Thursday, January 19, 2012

My Journey: Sewing to SoChick! [Part 1: The Beginning]

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I want to share with you where my love of sewing began, blossomed, and how SoChick! was started.  I am breaking this into two posts... Part 2 will be up tomorrow... I didn't want to over-do it. *wink*

First, if you haven't already, check out my post [About Me: The Chick Behind SoChick!], I feel like that is a great starting point to learning more about me.

[My Exposure to Sewing]

Growing up, I didn't learn how to run a sewing machine.  I knew that my grandmother (Nan) had one, she always told me about making things for her four sons (my Dad included); my Nan taught me how to sew/mend by hand.  I remember putting buttons on things for my Dad, as needed.  

When I was in 7th or 8th grade, I took the only home-ec class I would ever attend in my life.  We purchased kits to make pillows, all of the sewing was done by hand.  My pillow was a whale, I turned it in and received an A; I kept the remaining fabric from the kit and sewed a small pillow for my room.

In high school I remember my future-Stepmother reupholstering her sofa using solid and print sheets.  I helped her with applying the fabric covered buttons for the tufted back cushions.  She used this beautiful sage green for the main color and piped and trimmed the cushions in an Ivory/Sage print... I was, and still am, SO impressed by her skills.  She also made my Stepsister's wedding gown... yeah, impressive!

Finally, when I married my husband, I learned that my Mother-In-Law was quite crafty; she introduced me to crochet and Machine Embroidery.  I have some beautiful dresses and rompers for my little chicks that she has made... as well as quilts and embroidered towels and such.  She, too, is very impressive!!

[Learning to Sew]

My Nan's  1970's Brother Sewing machine was passed down to me, it is in a case and super heavy.  I had it for some time before deciding to actually attempt using it.  In March of 2008, my husband and I learned we were expecting our second daughter... shortly thereafter I decided I needed to learn to use that machine I had in the attic!

I hauled it out, happy to see that the user manual was in there, along with everything else my Nan had stored in the case... small scraps that she tested stitches on, metal bobbins wound with the tread that matched whatever it was she had last sewn, even the little pin cushion she used... okay, I'll admit, it was a bit emotional at first, sitting and looking at this machine, feeling this connection I was about to have with my Nan, who passed away in 2004.

I skimmed the manual, picked up the phone and called my Stepmom... "How in the world do I thread this thing?".  Several phone calls later, to both my Stepmom and my MIL, along with some browsing on the internet... I picked up some fabric, (that my MIL had given me from her visit to NY's Garment District, amazing how things come full circle, right?!), and decided on my first project, A diaper bag...

Seriously, my first machine-sewn item was my second daughter's diaper bag, which I made while pregnant with her.  I found a tutorial online for a basic tote and had my way with it... giving it two shoulder straps, with interior pockets, adding four exterior pockets and a removable base to keep its shape:

Of course it wasn't perfect, but it was functional, has held up like you wouldn't believe (we still use it for trips to the beach), and I. made. it. myself!!  It was clear after this bag that I was going to LOVE making bags... I needed to learn more, hone my skills, create beautiful bags with beautiful fabric!  My list of bookmarked websites grew, as did my fascination with handbag construction/design and love of fresh fabric designs/prints.

* * *

Please stop by tomorrow to read Part 2 of [My Journey: Sewing to SoChick!]

XxOo~ Melissa


  1. I loved reading your history on sewing! :) That machine you inherited from your Grandma is awesome! What a neat treasure to have from her! I'm super impressed with your diaper bag! You don't want to see my first project - it's terrible!


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