I'm slowly getting better. Slowly gaining confidence. This is a long learning curve and a slow process.
I tell myself that sometimes it is not about the finished product. While a neatly finished product is always good for the ego, sometimes life is more about the learning. And sometimes (often-times I tend to find!) learning is messy. There's lots of unpicking. Lots of starting over. Lots of learning from your mistakes and then trying not to make the same one again.
I am learning to sew.
I am learning because I need to. Being a slender build, and short as well, I really need to be able to hem a skirt or pants, or tuck in a top. I imagine I will need this skill for Munchkin too, but for the opposite reason. He's tall. Very tall. I will probably be constantly dropping hems for this boy!
I'm learning because I want to. I don't want to be the one who has to tell my children or grandchildren that it was me, my generation, that lost centuries of skills because I was too busy or too lazy to learn. Because I somehow figured it wasn't important any more. Sure, I have a mother-in-law and a mother who are both skilled with a sewing machine. I could always ask them. Sometimes I do. Usually if I think a mending job is well beyond my abilities, or if I am busy (read: studying madly!). But I'm trying these days to rely less on them and more on my own abilities to make do and learn for myself. One day they won't be here to ask. My children will be asking me instead, and I need to be able to do at least some of these things. So instead of asking them to do it for me, I'm trying to ask them HOW to do it. Or ask my pattern-making friend. I'm learning how to choose fabric (really, really important as I used to choose the wrong weight, etc and then hated wearing the clothes because they didn't work the way I thought they would). I'm learning how to do simple mending. And I'm learning to make clothes for myself. My friend is teaching me how to make a basic gathered layer skirt, with a pattern we've created. Suits me really well, I'm discovering, this 'make yourself a pattern' concept as it is really basic and simple sewing, but flexible for my body shape and size.
I do at least have a sewing desk accessible now. It is beside the bed, tucked into the corner of our bedroom. I didn't realise we could even fit it in there, but we can! I've even used it. This is what I did when Munchkin had a sleepover with his grandparents recently:
I changed the straps on a dress (top left - ta-dah!), as it was nearly strangling me (made them straight instead of up round the neck), reattached strap on another dress (bottom right - ziggzag - I am working out that sometimes it doesn't matter how it looks as long as no one will notice and it will hold together! In this case, the big ruffle in the front covers my sewing nicely and there was just no way to get that strap back into the lining so this will do!). I mended a tear in one of Munchkin's tshirts. I shortened straps on another dress as well as cutting a good 30cm off the hem so it is now mid-calf instead of to my shoes (WOW! Even a year ago I would have never attempted that!). And I made a Christmas Stocking for Munchkin, using another one we had as a guide for size and shape. I am feeling quite pleased with myself. Now if only I could manage to stitch in the elastic on the two skirts that are almost finished, and then work on the two that are barely started....hehe.