Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Teaching other people to sew

My mother is routinely annoyed with me, dear Readers, for my general all-purpose refusal to sew for her. (I make exceptions, but rarely.) And my cousin keeps stealing my clothes. (And on this trip - this bag.) To all of them, I've said one thing - I'm happy to teach you to sew, but I'm not going to sew for you.

So, when in New York, I had an hour (and 7 people trailing after me) to buy some fabric. I bought 5-6 pieces. ~$30. I was dwarfed by the spending of the people trailing after me, who were there only because they were humouring me - my dad bought a couple of pieces of wool for pants (he has them tailored in India) - including one DKNY wool (at Chic Fabrics), my cousin bought two knits if I promised to show her how to make a t-shirt, and my mom bought one woven, if I promised to show her how to make this shirt. (Ridiculously easy, with minimal fitting, this will make a perfect beginner project.)

Damn, they took me up on the offer to teach them to sew.

Back at my cousin's house, post fabric buying, we got going. I deconstructed a favorite but now torn t-shirt of mine from Banana Republic. I bought it years ago, so it's unlikely to be on the web site, but it's relatively shapeless, made cute with little gathers round the neckline, and the neck, sleeve and hem edges are finished with bands, therefore avoiding the dreaded rippling and stretching that can happen when hemming knits. It's a pretty perfect little pattern.

I used one of my newly purchased fabrics to make a trial version (entirely my own fault, but I loved it on the bolt and told him to cut it without touching it. It was kind of poly when touched, bleah.). I intended to make this trial muslin for my mother, but that didn't work out so well - the hem band was too small, and in the end, the only person it fit was me. (Oops. Really. I really tried.)

Then, my cousin got to work, rather nervously. (I don't understand the nervousness. It's just fabric, buy some more if it doesn't work out. How else will you learn?) She knew how to do all the simple bits - she's a pretty detail-oriented quilter - so stitching straight seams is easy for her. She just needed help with the hem band, the neck band and the sleeve band. I showed her what to do, from a comfortable arm-chair, and voila!

She looks rather pleased with herself, no? And she should be pleased with herself - she just made a t-shirt. And since I left the pattern with her, she can make many more!


SEWN said...

That's amazing that your sister has t shirt that she loves now. Cool! Good for you!

SewOm said...

I think she deserves to look pleased. The first garment is a huge accomplishment! And good for you - teaching others to sew instead of sewing for them. I hope you were very comfortable in your armchair.

Anonymous said...

Hey Reethi, so I am convinced now to go on that diet :) I made one more by myself so you are a good teacher - though scary! ;) Also to my defense I returned the dress (not returning the bag)....