Thursday, April 10, 2008

Technically lacking

The internet has made me marvel at the technical skills of others. There are so many creative beings out there in cyberland - their diy know-how translates into so many beautiful pieces. They leave me feeling impressed, inspired, and utterly incapable.

One such diy mastermind is Ivy Frozen, who refashions vintage pieces and sews her own clothes. One of my favorite of her feats has to be the sassy swing dress she made out of a longer skirt:

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She made it sound so easy - nothing but ribbons, buttons and thread. Pssh, I can barely turn meat, cheese and bread into a sandwich.

Strawberry Kitten is another crafty lady - she makes her own clothes and alters old ones as well. I have no idea what this blouse looked like before she put it under the knife, but the finished product is bloody perfect on her:

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I am pea-green with envy. I love the idea of diy-ing my nights away, but I am lacking in the knowledge department. I have a sewing machine that I adore, but I am easily discouraged by more complicated projects. I basically taught myself how to sew and am pretty confident in my rookie skills - I can read and follow a (simple) pattern, I can hem, sew buttons and repair torn garments. Still, I can't help but wish that I had a stronger arsenal of tricks - these girls are like fairy godmothers - they take a few rags and turn them into beautiful things without the messiness of traveling inside a glorified pumpkin.

I have a few diy ideas up my sleeve, but I always seem to need a burst of creative energy to conquer them - something hard to muster with a rigorous class and work schedule. Plus, I inevitably mess up several of the things I try. I have a sewing guide book that contains plenty of step-by-step tutorials and tips, but I sense it will be hard to improve without direction or guidance. Or, at the very least, practice - which will certainly lead to piles of unusable jagged, lumpy garments who perished at the hands of my mediocre sewing skills.

Do you sew? How did you learn? By practice or instruction? Do you have a bone you're willing to throw? How about a tip, or an inspirational quote? Any sources that could be of help?

15 comments:

miss kiwi said...

My tips are try, try again, and try again! buy a seam ripper because everyone needs it! I must've redone the seams for the prom dress I made 3 or 4 times. I was surprised my fabric didn't rip through! Also, start from a simple pattern with minimal darts. Other than that, just go for it! Good luck!

Isabel said...

My mom is a professional seamstress, and let's just say her genetic sewing skillz haven't quite been handed down to me. I'm not bad at sewing, I just get frustrated by difficult projects that are beyond my skill level. We're pretty much in the exact same boat here.

young said...

i wish i was crafty as well! sometimes i find really nice things in second hand stores that are a bit too big and i think "well, i could just alter it a bit!", but i never get around to it because i never know where to start.
i saw the link to your blog in wardrobe_remix :) hi!

Nadine said...

Thank you very much for mentioning me. I learned sewing on my own. It's really all about pratice and not giving up!

Sanna said...

I used to sew all my clothes but then the life happened and I didn't have enough time for my diy-projects. Now that I'm all settled (well, more or less) I'm eager to give handicraft another go. Nowadays I'm much more demanding when it comes to the quality of my work, so I'm not that pleased with my sewing skills. Currently I'm planning to take an evening course at the local adult institute in order to improve my sewing skills. Anyways, good luck with your diy-projects. Remember to keep us posted!

Pamela said...

I do textiles at college so i've only recently learnt how to sew properly. I made a dress from scratch for my coursework which i'm blooming proud of. i'm sure you could do it, if i can you most definitely will be able to! I'm not the most creative person and i get by. If you do try it good luck! i warn you it can get very frustrating!

Pretty Pirate said...

I have been sewing since i was a little lady, i started hand sewing and graduated a few years ago to a nice machine. There were a few hot glue incidents in between. But If i can offer one tip for altering things that are too big, it would be to turn things inside out and pin the sides while you are pulling them out as your wear it. that way it will be ready to sew it when you take it off. Start by thrfting something that is too big, not very expensive but fun. after you get more confident you can come up with some cool ideas about making things into different garments all together. Some of my best designs have been lucky mistakes. Good luck! And if you ever have any questions I would love to help. my blog has some things I have made on there. If you want to check it out.

annabananna said...

I really feel you! When I see the nice things other people came up with, I really envy their skills. So I can't give you any useful advice, just affirmation that I feel the exact same way.

To change things, a friend and I will take sewing lessons soon, so we'll see how that turns out. My grandmother was a tailor and she told me I shouldn't even try to sew, it would just take up time and money. I love her very much, but she's very cynical, you might have noticed ;) I can't wait to proof her wrong...

Sewing or not, have a great day!

Andrea said...

i can hem things, repair buttons, and sometimes make things smaller - but i dont have a sewing machine, so i dont tackle large DIYs! i love Ivy Frozen though, her dresses are so cute and fun!

Wendy said...

I am like you, always gasping and jealous at other people's mad sewing skills.

Elissa said...

I always tell myself I'll learn to sew (better) when I, stirred by (future) impending motherhood, start whipping up all these booties and sweaters and things magically out of nowhere...

JuliAM said...

ooh, that swing dress would look great with some wedges and a little crop vest over it...hmmmm

Jessi said...

I learned the basics in a junior high class and have been "self-taught" since, with MANY unfortunate incidents/lucky mistakes. My advice is, as others have suggested, to practice and be patient. And to not practice on things that are precious or irreplacable. T-shirt redos are fun (get a ball point needle!) and when it comes to patterns, I try to follow the instructions and usually learn a new skill (zippers, pleats, pin tucks, darts, etc.)

Good luck! You can do it, from what I've read of your blog (which I love!) you seem very determined and creative.

Hailey @ stylesymmetry.com said...

both these bloggers have wonderful style. I take sewing classes which help improve my skills I always recommend.

Ivy Frozen said...

Hey! It's me =D

Thanks for the feature and compliments on my work. I taught myself how to sew. I just figure out what I want, research if it's something I haven't done before (internet amazing for that), and then hop to it! The best way to learn is by doing it. I make so many mistakes still, like cutting out two right back pieces instead of a right and a left back piece when working with limited fabric. But live and learn, and I've always been good at working with mistakes.

Good luck with your sewing and be sure to share anything you make =)