Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Coffee Talk: Learning New Skills

One thing I wish I knew how to do better is sew. A few years back, my husband--knowing this desire of mine and wanting to encourage me in it--bought me a Singer Simple sewing machine. Partly because I was intimidated by it (even simple things like threading the bobbin), it sat in the box for a good year. Then I found a friend from church who sews and was willing to help get me acquainted with my machine. With her help, I sewed an apron out of dinosaur fabric for my oldest kitchen helper, who turned four that year.

Since then, I haven't sewed anything else. But my husband has! He made a set of curtains and a TV cover out of home dec fabric, and he even attached tassels. Now I have a new tutor--him!

Lately, though, my desire to sew is surpassing my intimidation of it. I think it must be a perfectionist tendency to be so reluctant to try something because of the fear of messing up. (I just need to sew myself a
pillowcase --which I know I can do--to build confidence.;))

My motivation also stems from the fact that we are expecting a girl this time around. Not that there aren't fun things to make for boys, there are just so many fun and frilly things to sew for girls--little dresses and tops, skirts, and more. I would really love to be able to sew some handmade items for my daughter to wear.

Making Children's Clothes: 25 Stylish Step-by-step Sewing Projects for 0-5 Years

So, the other day, I was thrilled to find Making Children's Clothes: 25 Stylish Step-by-step Sewing Projects for 0-5 Years in our local Hancock Fabrics. It was even 20% off. The patterns inside were so adorable, and the instructions were so clear, I bought myself a copy.

On Saturday, I stopped in the store again and picked out some fabric to make some simple baby bloomers. I thought that would be a good first project. The fabric is washed and dried; now it just has to be ironed. Then, when I get a few spare minutes, I am excited to sit down and begin!

For today's coffee talk, I'd love to hear if there are any skills you would love to learn. What holds you back from diving in?

A fun excerpt from Your baby: A guide for young mothers by E.B. Lowry, M.D., published in 1915, which I found at our local library book sale several years ago:
Sewing for the Baby:
Most mothers look forward with pleasure to preparing the clothing for the expected baby. They even may spend hours stitching at the machine and more hours sewing on lace. This is all right if the mother does not spend all her leisure in this occupation. However, some mothers neglect the necessary out-of-door exercise in order to have more time to spend in preparation of dainty garments. In this case the entire preparations are for the bodily coverings of the child while at the same time the mother is neglecting to prepare to give him health and a good disposition. The latter only come as the result of proper attention to the hygiene of living,--plenty of sleep, out-of-door exercise, proper diet and freedom from care and worry."


  1. I hadn't baked bread for years... but hubby is between jobs and home made is cheaper! So I started and was thrilled when it actually rose and turned out... now I did a second batch yesterday. Not a "new skill" but an old skill that I hadn't attempted for years (not sure how many! ten?) I have always felt so intimidated (as you say) by people like my Mum and my aunts, who have done these sorts of things for years... they seem like the Proverbs 31 woman and here I am feeling inadequate. So it was nice to accomplish something. Sewing is another "skill" I haven't done for years and years, but I do have a 5 yr old daughter who would probably be thrilled to wear clothes Mummy made. I've always found it hard to sew for myself to get the right fit, but kids clothes and home improvement projects are fun! Just out of the habit... Good luck with your bloomers! Denise in Saskatchewan, Canada

  2. Photography! I dabble in it, but have NEVER taken the time to read a manual or play with the photo editing software beyond saturation and contrast! Would love more time to develop this skill!

    I hope you post pics of your projects, especially if they are not perfect!