Saturday, 5 March 2011

My first sewing project - bunting

The first present that came up in this year of making was for our friend's little girl, who was turning two. I needed a sweet, lovely gift for a sweet, lovely girl. What was a novice seamstress to do? Bunting didn't seem too difficult to do but could be personalised and made with a little love (!) so I headed off to John Lewis for the essentials and off I went, minus a pattern, and eventually came up with this:

It's three pieces of pink gingham with three pieces of floral cotton, hemmed, sewed onto a length of binding, and then four felt letters sewn on. I felt quite impressed with myself! But more than that, what I really gained was the enjoyment, excitement and challenges of the sewing project itself. I found out that I could definitely like this sewing thing.

The highlights and lowlights of the experience were:
  • I made it without a pattern, but still managed to do alright. I thought, being a little perfectionist, that I would be the sort of sewer that followed patterns. But it turns out I quite liked the freedom of finding my own way and seeing where the cloth took me.
  • I had a nightmare with the tension. Firstly, I didn't know what tension was! Once vaugely understood, I realised I had it wrong but myriad attempts to correct it with a more proficient sewing chum only seemed to make matters worse. I tried to hold face in front of her but I really felt like crying with exasperation by the end - not like me! It showed me how much emotion I had invested in this sewing expedition. What was great though was that I managed - on a cooler, calmer day - to rectify the problem by myself and go on to finish the job.
  • I also managed to figure out the tension differences required for the flimsy gingham and the thicker fabric.
  • I had planned to hand stitch the letters on with a more homely-looking blanket stitch (although I've not blanket stitched since I was about seven). Time worked against me though, so out came the sewing machine again. I quite like the results (you can see it on the 'i' below).
  • I had a really lovely response from the little girl's parents. Firstly they thought the bunting was bought, which made me feel a little less amateur, and then they were so appreciative of the effort involved. It was such a lovely feeling, so much better than giving a well-sourced bought present.
  • And there was so much I got out of the process myself - yes there had been moments of intense frustration, and times when I felt overwhelmed, but overcoming the challenges and feeling I was making something so lovely felt so good. I think I could get a little addicted to this.

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