicated process for choosing them), the pattern you choose, piecing it all together over a period of time. It is all very precise and measured, but at the same time gives you infinite creative possibilities to experiment with color and pattern and size. When I make cards I've realized my most favorite part is choosing the papers I'm going to use. If I had a project I wanted to start and didn't know where to begin, I would sometimes just walk around a craft store until a piece of paper caught my eye. And when I found that right color or pattern or texture, suddenly I could see everything else I needed to find to make the vision a reality. I already have my eye on some fabrics that I think would make beautiful quilts. I keep gravitating towards these two! I'd probably want at least two more patterns/colors, but these are a good start. :)

From Jo-Ann's

Also from Jo-Ann's (brand is Legacy Studio)

Those would be pretty with some gold and coral patterned solids. Maybe a cream backing? SO MANY POSSIBILITIES.

The other aspect of quilting that appeals to me is that I think it would be a wonderfully heartfelt gift. It would take a little research to figure out what colors/sizes/etc. appealed to the recipient, but I think it would be a pretty awesome experience to spend so much time working on a project that you're going to give away to someone else. I know many people o
nly see quilts as "country," but if the book I've just read (and countless others I've now researched) is any indication, quilts can look more modern and fresh than ever. I really think the fabric is the most important part of getting the right feeling. 

Here's one that made me think of our friend Jenny from small group, and her new baby Liam. Their nursery has a woods/owl theme. This would be absolutely adorable in his room!!

So adorable. Baby quilts will be a good place for me to start! From Etsy here.

I haven't seen anything like this yet. Love how it's quilted. From Etsy here.

More modern in black and white. The pattern is so creative! From Etsy here.

So here's the sewing machine I'm thinking about, a Brother XL-3750. Sounds fancy but I don't know if those letters/numbers mean anything! 

I'll be getting it from Amazon thankyouverymuch Jo-Anns...

It's reasonably priced, it can do quilting stuff. There's a few different, more decorative stitches. It has, overall, really great reviews. Some people have had thread tension problems but others were able to fix that. I went to JoAnn's to get some expert advice on a first sewing machine and was incredibly disappointed that the women there are affiliated with Viking and really only wanted to recommend the $400 machine with the automatic up/down needle. They wouldn't even discuss the Brother machine I'd like to get. I asked how they could sell a sewing machine online and not have any information about it in the store, and that's how I found out they were associated with these particular brands only. Are you listening JoAnn?! VERY disappointed. So I'm going with this one, and we'll see what happens. I basically just need some straight stitches through 3 layers of fabric. Can't be that difficult right? And I'll take it somewhere to be professionally quilted, but one reviewer has even done that herself freehand on the machine. If anyone knows anything about this particular machine, or has any suggestions/opinions for a CHEAP comparable one let me know! I have relied soley on Amazon and other website reviews to make this decision!

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