There is not a power tool that I am afraid to conquer!! Including… a sewing machine? Yes, it is true! Clothing construction is not that different from furniture construction, home construction, or any other type of construction. I am putting together something that everyone needs to use. I know how to measure, layout, cut and join materials. Sewing requires a great deal of technical proficiency and craftsmanship. The question is, why do so many men, even now, in the 21st century, still consider sewing “women’s work?”
Of course, we have all know that a “tailor” is someone who makes or alters men’s clothing, and tailors are traditionally men. A woman who sews professionally is known by the somewhat old-fashioned term “seamstress.” Did you know, however, that a man or a woman who sews can also be known as a “seamster?” That sounds pretty cool, actually! All righty then… I’m going to join the International Brotherhood of SEAMSTERS!
I hadn’t done a whole lot of sewing in my life up until recently. I made a shop apron in home economics class in high school, and stitched some patches on my jacket, and that was about it. Last fall though, my wife (who makes amazing hand-made cat toys) was falling behind on her Christmas orders and couldn’t find a good helper. I decided to jump in and try giving her a hand. A sewing machine is just like a scroll-saw, right?
Well, sort of. Admittedly, I had to tear apart a few of my early attempts and try again, and my wife was pretty patient with my initial ham-handedness. I did eventually get the feel of it, and actually got pretty good! This sewing business turns out to be a lot of fun!
Since getting the sewing bug, I have tried a few of my own projects. I made some caps out of old sweatshirt material, let out a pair of my work pants (I hope to be learning how to take them back in soon), repaired some holes in my favorite jeans jacket and altered a Dickies work shirt (the tails are always way too long for my taste.)
Since shop time on the wife’s high-tech Bernina sewing machine is at a premium, I bought myself a Singer “industrial” machine which is admittedly not on par with the high dollar Swiss machine, but it is okay for a beginner like myself. I also picked up a sweet antique machine at a swap meet for ten bucks that I think I can refurbish pretty easily.
I think I am finally ready to go for a REAL sewing project… that is, constructing a garment from scratch. My wife found a really nice old western-style shirt pattern for me. Somehow I don’t think I’ll look as “groovy” as the dudes on the McCalls pattern, but I’ll do my best! Stay tuned for future “Seamster” projects…