some thing

I forced myself to sew something because I wanted to see if I could do it.  I bought a sewing machine and found a ratty thrift store dress in the back of Alice's closet and turned it inside out.  Then I cut shapes that vaguely looked like the shapes puzzled together inside of that inside-out dress but I cut them a little bigger because the inside-out dress is a size too small.  I didn't measure anything or cut things straight.  I didn't turn on a brighter light, even though I should have and my eyes hurt.  I didn't google how to sew a dress or read a book or ask my mom.  I don't know what exactly I was trying to prove to myself.  I don't know.  I just felt this strong desire to see what happened.  If all my messy pieces turned into a thing, or stayed scraps of nothing.  Like, you know, how a  scrap of fabric is not a thing but a scrap of fabric strung onto a garland with six other scraps of fabric is totally a thing?

So Alice has a dress now. It looks just like the chairs in our kitchen because I made it out of the left over seat-cover fabric.  The hem is uneven and crazy.  The stitches aren't straight at all, and I did them in the wrong places and I didn't know how to make a closure so I just made a great big V in the back so I could get it over her head. A great big V that I didn't measure or trace, I just free-hand cut out with a pair of dull scissors. There are threads sticking out everywhere.  It looks a little like a home-ec project.

I'm kind of on the fence about it.


I think it is a thing.





And now that that is done, I wonder if I'll ever feel like using the sewing machine again?


  1. It's a very cute "thing". Anyway, whoever said you had to follow the sewing rules. I sew a lot, but really I'm terrible about not reading or following instructions. Even when I read instructions my eyes sort of cross and I give up and just go with it. Sometimes I even think it's more fun that way.

  2. i LOVE that you had 'no idea' what you were doing. and i love that fabric...are those lemons?


  3. kate, yep! lemons. like i said, i use it to recover the kitchen chairs all the time. it's alexander henry juicy. i think it's from maybe 2005 or 2006? i bought the very last yard the last time i was at jo-ann! and yes, i truly had NO CLUE what i was doing. i had read the instructions on how to get the thread on the bobbin like three times.

  4. Cute dress. It was executed with the same "I'll just freehand it" spirit as was Wesley's Halloween costume. Except I didn't have a sewing machine, so I didn't have to struggle with bobbins, and its seams were waaaay crooked. It's a fun way to sew, I found. Things actually kinda turn out.

  5. Making some thing is so good. I love not having direction and just letting the direction find you. Im kind of doing that with this dress im knitting ivy and will be up all night because im enjoying it too much and I have no idea how it will turn out!

    I think you've got a great eye for these things, just go with it!


  6. Oh, I love that fabric and have three little aprons for my girls made from it (I had an etsy seller make them; not as brave as you)!

  7. I am impressed. Making things---it's what makes us tick, no?

  8. I like what Steph said. :)
    Also, I agree that it is definitely a thing and that if that is what your first totally relaxed blind attempt resulted in - you should keep going, if you want to, because it is a really great start :)

  9. This almost exactly describes my first experience with sewing. Except I did start with pillows, and then quickly (feeling confident from pillows) moved on to a slipcover for a thrift-store sofa.

    That one almost killed me. It was me, yards of fabric, piping, a sewing machine, and lots of cursing -- in my living room for 4 days (this was pre-children). I would just lay pieces of fabric on the sofa, and start cutting and pinning.

    Then I made a cute halter I saw at Banana Republic, that I didn't want to pay $98 for. From a distance it was ok. Up close, it was a disaster -- I might as well have taped it together on my body.

    All this to say, I still don't enjoy sewing. But I do it b/c I'm cheap, and no matter how miserable I can make myself at times, I can't stop myself from saying, "Hey -- I could make that!"

    Perhaps learning how to really sew would help? Would it just stifle our innate desire to start willy-nilly cutting pieces of fabric?

  10. That is pretty good for how you described making it! My husband took over the sewing in our house after he watched me trying to sew a patch on my student nurse uniform. It looked like a kindergardener did it, and I was bleeding from sticking myself with the needle!

  11. I think its an adorable "mama made" thing :)
    I am the worst - I can't seem to get the ^%&*^%*& sewing machine to work correctly - so I buy the "no sew" tape stuff - and make things that way LOL
    Kitchen curtains - check
    Little pajama pants - check check
    I am the worlds WEIRDEST I'm sure.
    (oh and directions....as if!)

  12. now that my friend is adorable.. in all its detailing that only you as the designer would knit pick..

    its a keeper :)

    now i shall try the same thing.. I just reiecved a sewing machine and never sewed with a machine in my life.. wish me luck - hoping mine turns out just as good :)

  13. I think it's beautiful.

    My grandpa started working for the Singer Company waaaaaay-back-when. He had bought a machine for my grandma on payments then lost his job and couldn't make the payments. He brought the machine back to them and they said, "Take the machine back to your wife and come work for us." A million years later and the Singer Company decides to close its stores so he can either take early retirement or become a dealer with his own store.

    Grandpa died in 1998. My uncle still has the dealership. I have 3 sewing machines: an every-day one that was a trade-in, a serger (*that's* the one I'm afraid of), and a cute little Featherweight in its case that is the last one my grandpa fixed up before he died.

    So, I've got some history, ya know?

    I also hate the rules and instructions of patterns. My mom was always over my shoulder telling me to do it the right way instead of following the instructions. I would get so confused. I did much better when I followed what made sense to me.

    Poo on the rules, do what you want. I made pillow cases for all my cousins one Christmas and it was the best thing ever. I had some sheets that couldn't be used as sheets anymore but had sentimental value. Everyone got a piece of the sheets to lay their heads on with trim in a theme (like the littlest boys got cowboy fabric, the littlest girls got kitty fabric) out of quilting fabric.

    So, you don't need rules, you need heart and you've got that! Find a nice local shop to get yearly tune-ups at though. Support that small business!

  14. you are making me laugh a lot lately. i mean that in a good way, silly.

    your writing has been hilarious and funny!!!

    also, if you knew how much i just felt like i wrote this? omg. that is totally me and sewing. i have had so many projects where i'm like, so anxious to sit down and just put my foot on the foot and GO. no time fore measuring! can't be bothered with prep work! follow a pattern, me? no way, jose!

    i love alice's dress.

    (ps. i promise i'm working on my post about you. i got overwhelmed the other night looking through all your gorgeous photos on flickr.)


  15. i read this on my phone this morning around 12:30 and it made me smile so big. i adore this little dress, and i adore you for making it. winging it. the only thing i've wung is a skirt, which is pretty much the easiest thing ever to make. oh, and lucy's quilt - which really, sewing squares together? yeah.

    i love that you just sewed it all together just like that. and it's super cute, too!!

  16. Oh girl. That is awesome. I mean no pattern or anything? WOW.

    I'm still trying to finish my first dress for K, as it sits by the sewing machine I got for Christmas. Fingers crossed that I can get it done...

    This is fabulous!!

  17. the dress is cute but alice in the dress is the cutest.

  18. Love the dress! I like sewing things that are quick, easy and still cute if they don't turn out perfect- I also frequently make up my own patterns. . .I think you should use your machine again.

  19. We're in the same boat. I got a sewing machine and wanted to 'just see'. Except you did a very cute thing and well... I did a tote bag. A lot of tote bags. From t-shirts.

    Keep on making things. I want a 'thing' you made from chair fabric!

  20. you are awesome! and we are two peas in a pod.

  21. It's adorable! You should definitely just "wing it" more often!

  22. Hi Erin!

    That dress is adorable! And in the picture, I can't see a single mistake. When I was little, the only outfits/costumes my mom would make were ones that required no sewing--she used velcro, pins, and stitch-witchery, but not a single piece of thread. Regardless, I loved every halloween costume she made; it never mattered about the quality.

    Also, if you want to try something for yourself that doesn't really require a pattern, try the infinity dress: http://rowena.typepad.com/rostitchery/infinity-dress.html

    Cousin love!

  23. You made that? Without a book or anything? I am super impressed. Really. Super. Impressed.