Saturday, January 23, 2010

Sewing and Pattern Making

I learned sewing from my mom, who was always sewing something as I was growing up. I used to stand by her side watching everything she did, and probably began sewing for myself at age 7. Since I wasn't very good, and easily frustrated at that age, I began asking her to sew for me, and would go with her to the fabric store, choosing my patterns and fabrics. So, at a young age, I was introduced to the limitless possibilities
sewing offered. I remember being in about 4th grade, and living in Virginia Beach. I was all about a red reversible cape, which my mother dutifully made. It was beautiful, and I wore it all winter, even when it got so cold you could hardly bare it. The cape came down around my body, and had black toggles on the front to fasten it up like a coat. There were holes where you could stick your hands out, and a hood. I remember standing in line outside the school in the mornings and after recess, and it being so cold! But I pulled my cape around me with my hands inside, and I was as warm as a chicken in a bundle of feathers! All except for my scrawny legs! (Photo courtesy of Lovely Little Sweetpeas)

When I was in my early 20s, I bought a neighbor's old Singer sewing machine for $35.00. All I wanted was a machine to straight stitch, and zig zag, and allow me to sew in zippers and buttonholes. Nothing fancy, please!! I have used that Singer faithfully since then, it's all I've ever needed and it suites me just FINE!

At that point in my life, I worked full time in an art gallery, where it was accepted to be a bit avant garde. I had boyfriends off and on, and when I was off the boys, I spent my nights up late sewing and painting. I'd find irresistible couture from the pages of Vogue, and do my best to copy them. After years of sewing traditional patterns, I pretty much knew how to construct any sort of garment. I learned the best way to fit myself was to try it on as I went, and to look at the construction of my favorite clothes. I also scoured my mom's closet for her favorite clothes she'd saved from the 50's, and allowed these classics to formulate my style palette.

One funny story is from when I started dating my husband, Greg. I was thick into Vogue fashions, and there was a particular bubble shaped fur skirt I was over the moon about. Of course it was made from real fur. Off I trotted to the fabric store, looking for the best imitation my cheap wallet could buy. As it was right around the holidays, the best I could do was a sort of Santa Clause beard fur... well, it would have to do! I sewed up the panels, took it in tight around my waist, and put in pockets so I could look just like that Vogue model! Well, the people at Greg's work party didn't quite know what to make of me and my fur skirt, and I'm just glad I didn't scare Greg away with my flamboyant fashion sense. He did marry me, after all! (Trying to locate a picture of this get-up, and will add it if I can find it!) Okay, (later), found it!

So, after all that sewing background, it only takes an idea and a sketch to get my wheels turning, and sewing something up. If I get stuck, I resort to, ... who else? My mom! She can always get me out of a jam. Heck, why not? I learned from a pro! Yep, that's Lizzy-Lou, that's who!


Lisa at Lil Fish Studios said...

I have never been adventurous with my clothes and always strayed more towards the tomboy end of fashion. (is tomboy fashion? I'm not sure) I wish I had dressed myself in fur skirts when I was younger and could have gotten away with it!

You MUST show the fur skirt photo if you find it, I'm dying to see. :D

Valerie said...

Hi Lisa,
Yes, I do think there's a section of the fashion scale labeled "tomboy"! You'd be right in fahsion.
I keep looking for that dang photo, and I think I know where it could be. I promise to post it as soon as I find it! Years later, after Greg and I got married, and combined our households, we sold a bunch of stuff at the swapmeet. Someone actually bought that fur skirt, after puzzling over it for quite a while. What a hoot!

Sandy Michelle said...

It's amazing how our love for crafting/sewing starts at such a young age! I used to make collages and scrapbook layouts before they were even called that! Have a great week!

Sandy xox

debi beard said...

I can't wait to see the furry skirt! sounds like something I would wear :)

Cindy said...

Aw, what a story! It was fun learning more about you. Your interest and persistence has sure paid off. I bet your Mom is so proud of where you are now! :-)