Next Stop, Project Runway

Hey, friends! Can you believe it’s almost August? As summers typically do, this one seems to have slipped into some mysterious black hole. But even more importantly (at least for the purposes of this blog), can you believe it’s time for one of the best shows on TV—Project Runway— to enter its NINTH season? I’ve been watching it for all eight previous seasons, and I’m certainly watching it tonight.

hot mess tranny fierce

Can I confess that I’ve always secretly wanted to be on Project Runway? I mean, who wouldn’t want to take shopping trips to Mood with Tim Gunn? Or be insulted by Michael Kors himself (a la, “I’m sorry, but it looks like a purple fern with angel wings”)? Heck, I’d even be fine getting the “You’re out” from Heidi. But one thing holding me up from this far-out little fantasy is the fact that I can’t sew.

But that’s all going to change, and I hope you all can help me with this. A few weeks ago, I ordered this:

1-2-3 Sew by Ellen Luckett Baker is a charming little book with charming little patterns, all intended to build upon each other. The projects start out as simply as possible, and the goal is for the beginning seamster/seamstress to learn small skills along the way. The sewing tasks get a little more complicated the further you work your way through the book, maximizing what Baker has called a “building-block approach to sewing.” The projects are organized in groups of three:

And thankfully, every project is supplemented with lots and lots of helpful photographs and diagrams:

So, it’s with fear and trepidation (and an incredibly sketchy sewing machine that I bought from what may just have been a female drug-dealer in Hendersonville, TN) that I start this teach-myself-to-sew journey. I already finished the first project—a tea towel with basic folded corners—using my sister’s sewing machine and some Mary Engelbriet fabric my mom found at her thrift store.

It’s crooked, it has errors, and it’s definitely longer on one side than the other. But you know what? It’s a tea towel; and I will probably accidentally set it on fire anyway. And amazingly, I didn’t puncture my finger ONCE while turning the corners.

So, friends—I know several of you are masters with your sewing machines, so what helped you get started? Did someone teach you, or are you self-trained? What recommendations would you give to a greenhorn seamstress? Any resources you think I ought to check out? I’m determined to become proficient at this one, ladies and gentlemen!!!

Also, what are your first impressions of this new season of PR? After watching this first challenge tonight (pajamas + your bedsheet = high fashion), I’m not sure I’ll ever have a stable enough blood pressure for this show.




6 responses to “Next Stop, Project Runway

  1. Make things you like and are excited about so you look forward to your projects. Making things as gifts is usually insuring as well because it gives you a deadline and extra motivation. I learned the basics from my mom, but otherwise I have learned on my own, on a project-by-project basis, like you. Just add one new skill with each project and you’ll be on reality TV in no time!

    • This is great advice, Reb! My mom definitely helped me out with this first project too, but now I am back in Arkansas and have to go it alone. But I think I’m going to go get some fabric tomorrow for project numero dos (napkins!), so—one step at a time. 😀

  2. Inspiring

  3. Yay! For everything here…Project Runway and learning to sew.

  4. I learned from my mom…I think learning your machine is important and then learning how to read a pattern. If you read the book and study the pattern, you should be able to understand that. Thinking about where the seams are going to need to be before sewing is helpful (lots of right sides together) and backstiching at the beginning and end are important. Also, when you are making a turn on the machine, you want to keep your needle down into the fabric and just lift the presser foot and move the fabric. I think tension and thread size and sewing straight are trial and error types of things. It takes time so start simple! I can’t wait to see what you make.

  5. I like Bert the old guy best!

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