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October 31, 2006

Sew what?!?

Oh, yes, my friends, the Grumperina has been sewing.

We've all witnessed my uphill battles with sewing, my terrible luck finding an appropriate sewing class or teacher. No more!

Towards the end of July, the Sewing Goddess finally took pity and led me straight into the hands of a Professional. A Professional with a capital "P." In my crazy perverted brain I had this vision of the perfect sewing teacher - an 80-year-old firecracker, preferably Austrian or German, who'd press her ruler against my lower back so I wouldn't hunch over the sewing machine. My teacher isn't anywhere close to 80, but when she gently used her hands to straighten out my back and shoulders the first time I sat behind the sewing machine, I knew I had found the right person.

Since then I've been going to sewing class once a week, and although the commute is longer than the class itself, it is completely and totally worth it. The time I'm devoting to sewing is one of the reasons this blog hasn't been getting as much action as it once did.

But, oh, I've learned so much - patterns, tracing, adjusting, pinning, cutting, sewing, tools, pressing, interfacings... all in meticulous detail. Me-ti-cu-lous. Nothing is a shortcut, nothing is half-assed. My heart pitter patters, my mind screams, "Yes!", my sewing confidence is boosted after every class.

My first project is complete, and I'm thrilled with the results. It is Burda 8213, previously mentioned here. I used a Robert Kaufman 100% cotton (AJS-4143). This is an 8-gored skirt with an invisible side zipper, about 22.5" long. Major modifications to the pattern include: shortening the length by about 5", adding a little width (the base was size 14), using a facing rather than a waistband, and a rolled hem rather than a folded one.

I'm as proud and willing to show you the inside finishing of this skirt as I would be showing you the insides of any of my handknits.

Floating, knotless stitches secure the facing to the inside of the skirt.

Some may point out that I finished this project terribly out of season (I can't believe tomorrow is already November). Others may remind me that the Sew? I knit! girls finished their skirts on March 20th. Eh, what can I say?!? I need to do things at my own speed, in my own way, on my own terms. Sew what?!? I'm making an apron next, and I'm at least 3 months behind that knitalong!

Posted by Kathy on October 31, 2006 12:44 PM


Beautiful job!

Did you get a serger for the nice finishing edges? Your skirt looks great. Can't wait to see the other finished sewing projects.

Very pretty and flattering. *must not buy sewing machine. must not buy sewing machine*

Congratulations! Cute too. I wondered what happened with your sewing. Glad to see you are making progess.

Beautiful And--although I would expect no less of you--beautifully finished. You have clearly internalized the immortal lesson of Amelia Bedelia: "If a thing is worth doing, it's worth doing well!"

I wish I lived near you so I could go to the same teacher!

Wow! The skirt looks phenomenal! Great job.

Nice skirt, it almost makes me want to start back on my skirt. I started a simple linen blend skirt for Sew?I Knit and still have yet to finish.

Thanks for sharing.

Congratulations! The skirt looks wonderful. I envy you. I have envied your knitting skills, now I envy your sewing skills.

VERY professional, haute couture details!
How did you make the floating, knotless stitches to secure the facing to the inside of the skirt??? I'm very interested because all my facings float betweewn the skirt and my hips!

Congratulations you did an awesome job on your 1st sewing project. Now you need a little jacket. Welcome to another addictive hobby.

Outstanding job! I am glad you found a teacher to suit you. Sewing is a very peaceful hobby. I enjoy it as much as knitting, but knitting gets more action because I can do it and watch tv at the same time!

Look at you! That is so excellent! Where'd you take your classes, if I may ask?

What a beautiful skirt, and what a wonderful teacher you have! It's so great that you found a teacher who can fit your learning style to a "T"! Good job!(I am almost tempted to pull out my sewing machine during my November break from school!

Very impressive craftsmanship! I must say, I was wondering where you'd gone -- I thought perhaps you'd gotten yourself tangled up in the Mountainash shawl and couldn't get up!

Awesome job! You have to tell me how you finished the edges on the seams. Did you use a serger?

!! I like the sound of this Sewing Professional. Where did you find her? I'll be moving to Boston in February and would love to take such a class. I like meticulous. (Your skirt is gorgeous!)

Love it. LOVE IT! I thought I knew how to sew (how to, not the skill) but your techniques are so beyond what I knew....I too wish I could take this class with you.

I've had very limited intrxns with Astrid (that's your teacher, right?), but it looks like she is a great teacher! You have done well with her.

Sewing is so very far down on my "to learn" list, but it still beckons.

Congrats on your skirt!! Looks Awesome inside and out!!! i like the fabric too! i completely understand your way to need to learn i am the same i tried a sewing class and was very disappointed and learned hardly anything. Happy to hear u found what you wanted!!

Lovely! Won't it be fun to tell people, when they ask where you got your skirt, that you made it!

Congratulations! That skirt looks amazing! I am happy for you! I do enjoy sewing very much myself!

How you approached sewing--wanting to fully understand it correctly, finding a teacher who complimented your style of learning, and simply persevering--is very inspiring. Thanks.

Congratulations!! Now I'm going to move from being envious of your knitterly and scientific talents, to being envious of your general creative brilliance :)
I wish I was as much of a perfectionist as you are (and that I owned an overlocker :)

Absolute! Beautiful! Wish I had a good sewing teacher...

Well done.

Now you can coordinate your sewing and knitting projects! And you can sew your steeks!

Completed in true Grumperina style. Well done!

congrats!! it looks beautiful (both inside and out)

does this mean we'll get to see more sewing projects from you?

Oh wow, that is such a great skirt. Brava!

Lovely work!

Be proud, be very, very proud. You could even wear it inside out, it's so well done!

WoooHoo! Congratulations! In my sewing class I'm making a dress, but its far from done.

Hooray! A seamstress is born. I am so glad that you are learning the no short-cuts way. There really aren't many in dress-making, but you really need to know how it really works to try any of them. The skirt is excellent.

Oh, and I finished the cutest sundress just in time for cold weather. I haven't had a single chance to wear it, even in August. Next summer....

It is super awesome. Glad you found the class for you!

Oh my. Gorgeous - inside and out. Can I come to sewing class with you? I really want that kind of instruction. I just sort of wing it when I get around to sewing. Bravo. The wait was definitely worth it.

Wow!! Congratulations!

Congratulations! I am seriously thinking of getting a sewing machine too. My mom warned me not to get anything too fancy or with too many functions, the best is a mechanical one. I think that's a bit too extreme ... but I understand the rationale behind her warning. :)

Beautiful! Just the type of skirt I need... I have a similiar pattern floating around (or I did, 10 years ago when it would have fit me). I might have to get that one!
More details on the finer points of your sewing! Close ups! Secrets! And does your teacher know anyone in Ontario?

It looks great, I love Burda patterns so much I even started a yahoo group called Burdaenglish to talk about them. Good choice and nice job!!!!

Oooh, you look good! The inside is fantastic, too. Congrats on finally finding a sewing teacher that works for you.

Aw, I'm envious of you! I've sewn for 20+ years, and while I'm fairly comfortable and confident, I'm almost entirely self-taught. This means that my garments look fabulous on the outside, but don't peek at the inside seams. I would *love* to take a class on professional finishing techniques.

Your skirt looks great! :)

great work!! your attention to detail is impeccable. i am very impressed!! be warn... your fabric stash will grow!

Looks like an overcast edge stitch, if it's not serged...thought you bought a "discount store" machine? Wow...if it has that stitch, I'm on my way to the discount store!
I'm so glad you found a teacher and that your gaining confidence in sewing...it's a delightful skill to have.

Awesome job!

That's a great-looking skirt. Could we see pictures of the rolled hem, too? Pretty please?

Great skirt! I love it that you're sewing now!

Well done on finding a sewing teacher who is perfect for you, your skirt is fabulous. Now you just need to make a autumn/winter weight one.

Super cute!

Beautiful job! I'm so glad you found the right teacher; you sound so confident now with the sewing! ;-)

Oh that's lovely! Great job! I'm glad more is jumping into the sewing bandwagon.

Good on you. Burda for you first try!? That's sort of doing a sock for your first knitting project -- but somehow, I didn't expect you to take the easy road either. Now you'll want to start dipping into Threads mag too. (they have some foo foo stuff, but each issue has at least one solid detail/finishing/technique article too.

Awww - I'm absolutely impressed by your skirt, it looks *amazing*! Fantastic job!

So THAT's what you've been up to! Nice work. I good teacher can be a great help.

nice work... really. congratulations.

by the way, where did you find this sewing goddess?

gorgeous work! the fit and finishing look impeccable. congratulations on finding a teacher that works for you!!

thanks for showing us that. the advent of a grandchild due in early april prompted me to get a sewing machine. i haven't sewn in 25 years, but i will...i will...

Kathy, your skirt looks great! It looks beautiful on you and the details are impeccable. Thanks for sharing -- looking forward to more sewing posts.

I'm very impressed. I once, no twice, learned how to sew and I still don't think I could do anything like that. I'll stick to making curtains and mending things.

Fabulous! Great pattern, great fabric, and wonderful sewing. I would expect no less than perfection!

Lovely! It's similar in style to the skirt I made myself a month or two ago, which I love. It's a very flattering style.

I'm so glad you've found a sewing teacher - it's really fun to be able to making things for yourself (or your kids, as I mainly do) and have them be unique and tailored to your size, tastes, and style. I'm looking forward to seeing what you make in the future.

Good for you! The skirt looks wonderful. I know all to well, your battles with sewing, as I'm going through the same thing. One day, I will have a complete skirt that I can show off too. In the meanwhile, I can always show off my yarn.


How did you find your Sewing Professional, if I may ask? They are few and far between.
The results of finding the right SP are evident.
Great work! Absolutely stunning. I'm wildly impressed.

Lovely! So glad to hear you found a good teacher. Are you commuting out to Newton for the class? Or perhaps somewhere out on the Blue Line? :)

Fabulous!! Throw on some tights & some boots and no one will notice it's out of season. It looks great!!

Your skirt looks great! Congratulations ;) Finding a good sewing teacher is a great find.

I'm so glad you found a good teacher to inspire you! Those seams look awesome!

Fabulous! You're getting to be a pro.

Your skirt looks beautiful. Inside and out.
Kathy, when I took Bobbin Lace lessons, the teacher did crack me with the ruler for hunching over my pillow. She also slapped my legs, because they were crossed. Ouch! But she was a fantastic teacher.

Go you! It looks fantastic!!

Beautiful job!

what will the grumperina think of next! lovely job!

It's lovely and is beautifully finished - even better! It looks great on you and maybe it's your Christmas Skirt (or whatever holiday you happen to celebrate). Great work.

oh how pretty! totally matches your blog.

Love the skirt, it is really flattering and well-made.

Next stop, Project Runway!

please tell me the BCAE sewing class was good...I just signed up for the class starting on Saturday!

I have done quite a lot of sewing but I not much of my creations looked nearly as good as your skirt. Congratulations!

The skirt is so lovely and the inside details look like that of a pro! Kudos to you for an awesome job! It looks really great on too! I know you must be happy! (love the new scarf you are making as well)

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