Sewing projects

Teal faux suede pants, in process

I’ve started sewing again.  I used to make clothes for myself and the kids when they were little.  But when I realized that it was cheaper to buy things from garage sales and thrift shops, I stopped making their clothes.  I didn’t do much sewing for the last 20 years, except to teach the kids how to use the machine.  But I’ve picked the hobby back up, now that homeschooling is done and I have more time.

Teal pants, finished

Back when I was first a newlywed, a friend taught me how to use a sewing machine.  I was 19 at the time, had a brand new baby, and was a stay-at-home mom.  Allen was in the military, so I had a lot of time on my hands.  Sewing with Kathy helped fill my days in a fun and productive way.

She taught me how to read a pattern, and how to do some basic alterations.  I learned a lot, and by the following summer, I wanted a sewing machine of my own.  I still have that sewing machine;  It’s a portable 1985 Montgomery Wards table top model, with 8 basic stitches.  You can see it to my left.

The kids kindof took to sewing a little bit; I remember the Christmas stockings, and the boxer shorts.  A few projects here and there.  Our daughter, Margo, had taken more than just a casual interest, however.

Orange polar fleece vest, almost finished

She worked at a fabric store for quite a while, and that really spurred her on to trying things.  She bought her own sewing machine, and occasionally we would get together and sew, either at her apartment or my house.  Last June, I’d started making a pair of pants when I was at her apartment.  I didn’t finish them – they just needed the waistband, buttons, and hems.  But I didn’t have time to do it, so the project sat in storage for over a year.

When I was doing some cleaning, I found the pants again.  So I decided to just get them done;  I needed another pair of pants, anyway.  They aren’t the ones pictured here, but in the process of doing the final steps, it brought back to mind how much I’d enjoyed sewing.  I find it relaxing.

reversible fall vest (leaf side)

Little did I know that the “sewing bug” had also bit Margo again, and in turn, bit my daughter-in-law, Heather.  A month ago, they had decided to get together on Monday nights, and while their husbands had some “guy time” together, the girls would work on sewing clothes.

When Margo told me about it, Isaid I’d love to join them, and asked if they wanted to do it together at my house, since there is more room.  I also have an extra sewing machine that Heather could use, so they wouldn’t have to share one.  They agreed enthusiastically, and the last couple of weeks we’ve been sewing together.

Reversible fall vest (leopard side)

I’m working on doing some extreme alteration on clothing that has been in my closet for a long time, but never worn.  The reversible vest shown here was made from recycled items:

The leaf side of the vest is from a fall tablecloth that had gotten some holes in it, and I wasn’t going to put it on the table any longer.

The leopard side was from a dress I’d bought at a thrift store.  I love the leopard print with beige roses — the fabric itself was beautiful.  But… the overall pattern just seemed to overwhelm my body when I put on the dress.

So I cut the dress apart, and used the bodice for a vest. Pairing the fabric with a dark chocolate brown turtleneck breaks up the leopard print and gives some balance to the look.  I have some dark chocolate brown slacks that will match (also bought at a thrift store, and all they need is to be taken in at the thighs).  And all 3 pieces will have cost me a total of $10.00.  That’s pretty good, considering the prices of clothes these days.

My next post is going to be about clothing too, but from a little different perspective.  I’ve “had my colors done”.  Do you know what that means?  It has to do with how clothing colors affect your skin tone.  I’d bought a wonderful book, which was published back in the 1970’s, called “Color Me Beautiful” by Carole Jackson.  If you go to this link on, you can scroll through a good number of pages in this book.  And used copies are available for pennies!


5 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Donna Ingram
    Sep 16, 2010 @ 11:35:23

    OH Cat, I love to sew and that is what I am doing right now. I am going through everything and either donating or making us some new clothes. I have an older leather coat, long that I have a pattern for a purse I have been wanting. I am fixing to get it.


  2. Lisa Clarke
    Sep 30, 2010 @ 15:35:03

    Oh, fun! I know the lure of the sewing machine all to well! Although these days, it’s been just as hard to find the table space for sewing as it has for polymer clay. I *really* need to clean up my creative space so I can get back to making things 🙂

    Nice job with the recycled vest!


    • Cat
      Sep 30, 2010 @ 15:43:29

      Well you’ve indirectly inspired me to talk about my sewing projects, Lisa. Watching your skirts, and your apron phase… it’s encouraging! I’m glad to know there’s other clayers who developed a passion for remaking clothes and recycling items into other usable things (like Donna and her leather coat turned purse).

      Thanks on the vest! I have the skirt part left. and it will become a scarf and maybe a longer (hip length) vest.


  3. Trackback: Sewing Book Bo-nan-za! « Fimo Fanatic: Charlene's Blog

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