I’d love to receive questions from readers about any of the posts on this blog or other subjects I might be able to cover. You can always pose questions in the comments section of each post, or send me an email at urbandomesticity[at]gmail[dot]com.
Here are a couple questions I’ve been asked by friends and acquaintances recently.
Where did you learn to sew and how can I get started?
Sewing is a great skill to have. It allows you to mend clothing and make custom items for your home like slipcovers and curtains that you would otherwise have to pay top dollar for. Sewing also allows you to re-purpose and recycle old fabric, such as linen towels, to make something new, such as pillows. I think the best way to start is to find someone with a sewing machine who can show you how to use it. Once you can operate one machine, you can probably figure out how to operate another.
If you don’t know anyone with a sewing machine, look into local classes. Oftentimes fabric stores offer workshops and this could be a great way to start. Then, invest in a machine of your own and start with small projects like simple pillows. I’ve learned so much through trial and error, and by simply referring to my machine’s manual.
I first learned to sew with a sewing machine in sewing class in 6th grade. They rotated us through various home-ec classes, and I think sewing was the best one. I learned how to thread the machine, properly iron the fabric, and make basic things like pillows, draft stoppers, and drawstring bags. I remember that the teacher was very strict and cranky, but man did she know how to sew!
After that, I primarily taught myself using my mom’s clunky Kenmore sewing machine from the 1970s. For awhile, I made lots of stuffed animals and other toys for our dogs. (Yes, I was crazy for dogs back then too.) Eventually, I started to make little purses and wallets. I made pillows for gifts and even made Halloween costumes for friends a couple times.
My sewing pursuits then took a long hiatus in college and re-emerged when it was time to set up my own home after graduation. I began to take on more complicated sewing projects and eventually made two custom slip covers (zippers and all) for a sofa my husband and I used for years. Needless to say, sewing slipcovers is very time intensive and not easy and taught me a ton about how to sew. Interestingly, I haven’t ventured into the world of clothing-making, although I do have a book about making clothing and some patterns I hope to try sometime.
Are you a neat freak?
In short, yes. I probably am! I’m very sensitive to my physical surroundings and the overall balance and composition of spaces. This is partly why I was a visual arts major in college and still enjoy painting: it allows me to fuss and fidget with color and surface and light.
So, I am very particular about my home and I do tend to keep things neat and organized. This requires regular purging of un-wanted things in the home such as junk mail and other stuff that piles up. I also clean and dust once a week. I’ll post about this topic more sometime.
That said, I don’t mind the lived-in look. As long as the house is fairly clean and not too crowded with stuff, it doesn’t bother me too much (kinda depends on my mood) when day-to-day life shows itself in my surroundings. I actually took a few pictures to show you what I mean. This is how our place often looks during the week:
How about you? Where did you learn to sew/cook/other hobby? Are you neat and tidy?
Feel free to leave questions I could cover in a future post in the comment section below, or send me an email at urbandomesticity[at]gmail[dot]com.