Flashback Series: My earliest sewing efforts

For my husband's and my tenth anniversary last month, I made him a picture album of our first ten years together, and in the process, I ended up organizing and cleaning up my picture files.  I have a folder specifically for "Crafts," and I found it fascinating and kind of funny to look back and see some of my highest (and lowest!) moments in sewing.  I decided to start a Flashback Series of some of my favorite sewing projects.  I made lists of my favorite clothes for myself, favorite clothes for my kids, other favorite sewing projects, favorite purses, and favorite custom orders.  But first, I thought I'd show off some of my very first sewing projects!

All of these projects are since I've been married.  I don't have any pictures of any earlier projects. I learned how to sew from my mother when I was young, perhaps about 10?  I remember sewing various small projects. I sewed a quiet book for my niece with my mom's help.  I sewed a bonnet for a church pioneer activity.  I sewed a stuffed mole for Mole Day in chemistry class (I still have that mole--I also sewed him a blue coat and named him NaMoleon). I didn't really start sewing with a passion until after the birth of my oldest daughter.  More than a year before that, I asked for a sewing machine for my birthday, and my mother-in-law (a skilled seamstress) was happy to buy one for me.  It's pictured above, a Simplicity Denim Star (never heard of Simplicity machines? Don't worry, it's a pretty obscure brand!).  I was so happy, I drafted a quick pattern for a dress and made the little purple dress above! My husband thought it was hilarious, especially with the little pocket.  I'm not sure if I had a practical use for it in mind or if it was just for fun! It might have fit a doll, but definitely not a baby because of the proportions.  We lived in a 650 sq ft apartment, and I kept the machine on the desk in my room.

One of my next projects was this scripture holder for myself.  I had no clue about interfacing, but I did include some quilt batting.  This didn't hold up well because it really didn't have too much structure.  But it's my first example of bag-making! Once again, a self-drafted pattern.  It took me awhile to try actual patterns.

After we had our first baby and graduated (baby was born finals week!), we moved to the East Coast. It was a shock transitioning from being a full-time student and part-time employee to being a stay-at-home mom with a pretty demanding baby.  I became anxious and depressed, and I started looking for new hobbies.  I pulled out the machine, and tried out some patterns my mother-in-law and sister-in-law had bought for me. With many phone calls to my mom and mother-in-law, I made two pairs of pajamas and a dress for my daughter.

I started reading a lot of blogs and finding cute little projects to sew.  Some were less successful than others!

Some were super cute. This barn made a great gift. I bought animals for the inside and gave it to my nephew.

I decided to make some quiet books for my daughter, and later on made one for my nephew as well.  These involved a lot of hand-sewing.  They were adorable, unfortunately they didn't do well with rough handling, so I put them in the closet and occasionally I come across them and wonder what to do with them!  

Next, I went through a quilt phase.  I wanted to start off small, so I made several wall hangings for our apartment.  The brown ones (I made 2) were modeled after our couch pillows, the green ones were inspired by something but I can't remember what, and the other one was my attempt at a watercolor quilt.  I ordered quilt squares from Ebay, cut them in fourths, and arranged the squares on the floor in many configurations before I settled on the final result.  I still love this one so much!

I made some fat quarter purses one Christmas for several women in my family.  I was so proud of these! Now I think they are a little awkward looking, but this was great experience for me in purse-making.

I made my first of what became many color books.  This one is still on our book shelf and we use it for each of our kids as babies.

Next, you can see a selection of how varied my sewing interests became: A double wedding ring quilt hanging, a diaper bag, a Christmas table runner, cloth diapers, upcycled clothing for my kids, and cycling clothes for my husband.  I made many more things not pictured.

And finally, here are some of my first quilts that were larger than wall hangings. I made these two for my daughter and nephew.  As you can see, I came a long way from my initial sewing efforts to when these quilts were made! I made them a little less than two years after I began my sewing hobby.  I've made many more beautiful (and ometimes not-so-beautiful) things over the years, and absolutely love the joy and fulfillment I get from sewing for myself and my family and my business. 

Next week I will share my ten favorite items of clothing that I've made for myself!