The Wayback Machine, Pt. 1

Before Crab&Bee, which was born in February of 2011, I blogged here. It was a quiet little blog, but I was writing there when I started getting serious about making my own clothes. I’m sharing my pre-Crab&Bee creations in a few posts, as well as a bit of my sewing history.

Have I ever told you how I started sewing? Buckle up, the shortest I could get my story was fourish paragraphs! Right out of college, I worked as an in-house graphic designer for a few years. I loved my coworkers and it was a great company, but I was, in retrospect, in the midst of a quarter-life crisis. I’d done everything right from pre-school through college and I had a dream job right out of college before I could appreciate it.
After a few years there, a horrible and strangely wonderful thing happened to me: I got laid off. I felt like I’d been broken up with. I was terrified. But I also felt exhilarated, and my now-ex employer had given me some severance pay. What happened next was miraculous.* My lifelong desire to make my own clothing overwhelmed my financial austerity, and I decided that what I really needed in those uncertain times was a sewing machine. I had my most sewing-savvy friend (who also made my wedding dress) take me shopping and trusted his strong urgings that I buy a Bernina.

*I’m glossing over a lot of scary experiences – not going to the doctor when I smashed my finger in a closet door because I only had catastrophic insurance! – and a lot of great ones – staying up until 3am every night because I could! – for the sake of focusing this post on sewing.

Anyway, the first year with my Bernina involved a lot of thrifted sheets (which I still love for fabric) and a lot of awkward projects. But I kept at it, and by 2010, I started making things I felt like sharing, some of which you may have seen glimpses of during the me-made months or on burdastyle.

Fall 2010 {Butterick 5418}

This is one such project, from the fall 2010. I used Butterick 5418, in spite of the very mixed reviews it got. It was my first experience with knit fabric and a huge struggle. This is the project that brought home the need to look at the finished size measurements; the dress was gigantic, and I scrambled to size it down after I’d finished most of the bodice! Even though I liked it well enough at the time, I can tell the bodice is just too big.

Fall 2010 {Simplicity 2497}

During the entirety of 2010, I was in a HUGE Simplicity Cynthia Rowley phase. I struggled through all those boxy woven tanks, desperately hoping they’d be the floaty, simple garments I dreamed of (they were not). I finally hit my stride with the dresses. I tried this pattern as a possible wedding dress base before realizing that the unstructured bust area was not the bridal look I was seeking. Nonetheless, I liked the pattern enough to make this linen version (from thrifted curtains!) It’s a little difficult to find the right occasion to wear this – it’s low in the front and the ruffles fit strangely under most cardigans – but it’s very cute and I’m keeping it around.

Thanks for taking this trip back in time with me! Do you find any value looking back on your older creations? I’m feeling so much appreciation for my past self who kept on sewing through challenges!


7 thoughts on “The Wayback Machine, Pt. 1

  1. Thanks for sharing your sewing story and your old blog! Wow there are some really great clothes there and I love the two outfits you've put up today. I love to go back to the archives 🙂

  2. I really enjoyed reading this! And It's got me thinking of digging through my own sewing history… i.e. Just 16 months ago at my wedding, my sister's speech poked fun at my amazing ability to make pyjama pants fit only for a clown?

  3. I'm glad you enjoyed it! It was really fun to write and also look back on how I started! And please know that my imagination is running wild about clown pajamas, you may need to share those… 🙂

  4. How cool! I loved hearing this story! I actually hate looking back at my earliest attempts at sewing because they were PATHETIC! 🙂 I never would have kept at it if it wasn't for the encouragement of all you sewing bloggers!

  5. Aw! At least they made you the awesome sewist you are today! Sewing seems like one of those activities where you just have to go through a lot of mistakes to learn.

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