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Sewing: Fun Hobby or Giant Pain in the Rear?

Updated on January 26, 2016

Is a new hobby oodles of fun or a pain in the rear?

I am undecided.

As you may know, I am sort of a crafter. But just sort of. I’ve tried lots of different things, and I’d say I’m not particularly good at any of them. I’ve been knitting for a long time now, but I rarely start a project that’s actually challenging. I can crochet a little but that’s never gone anywhere either. I’ve done a little design work (note cards, journals), I’ve made a few hand-made books – that were so simple, all they required was paper, card stock and thread. I can’t draw, and no matter how much my friend Dayl says “anyone can Zentangle” mine just look… wonky.

So you can imagine my enthusiasm when wanting to try to sew something. Oh yeah, I’ve sewn before. Little business card holders. A few simple tote bags. I use cloth napkins that I’ve sewn myself. What was I thinking when I thought, oh yeah, I want to make a dress!

I’m no dummy. The first thing I did after deciding to “sew a dress” was to text Dayl and ask her if she’d help me “make a dress.” She said of course! Perfect, I now had help.

I picked out a cute pattern. I picked out some nice fabric at the fabric store (the confusion I have over that store’s “sales” and “coupons” is never-ending and a post for another time). So I went down to Texas, and when I was staying with Dayl, we started sewing the dress.

Do you know how much of “sewing” is actually SEWING? Not much. There’s a decent amount of cutting fabric, pinning fabric, and for most projects, a whole lot of ironing. If you had told me that when working on a sewing project only about 45% of the time is spend sewing, I maybe would have reconsidered.

As I previously mentioned, Dayl “helped me sew the dress.” And by that I mean, she did most of it. Because when it comes to actually sewing something, I have no confidence in my ability to do things like create pleats, sew darts, and put in a zipper. I mean, that is ADVANCED SHIT. I can barely sew in a straight line.

Dayl was kind enough to walk me through the steps and we almost got the thing done by the time I left Texas. I’d tried on the dress and it looked like it was going to fit! I just needed to take it in on the sides / waist, finish the collar, sleeves and bottom hem, and I’d be done! Sounds easy, right?

Well YOU try finishing arm holes after you realize that you’d gotten the seam allowances wrong and instead of sewing everything with a 5/8” seam, you went with ¼” seams, because you swear you saw that somewhere in those damn instructions it said ¼”.

And guess what else gets messed up by that? Yeah the whole collar / neckline, front and back. This dress might fit someone with the shoulders of a football player and the waist of a… thinner person. Ack! Such a rookie mistake. It’s enough to make someone give up on entirely on sewing and stick to hobbies like eating Cheetos, or vacuuming.

But, I’m not going to give up on sewing entirely. In fact I’ll probably look for more (cheaper) fabric and try the exact same project again. Because I know that to be good at anything you need to practice. Unless you are Dayl and can do anything perfectly the first time.

And I have a personal interest in promoting the use of cloth napkins instead of paper ones, so I’ll probably keep sewing those to give as gifts and to sell on Etsy. After all, that’s just sewing some straight lines. Maybe I could do that.

But maybe I’d just better stick to my real area of expertise, which is writing about thinking about doing things.

© 2016 Andrea C Neil

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