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Talent or Luck? I Vote Luck.

September 8, 2010

Amy's First Baby Quilt

Hi, this is Amy. To start this post I want to give a brief summary of my sewing experience:
(1) Took a home economics class in middle school where I learned to thread a sewing machine. I also watched my teacher make a denim dress for my final project. It was ugly even by 1980s Wyoming standards.
(2) I was given a sewing machine for a birthday present in high school. I learned how to thread it and then put in my closet where it remained with all other new hobbies that didn’t catch on.
(3) I carried the sewing machine around for 15 more years and finally sold it in my last garage/moving sale – in Alaska. Why keep moving that heavy thing when I don’t sew?

As soon as I sell the sewing machine I find myself impatiently waiting to give birth. So I borrowed my sisters sewing machine (which was snugly stored away since her one high school attempt at sewing) and I made a baby quilt. Yep! It is not great, but not horrible for my first attempt (see above) – and on a Kenmore that was clearly not designed to machine quilt anything.

Somehow between that baby quilt and now I started digging sewing. After exhausting the possibilities on the borrowed machine I invested in a Brother PC-420. I wanted to go for the gold but it was not cost-effective and what if my found-again hobby was lost in the closet – again? Too wasteful.

Amy's Latest Sewing Machine

So here I am with a nice machine, no classes since middle school, and a couple generic sewing books that I can’t find interesting enough to actually read. And I am thinking to myself, “Hey, I should make a shirt for my brother-in-law, Snake’s, birthday!” Sounds like a random thought but I had heard him talk about the tacky island-style shirts being worn on Fridays in his office building. And he has also complained about  trying to find a replacement for his favorite shirt (it was on its last “leg” but it fit perfect). Ok, I was desperate for a good gift idea.

So Snake, Erin, and I hop on the Internet and find some sweet cotton tiki cocktail fabric that is just the right amount of tacky and I order it (from

Here is where things get interesting: Did you know that most people make clothing from patterns?!? Yes. That was what my home ec. teacher was trying to show me!

And did I find a commercial pattern that would make the perfect shirt? No. Of course not. I like to make myself work for the love. So I took Snake’s old favorite shirt, drafted a pattern from it (reminder, I have never drafted a pattern nor sewn a shirt before this) and figured out how to put it all together. And it worked! Who says a beginning seamstress can’t get lucky?

Snake's New Favorite Shirt

I recycled the cork buttons from his old shirt and used them for the new shirt. I think the interfacing could have been lighter, and I need to find a way to make the shoulder yoke less bulky for future shirts. But I am so thrilled with the results! What do you think?

~ Amy

p.s. In the above picture of my sewing machine, was that a sneak preview of a quilt? Oh, yes, it was. And here is another preview…


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