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  • Cherrie Ann


Over the years I’ve learnt that I don’t always appreciate off the rack, ready to wear fashion. Finding styles I love, in the colours I love and in material that is flattering to my curves is somewhat challenging.

For example, the latest trend of the mustard, muted colour palette is so unappealing to me.

When I do find something that catches my eye, my second challenge is the correct fit. I often find that tops and bodices are too short for my torso or that I have to size dresses up to fit across my hips but then they are too big and gape across my chest.

My body isn’t one size fits all, nor is my style and that’s more than okay. It simply means that if I want my clothes to feel comfortable and to fit properly I have to have them made to measure or tailored, which is pricey.

Another issue I have with store-bought clothes is despite the price tag, the quality of the material and workmanship isn’t always up to par. It can be pretty disappointing to bring home a $200 dress and notice the hem all askew, buttons falling off or straps are sewn on backwards.

We all know most clothing brands outsource their manufacturing overseas to poorer countries such as Bangladesh, India, China, Vietnam, Ethiopia, Indonesia, Sri Lanka and the Philippines because labour is cheaper.

As I tried on dresses I'd notice the Made in Bangladesh label and found myself thinking about the women who worked in the sweatshops, wondering if the company's claims of being ethical were as true as they made out.

I always say I silent Thank you to the woman who’s hands put my garment together.

All these issues made me wish I could sew my own dresses.

I started inspecting garments on the hangers thinking “I could make that.” and instead of window shopping, I began wandering around Spotlight, running my hands over different fabrics, imagining a new skirt or new dress.

My eyes began to open to the possibilities and before long I was buying metres of material with no idea how to sew.

In July 2017 I purchased my first sewing machine from Janome after watching GRETCHEN HIRSHE recommend the Elna Explore 340, which is supposed to be ideal for beginners.

ELNA comes with some great features, including the drop-in bobbin which makes threading my machine super easy.

A few days later I was celebrating sewing my first straight line since I had taken Home-Ec in high school.

A couple of my favourite aspects about sewing is that I didn't need a lot of skill to get started on projects.

With very little know-how I was able to make my own ironing board cover, plastic bag holder (lol), cover my office chair and make a skirt.

I also learnt that pretty plastic head pins probably aren't that ideal and later purchased glass head pins. 😂

It's so rewarding that something creative has a practical purpose, even when most of the work is tracing and cutting out along lines, I don't feel that I'm wasting my time on something willy-nilly.

(NB - I wouldn't recommend heavy metal murder scissors for cutting fabric.)

Inspired by MIMI G's STYLE, I diligently fumbled my way through a couple of her YouTube tutorials however none of my completed projects were up to a standard that I was truly comfortable wearing out in public.

After my dismal attempt at the DIY FLAMINGO OGEN CAMISOLE & WRAP SKIRT USING SIMPLICITY 8606 I had such a disappointing outcome that I packed everything away for months until I recently needed to hem a collection of new winter pants.

As I blundered my way through the hemming, I knew the only way to improve was to start with the best foundations so I started looking for Beginner Sewing Classes however the lessons are held at inconvenient times that I'm not willing to commit to each week and I didn't see the value of learning how to make a dress at $60 an hour if I still couldn't sew a consistent straight line.

I don't really recall how I came across Mimi's social profile but I suddenly recalled that she had her own online sewing school so I signed up for the free month trial with SEW IT ACADEMY.

Now I've committed to the Womenswear course and I'm so pleased with my new results and the community support and I was pleased as punch when Mimi G liked my first project! 😍

Course #1.1 - Sunglasses Case W/Lining

In less than one course which I started and completed in a couple of hours, I've seen a huge difference in my actual sewing. Now my seams are consistently straighter because I'm looking at the right spot ... and I'm one step closer to making my wedding dress.

If you're wishing you could sew, make patterns, drape, fit, sketch and much more for women, men or kids then sign up for SEW IT ACADEMY which offers Step by Step Courses - Each course is designed to be concise and easy to follow and they're a bargain at $15 a month.

I'm really looking forward to sharing each project so watch this space.

Learn to sew - Sew It Academy

Sewing machine - Spotlight

All fabric - Spotlight

Simplicity pattern 8606 - Spotlight

Sunglasses - Ebay

QUESTION - What's hobby have you been putting to the wayside?