I fell into sewing by accident, or rather, necessity. I used to come to my friend’s house in Town of Mount Royal and borrow her sewing machine to hem the curtains.When we moved into our first house in Gatineau, Mary Austin gave me a simple sewing machine as a housewarming present. She joked that now we have many more windows to dress. She was right, and I sewed the majority of the window treatments.
Here again, it was the need that stimulated me to venture into clothing. Shopping for my spouse is and always was an exercise in compromise: style, fit, material, price… you name it! I kidded that I could probably sew the same garments better and cheaper. I was taken at my word. My first creations were made using commercial patterns, and honestly, they were disastrous. Worn only once (just to not let me feel bad) they ended up in trash bin.
I had to learn from my mistakes. I’ve borrowed every imaginable book on sewing in the library. I’ve approached my study as a good scholar: what makes my spouse like the garments she wears? It boiled down to fit. I decided to study what makes a good fit. The answer for me was – the pattern, and understanding how to translate fit adjustments to paper. Again came the library books and innumerous online resources. Now I prefer to do things from scratch and start with drafting my own patterns for projects.
I enjoy the process of solving problems. I approach every project with curiosity and anticipation of learning and trying something new. There are a lot of firsts: knits, jeans, t-shirts, silks, jackets. I sew to wind down and to experience the satisfaction of completing something. The byproduct of this activity is garments that my spouse (in the beginning), my kids and myself can wear and feel good in.
Is sewing cheaper than buying ready-made? Absolutely not! Only the time involved makes every garment I produce almost at the level of haute-couture. However, every piece of clothing fits the wearer, makes sense in the wardrobe, and is thoughtfully constructed and finished.
During last 6-7 years I produced dresses, trousers, jeans, blouses, shirts and t-shirts for my spouse; t-shirts, jeans, tuxedo jacket and Halloween costumes for my boys; 1 shirt and trousers for myself. Every project was exciting, challenging and in part frustrating, but every one of them brought wonderful satisfaction. I believe, if I physically can, I will keep sewing!