Some sewing happened in 2013

I feel like it’s really late for a year-end review. It’s not even the full list, just a partial selection of sewing projects by the pattern co. oliver+s, designed by Liesl Gibson. Every time I use an oliver+s pattern, I learn something new: a sewing technique, a better way to do things, elements of style and functional design–all things that make me a better sewist (sewer, seamstress, home-sewing enthusiast??). It’s one thing to churn out handmade clothing, but to thoughtfully grasp the meaning behind the process–this is what I am striving for.

I’ve always thought the term “self-taught” was a complete misnomer. It discounts the significance of teachers in all forms: bloggers who write/photograph online tutorials, authors of how-to books, pattern designers, mentors, and the list goes on. As a former teacher, I used to spend hours creating lesson plans to teach students computer software skills that they could pick up rather quickly on their own. My goal was to put together a framework for those skills to be used in a meaningful way–that there is a purpose behind everything. That way, new skills can build upon previously learned skills, opening up possibilities for incredible and original work.

I think a better term would be “self-learned” or even more specific, “self-motivated learner”. It somehow implies that the learning never stops. Even though my basic sewing skills were learned in my home ec. class over 20 years ago, I have learned from countless sewing blogs, YouTube videos, online courses, books, patterns and my mom. This blog helps me document what I’ve learned and also, to give back to the sewing community, from which I have gained so much. (Although, most of my sewing is virtual and only happens in my mind as I scroll through Pinterest…)

For me, improving as a sewist and learning new skills means that I can take my own designs and actually create them into wearable garments. I find this incredibly exciting! On January 13th, I will be sharing my original designs on the Project Run & Play website. I am still amazed at this opportunity. I have gained so much confidence from my continual effort to keep on sewing new things. Receiving positive feedback from this blog is immensely rewarding and gives me that extra “oomph” of motivation.

A couple of my Project Run & Play designs were inspired by the designs of oliver+s. They have my style stamped on them, but were only made possible by the skills I have learned in the past year, from using the patterns. Thank you so very much, Liesl!

For all the sewing tutorial writers out there, keep doing what you do. Chances are, I’ve been to your blog, but haven’t left a comment thanking you for your time and effort. 2014 will be a new year for me to try my best to leave thank-you notes, in the form of warm fuzzy comments. If a retroactive thank you counts, a HUGE “thank you!” for teaching me on my journey to learning new things!

5 responses to “Some sewing happened in 2013

  1. Well said. I’ve never liked the “self taught” tag either. I’ve never taken a class or had a face to face teacher but I think I’ve learned almost everything from Oliver + S and other sewer’s blogs and only a tiny bit from my own trial and error. My stuff ups, however, are entirely self-taught!
    oh and your Music Class outfit and School Photo dress were some of the real highlights of the 2013 Oliver + S pool for me!

    • Haha, I am totally with you about the mistakes–I take full ownership of all the silly things I have ever done while attempting to sew. Your oliver+s round-up collages are truly incredible! So much goodness in the things that you make.

  2. Christina

    My 9yo and I just fired up her first sewing machine this weekend. We will be ‘self – motivated/taught’ learners together 🙂 good to know there is Lot of support and help in the sewing community!

    • How exciting Christina! I can’t wait until I get my daughter a sewing machine. Right now she is going nuts for the rainbow loom and it’s so great to see a passion for creating at a young age!

  3. Pingback: 2013 flickr mosaics | Blog | Oliver + S

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