About Me - Well some people probably really won't care, and that's okay. But me? Well, I'm always a bit curious how people got into sewing. Was it because of a family influence? Or was it a friend? Did they have to take a home ec class in school that sparked their interest? Anyway..... because I'm interested in others, I've decided to share more about myself (you may want to get your favorite beverage as this may get long!)
Home EC – yep, it was a requirement in junior high (or as some say 'middle school'). Now the cooking part I loved. But the sewing part? Not so much. I'll never forget we all had to buy the same pattern. It was one of those sleeveless shift type dresses (mid 60's) with a zipper in the back, bust darts and those 'slimming darts'. My fabric was light blue. The class was going to have a fashion show at the end of the semester to show off our talents. So I did learn how to cut out a pattern and sew a 5/8” seam. And I was proud of my dress – until I tried to zip up that zipper! One thing the teacher did NOT teach was how to prefit a pattern. We managed to 'take out' a few seams so I could wiggle into that dress – but needless to say, I was done with sewing! Why spend so much time on something that didn't fit anyway. After all I bought the size pattern of the size dress I wore – well anyone who sews garments know how that goes.
Oh, and obviously by now you know I did not learn to sew from a family member. My mom did have this fancy machine that my dad bought her. It was Singer 401A (I think) with the drop in cams for decorative stitches and it was in this really nice sewing cabinet. My mom did sew flannel pajamas for my grandma on it. I remember when Dad first bought the machine for my mom. He wanted to know how it worked and he went to town and made my sister and me these beautiful chartreuse organdy dresses – even added lace. Those dresses itched to high heaven and the color did not look good on either of us. Just a little note here – I think my mom would have sewn if she liked it – she simply didn't enjoy sewing. My sister has a pair of pajamas, size 6 child, that my mom finished when my sister was in her late 20's. Those pajamas dress a big stuffed teddy bear! And the machine? It has a home with my sister who also doesn't sew – fitting!
Okay, so how did I get into sewing? My ex got stationed in the Philippines. Well, over there I had a live in housekeeper, a yard boy who came once a week and I could have a sew girl come in once a week and sew – if I had a sewing machine. So off to BX (base exchange) I go and buy a little Singer machine. Straight and zig zag stitch – but it was a nice machine. So now I have a machine and a sew girl. Oh wait! I need fabric too but that comes after her first visit to me. I didn't have to buy a pattern, I just showed her a picture of what I wanted her to make, she told me how much fabric to buy along with thread and notions and she showed up the next week and made it! Yee ha! I was in clothing heaven. But then she got married to an American soldier and that was the end of her sewing for others.
So I found another sew girl – she was okay, but I had really gotten spoiled by my first one. The first one would just cut into the fabric and it was always a perfect fit. The second one first made a pattern out of paper and sometimes it fit, sometimes it didn't. Well, shoot, I thought – even I can make something that doesn't fit :-) So I decided to give it a try. By this time my first daughter was pushing two years old and I had a new baby. Off to the BX I go, buy a little girls pattern and a jeans pattern for me. Oh dear! They actually fit! And a jeans pattern, you ask? With all those pockets and zipper? Okay, another note here: I have never – ever – worried about skill level of anything. If I see something I like and want to try – I dive right in. And even though my dress didn't fit in Home EC, the teacher actually was pretty good and I learned a lot.
Anyway, I was hooked. And fabric? The Philippines have fabric stores on every corner – or so it seemed. But I did have a favorite store and I was in there every week. I only bought fabric for what I knew I was sewing up – if I'd only known then what I know now – what a stash I'd have! So in 1975 I started sewing for myself and my girls. By 1977, I was divorced and working to support my family when I met my wonderful hubby. And my hubby is western to the core. You know the song “little bit country, little bit rock and roll”? Well that's us. We're as different as night and day – well maybe not so much anymore, but back then – total shock for anyone who knew me before. Oh, sorry, getting side tracked here :-) Anyway, hubby likes (what else) western cut shirts with those pearl snaps. Can I make that? But of course! Color? Oh, yellow is his favorite. So off to the fabric store I go. I get a western shirt pattern, yellow gingham and those pearl snaps. I get that shirt made and hubby doesn't buy another shirt for 19 years! I made probably 85% of all my family's clothing for a whole lot of years. Then the kids grew up, moved out on their own and I discovered a place where hubby could buy shirts for less than I could make them for.
So what about quilting, you ask? Way back in about 1981 a friend asked if I'd like to take a quilting class with her. It was going to be a 6 weeks long class held by the local community college. So what the heck – a night out and sewing to boot. So I learned a little about quilt patterns and piecing. Made a small sampler block quilt. Even made a couple drunkard's path quilts. That was it, I was done with quilting. So along comes 2001 and another friend asking if I'd like to take a quilt class with her. I tell her,. “I'm not a quilter.” She says, “that's okay, just come take the class with me and have some fun” So off I go to another quilt class. Oops wait, I'm getting away from myself here. She has the pattern for the quilt we're going to learn in class and starts talking about stacking and cutting. Wait a minute – I'm not going to bruise my hands cutting through 9 layers of fabric! Then she introduces me to a rotary cutter and mat. Well, alrighty then, I think I can do this! I took that class (a Pointless Wonder block) and was hooked. Started buying quilt magazines, surfing the internet – reading just about everything I could get my hands on. Then..... came the free motion quilting class. What fun – what a disaster! I couldn't make a smooth curved line to save my soul. Well, I guess that's what long arm quilters are for. I give up my Pointless Wonder to the class teacher who also is doing the free motion quilting class to quilt for me. She explains that she does all her quilting on her domestic sewing machine. So $45 later I look at the quilted quilt and decided come hell or high water, I was going to learn free motion quilting! And I did. Once I became determined enough, relaxed enough and had a few UFO's on the shelf – I did it.
Well after I started quilting for Quilters for Comfort, I knew I wanted a quilter on a frame set up. I drooled after the HQ16 for awhile, but simply couldn't / wouldn't justify the purchase. I found the Juki/ Grace frame set up at SewVacDirect and ordered it for Christmas 2007. My sister helped me put it together and I was in love! Fast forward to 2009 and a whole lot of quilts later and I knew I wanted more quilting space than the Juki allowed. I have to say here – I loved that set up – if Juki had made a larger machine for quilting, I'd have bought it. But... alas, I went to a sewing/quilt expo in Tucson and bought the Tin Lizzy 18LS. I test drove several other models but for the cost and what I wanted to do, the TinLizzy fit my needs. So after a little over a year now and a few quilts later …... No, I'm not going to get yet another quilter – I'm happy with the Tin Lizzy (for now ;-) )
So if you've gotten this far – I thank you for taking time to read a little about me. I say a little, because there is so much more!