Sewing–A New Adventure

All my life I have known that sewing can save you a lot of money. Raw materials are cheaper than the ready made items about 97% of the time. If you can learn how to shop the fabric sales, thrift stores, and craft stores, you can really save a bundle. I grew up in a family that was really big into sewing. My mom was happy when she could finally move her sewing machine out of the cold corner of the basement and into the room that was leftover when my sister went off to college. Apparently, she was sick of freezing.

A lot of my clothes when I was little were made by my mom. She made it look so easy to do. She would sit down at her sewing machine and in a half hour have something that actually looked like something. This woman even made my wedding dress!!! (and of course, all of the bridesmaid dresses)

Yes! This whole thing made by my mother!! Veil included!! And there is another skirt!
Picture courtesy of Brad Ryan Photography
Here’s another picture so you can see more of the detailed work that went in.
Picture courtesy of Brad Ryan Photography

My sister is also really big into sewing and just converted a walk-in closet into her sewing room. Talk about using your small spaces efficiently! She is awesome at making costumes. She made all of these a couple years ago (yes, including Roo’s booties!):

So I figured, sewing is in my blood, I should be able to do this, right? Well, kind of. I hoped that it would be something I would take to like a fish to water. I’ll be honest. I’m not that good. Yet. After about an hour, I am able to make a bobbin and thread the machine without the help of the manual, but I will admit, I still use the handy little guides on the machine. At the moment, I can’t make a stitch in a straight line to save my life, but I am now within a 1/4″ on either side of center. And, I wish upon anything and everything that I could remember to put the pressure foot down EVERY SINGLE TIME! But, I have learned a few things:

1. There are few mistakes in sewing that aren’t fixable. Cutting fabric is one, sadly. Leading me to number 2.

2. The seam ripper is your best friend! Seriously, I think I spend more time with that little blue doohicky than I do with my machine.

3. There is nothing better than that feeling of making it through a line of stitching and being able to pull the fabric out and use the cutter thingy on the machine instead of digging out scissors and cutting threads in a desperate attempt to free your project from the clutches of the tangled knot that has somehow wrapped around your bobbin and pieces of the machine you didn’t think possible.

4. Pins should be placed perpendicular to sewing line, otherwise, you break your needle.

5. Breaking your needle is the worst thing you can do for your sanity! First of all, it happens all of a sudden and then you have this little shard of sharp thing come flying directly at, usually, your face! So, after screaming out of fright and uncurling from your tight fetal position ball that you somehow tumbled into on the ground, you now have to dig out your manual for the machine and figure out how to put a new needle on. If you are anything like me, there are some words that are said that definitely shouldn’t be with children under the age of 15 present, but eventually you wrestle that little sucker into place and are beaming with accomplishment….until the needle falls out when you step back to admire your work, followed by more swearing, some tears, and, if your husband is kind and not afraid to step into the room at this point, cookie dough.

Clearly, I am not a sewing expert. But, the time I spend with my machine will hopefully pay for themselves with all of the money I will be able to save by making things instead of buying them. So far, I have been able to design and make dog jackets, which I will be putting up tutorials for as soon as I have the finishing touches done. I also have plans to make a dog bed for Tasha. Eventually, I might graduate to more detailed and skilled work, but, for today, I’m still learning the basics.


About Danielle Beranek

Life can get away from you when being young, married, and still fairly fresh out of college. Taking on a pet, student loans, going back to school, and soon a new house is enough to leave ones head spinning. For me, life is crazy, but only on the outside.
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3 Responses to Sewing–A New Adventure

  1. Mom says:

    Been there, done that, with the needle even now. Shove the stupid thing up in as far as it will possibly go. Tighten the heck out of that screw after you put a new one in and then twist one more time for good luck.

    As for straight sewing, one way to practice is to take a lined piece of paper, use an OLD needle (and no thread at all) and just go down the lines until you are comfortable and trust the machine to do a little more of the work (which is part of the trick). Remember that fleece is harder for your machine to feed and will make for more lines that swerve a bit. Cotton is easier (and chiffon is @##$$%! I hate chiffon!)


  2. Robert Henak says:

    I obviously did not have the sewing gene, and hopefully yours wasn’t tainted by my incompetent carpentry gene. The one thing I have learned (from experiences) is measure twice, cut once. Or is is measure once, cut twice? 😉


  3. Pingback: Getting Better at Sewing | Crazy on the Outside

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