The Life of a Garment: Sewing

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For now, my reality is waiting weeks in between cutting, muslining and making; so while this article may seem overdue, this is an accurate representation of how long the process of garment making is for me. I am a procrastinator in the truest sense of the word, and much to my detriment. In any case, at some point the garment has to go from a pile of cut fabric on my table to an actual wearable piece. Since it’s fairly straightforward, I don’t know how much I can say in regards to that process, but I’ll give my favorite and least favorite parts of bringing out the pins and needles and taking it to the sewing machine.

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1. Starting – Starting is by far my least favorite part of any process in anything, ever. There is something so daunting about starting a task that may very well fail, and many a project will. Every time I sit down to sew something new I have to give myself a mini pep talk, because “I’m learning” and “it’s okay that not everything will be perfect.” I’m not sure I believe any of that yet, but sewing has definitely been helpful in kicking the bad habit of non-starting to the curb.

2. Fitting – This is only sometimes part of the sewing process, but when I am subject to the torture that is fitting I can doubt my commitment to the craft. Don’t think of fitting as always difficult, because it really isn’t. I just don’t like to be stopped from my flow for anything, so I’ve ended up with some pretty ill-fitting pieces. I’ve learned my lesson, and, while I do try on my more tailored pieces while I’m making them now, I don’t like it.

3. Ironing and pressing – I’ve grouped these together because they both utilize the same tool, but they are not the same thing. Fabric needs to be ironed prior to cutting, as the pattern pieces can be distorted if they are cut while wrinkled. Pressing isn’t quite as bad, but it stops the flow. As you know, I do not like being interrupted—even if it’s necessary.

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And for the things that I love about sewing, they are too many to count; they far outweigh what I dislike. I’ll just name a few of the things I love the most.

1. I love FINISHING – The best part of sewing, hands down, is finishing something that works for you. I am lucky in that I typically know exactly what I like, so I don’t usually end up sewing far too many things that don’t fit in my wardrobe. I love wearing a new handmade piece and I have been known to rock them for days on end before I decide to reluctantly change into something else. Don’t worry, I’ll spray something on it so it won’t smell.

2. I love topstitching – I’m not sure why, so don’t ask me about this one, but my love for topstitching cannot be understated. There’s just something about the clean finish it gives, how professional it can make almost any garment look, how meticulous it is; it’s unquestionably one of the more therapeutic parts of sewing for me.

3. Putting in a lining – This is another weird thing that I love. I think the trend is that I enjoy doing things that immediately upgrade the look of my garments. A lining isn’t always present in knit garments (which make up about 80% of my wardrobe), but when I am sewing in wovens, I really enjoy lining my apparel. Anything to keep me from seeing the raw edge in a finished piece, right? Alright, maybe not, but almost.

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There you have, in a nutshell, what the process of sewing is like for me. I don’t always end up with what I planned out in the beginning, and that has been the case over the course of this month, but I almost always end up with something I love.

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.