Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Dumb on Dummies

Part of my Sew Dreamer vision has been the addition of a high quality dressmaker’s dummy. I’ve looked at a few at local stores, but never felt sure what questions I should be considering when deciding what makes a good one. I was discussing them once with someone regarding the covering on them. I believe it was the advantages or disadvantages on a felt cover. I guess you want the garment to stay on the structure, but if it is too “sticky” you may not get the draping you need.

Who’s an expert on dummies? Do they publish a Dummies for Dummies book? I want to get smart before I invest.

Touchy, Feely Challenge

One of my challenges with doing any creative endeavors is my need to see and touch for inspiration. Unfortunately, though, the art of garment sewing seems to be a dying skill-set. And with “fabric” stores having morphed into craft-centric, junky repositories for, well, junk, there is not as much excitement in getting an idea in my head of what I want to make, because I know my fabric choices when I reach the fabric store are so limited. No offense to those of you who love crafting, but you have whole stores devoted to your creative, crafty endeavors. Used to be I could go to a fabric store and talk to the folks working there about fabrics and sewing, and be inspired by them too.

I expect there are online places to get better fabric choices, and folks with many inspiring creative idea too, but I’ll kind of miss out on my need to see and touch to help my inspiration. I expect, too, I could to head to the garment district in LA, because what’s being offered in San Diego is not working for me. I guess I can eventually learn to try to get inspired by online resources, but I can’t imagine ever being able to have the electronic translation of the fabrics colors, patterns, and texture be the same level of inspiration.

Patterns of the Past

I think I must have first become interested in garment options as a young girl, changing paper outfits on my cutout dolls. Coming from a family with seven daughters all born within 8 years, the skill of sewing was a necessity for Mom trying to keep us girls in clothing without much of a clothing budget.

Mom didn’t teach me to sew, but being the youngest of the seven, I had a couple of sisters who picked up the interest, and one was kind enough to teach me.

One of my first few jobs as a youngster was working in the same sewing store as my older sister. I remember the excitement at being able to create anything I wanted from the stores selection of fabrics and patterns for FREE as long as I displayed it in the store for a short period of time.

My first project was a blue plaid flannel robe, and the second one was a short-length swing style jacket with a stand up collar, fully lined. I was so proud of that one. Couldn’t wait to be able to take if off display and wear it. I still have the pattern and have recently cut another garment from the pattern. It has yet to be sewed together.

In recent years I haven’t sewn that often, but dream of it often. I’ve lived in many a studio and one-bedroom apartments over the last 25 years, always wishing I had a sewing space. Not the kitchen table. Now I have purchased my first home, a “gigantic” two-bedroom, one-bath. I can now actually set up a sewing project in the second bedroom and not worry about clearing off the kitchen table each time I want to work on my project. Maybe I’ll get that cut out jacket put together for the fall season.

Meanwhile, my newest sewing dream is to be able to design and have built a custom sewing station to accommodate my standard sewing and serger machines that would also look like a nice piece of furniture. Would love to hear, and see, some great examples of a custom sewing station set up.