Learning to Sew: The Adventure Begins


I’ve always loved fashion. I remember the clothes I wore as a girl like they were dear friends. The pink blouse with the pleated sleeves that ballooned dramatically. The red button-down shirt with glorious ruffles down the front. The thinly striped yellow peasant skirt that I would hike up in front for dancing. The red alphabet shirt my mom sewed for me the night before picture day so that I could have something new to wear.

My mom sewed.

I have so many memories of tucking into her sewing closet and spending hours upon hours hidden away amidst the piles of fabrics and pattern books. I’d flip the huge pages of these weighty tomes deciding for every single outfit which options I preferred: this collar, that length, this sleeve. I’d run my hands over the fabrics, taking in their textures, immersing myself in their colours. Creative heaven.

But sewing? No.

Maybe it was because when we were little my younger brother played with the sewing machine and the needle went right through his finger.

Maybe it’s because I missed the lessons in Home Ec where they showed you how to use the machine and so every class I felt bewildered and lost.

Sewing was not for me.

But this year I was was reading Lisa Congdon’s blog and came across her Sewing Odyssey in which she commits to a year of not buying any new clothes but rather sewing and upcycling. I looked at her cute dresses over tights and great boots and thought, maybe I could do that. An unexpected seed was planted.

I started to wonder what it might be like to sew. Would I still feel the same way? Would it surprise me? Would it be worth trying just to break through the barrier of “that’s not for me”?

I found myself mentioning it to people, this curiosity I had, this wondering. One thing I’ve come to know about myself is that when I hear myself saying something out loud that’s a sure sign I’m about to do it!

When I asked my Auntie Laima for advice on sewing machines (I was just looking for a little beginner clunker I could try out), a door opened. She invited me to come over the her house to learn. She’d introduce me to the sewing machine and help me get started. Oh! What a gift!

How could I say no?

So, I’ve said yes to this adventure and I’m so curious where it will take me. I’m stepping into a whole new realm of creativity, one that for decades I thought wasn’t for me.  I’m going to learn to sew. I’ll let you know how it goes.

Is a new creative adventure calling your name?

Is there a realm of creativity that you thought wasn’t for you but maybe, just maybe it is?


  1. Jen says:

    Both my mother and grandmother were (are) excellent seamstresses…mom made my wedding dress and all the vests for our groomsmen and she made a fantastic prom dress for me in high school. I never learned to sew, though. Since I’ve moved 2500 miles away, I’ve started figuring some things out, although not really sewing clothes. I can do curtains and drapes and such…two months ago I sewed the cover for our daybed on the front porch. When mom comes to visit, she helps me figure a few more things out. I’m not a spatial thinker so it’s hard for me to envision how things are going to run out and I’m not a visual learner so I need to someone to show me how to do it. I’m still trying to finish a weekender bag we started a year ago – she says my machine (which was my grandmother’s) can’t handle the thick material.

    It’s nice to be learning this now…although I wish I’d known it long ago ;)

    • Jamie says:

      It’s amazing how things like sewing are not only skills or arts but also a part of our history. That’s one of the things I’m learning for sure. I loved hearing your history with sewing and what you’ve managed to create inspires me too. It’s awesome you know your learning style and have someone to help out when they can. I hear you on the spacial thinking. My fabric was a smaller width than needed and my Aunt and Shannon started plotting pattern placement like pros! That’s such a skill.

      I’m glad we’re both learning :) Good luck with your weekender bag!

  2. Hi Jamie, I can sense that excitement in your words and I’m thrilled for you! I’m one of those people too that think sewing is not for them even though I love the idea of it. Maybe one day when I’m not holding a brush, lol. Enjoy your adventure wherever it may lead and I’ll be on the look out for how things go for you. Take care.

  3. Ginny says:

    How wonderful Jamie!
    I have been sewing all my adult working life and it’s a great skill to have. I also joined a project called Love what you wear last year and didn’t buy any new clothes , so like Lisa refashioned, mended or made, it was great to do. My day job ( and evening) is teaching people to sew, and I love facilitating others on their sewing journeys., you are gonna have so much fun… Or should I say ‘sew’ much fun ; ) x

    • Jamie says:

      Ginny, you’re inspiring me! It’s amazing to hear how much sewing is a part of your life. I’m so curious about what connects you to sewing! And I so appreciate the encouragement, especially when this journey seems daunting! I’ll keep my eye out for tips from you!

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