When I first started sewing, the whole process seemed so overwhelming. There’s patterns for a million different styles; all of which need to be altered (or sometimes almost entirely redrafted) based on your body type. Then, on top of just the planning, you will make what seems like enough mistakes for an entire lifetime. On one garment. So the most important part of sewing, arguably, is taking everything one step at a time. That’s why I’m going to take you through the making of a garment from start to finish, like a proper grandmother would.
The first step in the process is deciding what you need, which can be surprisingly difficult. I didn’t realize at the beginning of my sewing journey that my personal style had been so affected by what I thought I should be wearing. I wasn’t the only one who had a say in what looked good on me—the garment industry as a whole had a say, and I was therefore subject to a string of poor decisions like wearing bold colors and prints that, quite frankly, I have never been into. Sewing, then, came at a very apt time for me. This planning step is probably my favorite part of the entire process, and I would guess that it is for many another seamstress, too. The most beautiful thing is that I can rock an entirely monochromatic wardrobe in the spring, and it won’t alter what another tailoress enjoys wearing. All of this is to say that it took a lot of time and thought to get to a point where I knew what I needed to make, but now all I have to do is look in my closet.
I recently parted ways with a large portion of my wardrobe—I wasn’t wearing those clothes enough to warrant taking up the space they necessitated. It’s not that I didn’t like the clothes when I made them, but my style has changed so much over the last year and I want my wardrobe to be aggressively curated. So, with very few clothes on my garment rack, and a sketchbook with more ideas than I could possibly sew this year, I’m slowly starting the process of building my wardrobe back up. What is necessary, then? Well, I need jeans, more t-shirts, some nicer shirts, at least one new dress, a coat, a sweater and, uh, undies. Don’t worry, I won’t take anyone through the process of sewing my more mundane pieces, but that is just a part of an entirely handmade life. Not every part of it is exciting and avant-garde. Very little of it looks like Project Runway. It is a thrill to me nonetheless.
Elizabeth Hyer is a barista by day and an avid fan of eating Cookout and watching Netflix by herself by night. In addition to this, she makes all her own clothes and seeks to inspire people to live consciously in regards to the clothing they buy. You can further follow her adventures on Instagram, as well as her blog at Hyer Handmade Design.