Sew, Whatcha Doing?

Vesta sewing machine (L.O. Dietrich Altenburg)

My grandma attempted to teach me how to use a sewing machine when I was a kid. It was a fruitless endeavor. Between not being very interested at the time and being one of those people that gets easily frustrated when I’m not instantly adept at something, it was a learnin’ that I did not get. My sister, on the other hand, picked up the sewing machine and learned how to crochet and has always been able to cook. She can also bust a forty bottle just right in order to cut a bitch. I’ve always been jealous of my sister’s innate abilities.

Anyway, though I never learned how to work a sewing machine (I have intentions to teach myself or have my great-aunt learn me up), I did teach myself how to sew by hand. As such, I’ve actually made quite a few things. I’ve made several pillows over the years as gifts; I created a DragonCon costume; I’ve made a few stuffed animals; and I repair a lot of my clothes. I’m pretty good with hand sewing combat skills.

My latest project is turning a t-shirt into a bag. I don’t remember what gave me the idea. I’ve got a bunch of old t-shirts that I don’t wear, but I don’t want to get rid of because I think they’re neat and I just can’t bear to part with them. I don’t like waste and right now they’re just sitting in a bin under my bed. At some point, in my sifting through multiple ideas over the past few years, I came up with turning a t-shirt into a bag.

This idea has been months in the making, I’ll have you know. I picked a t-shirt that I was okay with destroying, looked at it. And then I put it away in one of my craft drawers. A few months later, I pulled it out again and looked at it. Then I put it away again. I couldn’t figure out how I wanted to make this transition and if I could make it work.

A couple of weekends ago, I finally said, “screw it”, and committed to the project. I cut off the bottom of the t-shirt, sewed that bit up and lo, the bottom of the bag was born. Since then, a bit at a time, I’ve turned the sleeves into pockets, turned strips of the excess material into a strap, and decided where to attach the strap. This past weekend I bit the bullet and attached the strap and refined the pockets and the bag is now done (aside from testing it to see how well the stitching holds up). So yeah, this project that I didn’t think I’d ever do is now done.

Sometimes, I forget that I’m capable of doing stuff like that. In addition to being one of those people that thinks they should be instantly adept at new things, I also have it in my head that stuff should be done all in one go. And some things should be. But other things don’t have to be and in fact, it’s a better approach to do a little bit at a time. The overall result is better and the process isn’t as overwhelming.

If only I could apply this sewing project approach to my life.

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