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I am a mother, a new grandmother, and a teacher. But whatever happens in my life, I keep sewing. I have worked as a political communicator and now as a teacher in my formal life. I have also written extensively on sewing. I have been a frequent contributor and contributing editor of Threads magazine and the Australian magazine Dressmaking with Stitches. My first book Sew.. the garment-making book of knowledge will be published in May 2018 and is available for pre-order from Amazon


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Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Chairs and learning styles

Well here is the dad's lazy boy done.

My part in this project was much of the disassembly, cutting, sewing and moaning.  My husband did the hard part, the putting it back together, stapling and not giving up.

The spouse like puzzles and likes detail. This is after all a man who buys crabs and spends five hours cooking them and squeezing out the meat to make a crab quiche like he hasn't even heard of a can opener.

Here he is in action picking up where I left off with the chair:

And below here he is doing the test elevation in recovery mode. It was a huge job, particularly for our first ever upholstery job:

And here is the final chair, with the weird eyeball fabric I thought at the time would update it:

Now I can absolutely say that if I did not have my husband's persistence this would not have ever been finished. Once I got into taking it all apart my own personal reaction was, you have to be kidding, this is waaay too much trouble.

I am not a fussy sewer. I can be careful and precise when I sew but it is not something I like to repeat too often.

I like variety, the challenge of a new pattern, trying to figure something out. My mind is so often on to the next project before I finish the current one.

I am a garment sewer entirely. I like that there are two sleeves and one collar. I would not enjoy 50 sleeves and 25 collars one after the other. It is beyond me how quilters can do 524 pieces the same. In fact one of my sisters, who is a meticulous quilter and I should add also great at upholstery, and I once tried to make a quilt together for our parents. I did my squares and sent them to her. She sent them back to me.

"Haven't you heard of a 1/4" seam allowance?"

I eyeballed it. Got it done didn't I?

Well not really.

I operate more on enthusiasm than a system.

It has taken me a long time to understand this is just part of my style and to go with it try to make the most of it, rather than trying to meet other expectations.

This orientation is why I am always a SWAP drop out, and probably why I nixed my one Chanel jacket project.

I am careful if I can do it once and say "Cool" but not if I have to do it over and over again.

Does this make sense to you?

What kind of sewer are you? What kind of projects do you enjoy most? 

What kind of sewing have you accepted you don't enjoy and stopped doing it?

What guilts have you given up?

This matters.


Martha said...

I feel (a little) guilty sewing for me. I am the easiest client I've ever had even with my occasional spectacular fail. I appreciate what I sew for me. I wear what I sew for me. I don't have to know my size in RTW. If it fails, I deal with it. I shove it in the back of the closet. I might recycle it someday. I don't feel guilty enough to stop sewing for me. I love it!

I have given up most large quilts. I have a too-short attention span. And it is too repetitive.

Love your blog. Thanks for the many delightful posts.

Catherine said...

Congratulations on getting the chair done. It looks great and hubs looks like he's enjoying it already. I like a variety of sewing projects. Each different than the last. I have no TNT patterns. Partly because my weight fluctuates so.

LinB said...

I have given up "straight" sewing -- no more tablecloths, napkins, curtains, bridal aisle runners,etc. (unless I feel like it. and I almost never feel like it.) And NO MORE SEWING FOR OTHER PEOPLE. I keep a complete list of the Selfish Seamstress' haiku posted next to my sewing machine, to reinforce this resolution. There IS still one neighbor who thinks I am jesting with him when I tell him "No, I will not do any more alterations for you." It is often easier to just do his stupid hemming -- he shows up on my doorstep with his too-long pants and won't go away until I finish. It matters not to him that I am in the middle of cooking supper, or packing to go away for a trip, or that I will have to go buy thread to match his weirdly-colored fabric. Or that it is after 9:00 at night. Sigh.

Teri said...

Large egg sucking grin here - I have a quilt that I definitely have not given up on. It has been a UFO (or as I like to call it a WIP - work in progress) for about 10 years but recently I eyeballed it (discovered it at the back of the closet) and decided that I might like to pick it up again. Maybe. It is quite big. I get distracted so easily...
I sew for me. I sew quilts for others. I find that having expectations hanging over me is both motivating and paralyzing. Motivating if it is a quilt, paralyzing if it is anything else. I have a low stress threshold. Really low. Mere inches off the ground.
I love buying fabric, I love sitting in my sewing area and fondling fabric and cool sewing tools. I love it when it all comes together and I end up with something wonderful. I love it much less when it fails.
I am a life long sewer. Over the years I have dallied in knitting, crochet, felting and assorted other fibre crafts/arts but sewing is the constant. It is always there and gives me comfort when the bloom goes off the other endevours.
Teri on the Left Coast

Laceflower said...

Congrats on the chair finish, you can now check that box and move on. I sew everything, even quilts, and they do NOT look like wallpaper. I sew for me only, occasionally for my DH, but not so much anymore, and sometimes for gifts. I don't like making a pattern more than once, but lately, I've got a couple of Tilton patterns that I am repeating because edgy, different styles are not that easy to come by.

Eileensews said...

Chair and husband look great!!!
You have given everyone with a comfy but sad looking recliner hope.

me said...

The chair looks great - I'm impressed! My sewing style - much like yours! I love your blog even though I never comment. It's a 'day brightener' when it's in my mail box

theresa said...

I am a repeat stitcher. I will make multiples of the same pattern but tweak the details. Since fitting is such a chore and I absolutely refuse to use stretch fabric, once a pattern is perfected, it's worth doing again. Don't do upholstery as my local shop does it so much better but will do curtains. Your chair fabric looks very much like the fabric I used for curtains for the latest rental house. You and hubby did a nice job.

Marianne said...

Yes, beautiful job on the chair. This gives me hope that I can do it one day

I've pretty much managed to lose the guilt about not sewing on request. Sometimes I still accidentally say yes, but now that I am more aware that my time on earth is limited this happens less and less.

I'm kind of a fussy sewer but I've learned to live with less than perfect. I think I even had a pair of pants once that didn't get its waistband button until I'd already worn it for a few months. I just fastened it with a safety pin (those old self locking diaper pins!). No one saw it since I don't tuck in. If there is some sloppiness in my sewing I usually prefer it to be in places that can't be seen.

I still have to work on losing the guilt about having too much fabric.I pretend I don't feel guilty about it, calling it a "collection", but this is not really honest. I may have to give much of it away one day to be released from these negative feelings.

Bunny said...

I have a subset of sewing ADD. I love detail, challenge and competition in all walks of life and sewing is not different. Give me some expensive wool boucle and a few free weeks and watch out Coco! I like to look at patterns and think of a better more common sense way to get it done. Blank the instructions! But I do read them through a few times before I ditch them. Ask me to try a technique I've never used before and I research it to death before I start, love the research. But don't ever ask me to make you one, as in sewing or crafting something twice. It's not that you're not nice. It's just that I don't re do any creative efforts. It sucks all the fun right out. So if you want me to make you a necklace like I just finished, you can buy off my neck but I won't make another for you. I don't do repeats, simple as that! That's the kind of sewist I am.

I upholstered a sofa and two chairs when I was a newlywed. That thick olefin coating on the back of the fabric turned my hands to shreds. I swore I would never do it again and haven't. You have my respect and admiration. Well done!