When I was seventeen years old, I decided that I wanted to learn to sew. My mom doesn't sew (though she can work wonders with a glue gun and stitch witchery) and we didn't have a sewing machine in the house. So I borrowed a machine and signed up for an introductory class at the now-defunct Minnesota Fabrics. I ended up making a very ugly but well constructed burgundy prom dress that I didn't wear to prom. I was hooked. I got a sewing machine for my eighteenth birthday which I brought to college the next fall. My college sewing consisted of two main areas: 1) making patchwork dresses, backless smock tops, and split cords to clothe me and my hippie friends and 2) working with professional dressmakers and designers as a staff member in the theater department's costume shop, where I got to learn fun things like how to dye spandex, how to use an overlock machine, and how to work without patterns. Between the two, I sewed a lot. College was followed by two years in the Peace Corps, during which I sewed frequently but slowly as I was using my host mother's hand treadle machine. Things slowed down after that: grad school, then a career, then kids.
Three years ago, my in-laws got me a brand spanking new Janome machine. It's amazing. It makes buttonholes and has fifty decorative stitches and it's quiet and classy. I love it. I knew right away that I wouldn't have a lot of time to use it, to which my mother-in-law said, "Well, if you don't have a lot of time to sew, you really need a great machine. She was right. My sewing as of the last four years pretty much consisted of making baby quilts for my newest nieces and nephews and...of course...Halloween. Which brings me to this post.
When Finn was one year old, I made him a scarecrow costume. I used an official Wizard of Oz pattern and spent way too much time getting it perfectly right. Turned out pretty cute, though.
Now that Emmett is one, I figured I might as well get one more use out of the costume. The inklings of a theme started brewing in my head. Long story short, while the scarecrow costume is ready to go, I'm now making Finn a cowardly lion costume and Iona (my thirteen year old live-in niece) a Dorothy costume. I found McCall's patterns on sale for 99 cents and picked up the materials yesterday. Late last night, I pulled out my old friend Janome and threw together a Dorothy costume. And you know what? It was really fun. I diverged from the pattern directions pretty quickly, particularly because the pattern called for a pinafore attached to a blouse and I just wanted to make a pinafore. The skirt turned out poofy, the front of the pinafore lays perfectly, and, most importantly, Iona loves it. I'll get to the lion costume some time this week.
Making clothes is not something I can do when I have a few minutes, as I don't have a designated space for my machine and sewing supplies. In some ways, that makes the process so much more rewarding, as I designate time for sewing and focus on the project at hand. Sometimes, you just have to do that.
Did I mention that my mom is a goddess with a glue gun? Check out my 3rd grade Halloween costume: