How I Fell Into Sewing
Sewing Was Not My Thing
I wasn't a seamstress by any stretch of the imagination. In fact, when my girls were little I used to send them to their Nan's with missing buttons knowing they would come back with them sewn on.
At college I did do a couple of terms learning fashion and textiles, however I really had no interest in the constructing side of fashion, I was more into the textiles. Learning about fabric types and different ways of dying and manipulating it. To my horror at the end of the year I was asked to make an outfit for the end of year fashion show. To this date I still don't know how I got away with it, but I lovingly dyed and painted my fabric with a rather cool Charlie Chaplin design. I spent hours making sure the fabric was 'just right' and of course, I left zero time to put it all together. So out came the wonder web! I stuck the whole thing together without sewing a stitch, and passed my course. - Happy days!
But I Can't Sew
Fast forward a few years. I received a call from my best friend (we met at college). At the time Clare was just starting out in the world of bridal, making bespoke wedding gowns, and things were growing fast. She needed help. Obviously I quickly pointed out that I couldn't even sew a button back on a shirt. To say I had reservations is somewhat of an understatement. But she convinced me that I could do it if I was shown and that the fact she trusted me was more important than sewing ability. She could allocate me jobs, such as unpicking, beading, steaming and ironing. I agreed to give it a go.
I hate to say it, but she was right. After a few weeks of unpicking and beading I started making simple things like, ties, sashes and modesty panels. Once I got to grips with the sewing machine I was starting to do alterations on wedding dresses. I wouldn't let her tell me how much the gowns were worth until she had passed my work off. The pressure of, in my mind, potentially ruining someone's big day was huge.
In the end I worked with Clare on and off for about six years. The two dresses I made, or at least had a big part of making, I remember the most, are a bright red punk wedding dress and a green period piece for our local vicar to get married in.
I ended up specialising in hand sewing beads and appliqué. This takes hours and hours to do, especially if it's the whole bodice. As well as that I did lots of alterations to dresses that brides has bought elsewhere that didn't quite fit right.
These days I use my skills for repairing, altering and reworking vintage clothing, as well as for pleasure.
It just goes to show that you can teach an old dog new tricks, or at least Clare can 😝
How to repair a hem - video
How to restyle a dress - video
Gadgets I use to repair clothing - video
all also available through the menu at www.strawberryvintage.com