Alexandra's CAS Journey

Sewing

I started this school year unaware of the parts of the sewing machine, the different ways to hem, the different types of fabric, which stitches to use, and what seam allowance is. Although I still don’t know how to sew an invisible zipper or sew with more complicated fabrics like silk or mesh, I was successful in completing my very first sewing project: a wrap skirt.

I dusted off the sewing machine that has been stored under the stairs for seven years. I came home from a successful trip to ‘the sewing street’ (basically just a street with a bunch of fabric stores) with 6 different fabrics, some of which I had a plan for and some of which I just liked. Following a youtube video of how to create a ruffled wrap skirt, I measured and cut out the pattern from Christmas wrapping paper. Using that pattern I cut the pieces out of the fabric. Here I made my first big mistake which I only figured out weeks later when I was almost done: I forgot to add enough seam allowance. I ruffled the small pieces by sewing two lines on the top of small strips of fabric and then pulled on two of the threads to scrunch it together. After multiple first attempts and using the seam ripper a lot, I finally created three ruffled strips that I stitched onto the larger front and back of the skirt. Using a french seam (another thing I was unaware of at the start of the project) I connected all the pieces together.

Sewing on the ruffles

Only once all the pieces were sewn together did I figure out that I needed to add more seam allowance. The skirt would maybe fit a five-year-old. I was determined that I would fix it, I did not want to waste the hours I spent on it. I cut apart the main sections of the skirt, added an extra piece, and added a thick waistband. I added two ribbons that I had sewn from white lining fabric to the waistband. Next, I had another hurdle to jump: learning how to sew a buttonhole. A task that seemed quite simple actually required three different types of stitches and an entirely new sewing foot. Again after consulting youtube and a couple practices on scrap fabric, I figured it out… only to figure out I put it in the wrong place. I then had to sew up that hole and do it all again. Finally! I finished the skirt.

By undertaking this new challenge, I had to develop countless new skills and overcome each one of the obstacles I encountered, even when I might have wanted to put the sewing machine back under the stairs and not look at it for another seven years. I still have lots to learn and I am excited to try my next sewing project.

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