Trying Something New

January 10th, 2012

Last year at this time, I decided I wanted to learn how to sew. I started out with a book and an old sewing machine and I made a huge, frustrating mess. I didn't want to give up, so I signed up for a class. I drove my pregnant self out to a small, local fabric shop where the owner was offering beginner sewing lessons. Sitting around a re-purposed kitchen table, 2 other woman and I learned how to thread a machine, how to make a lot of mistakes, some stitches, and came out of it with a simple bag.

Leaving the class, I was ready to do more, so I took a book (Anna Maria Horner's Handmade Beginnings) out from the library and used the patterns to create a pair of baby shoes and then a jacket, which was first modeled by a teddy bear, but made for Annabelle. I definitely gained a whole new respect for clothing makers! I also loved making little touches, (curtains and crib skirt) for the nursery, which make the space feel even more special for me.

This year, I'd love to learn how to make flower headbands for Annabelle. I've been gathering up the supplies and will post pictures here when I give it a go.

Learning something new really stretches and inspires me. I think it's good to learn something new every so often, even if it's not something you'll continue. You never know how trying something new will inspire your main creative outlet(s).

Do you have plans to try something new this year? How will you learn the new skill? What kind of supplies and/or support do you need?

20 Responses

Your baby is so cute! Keep up the good work on sewing, you can make so much fun stuff!I would like to get more serious about painting a picture, I have done very little of pictures but would like to try.

My 11 year old daughter received a sewing machine for Christmas – she already knows soooo much more about using it than I’ve ever managed. I’m looking forward to wonderful creations! I think I might sneak a go on it while she’s at school…

I have been following your blog, and I absolutely love it! I’d love to take sowing again (used to do it when I was younger). Your daughter is gorgeous!

This year, I’ve been learning how to draw! I was never really able to do that but as of lately, I’ve been learning. Also photoraphing and using new perspectives/new ways to take a picture.

Needless to say a photo of Miss Annabelle will always make me smile but I also had to smile reading your thoughts about teaching yourself something new such as sewing. When I retired, it was my first attempt at creative expression in years and it is a great feeling to manipulate a piece of material into something useful or just cute!! My “kids” got me a new sewing machine for Christmas and while it is still in the box, I look forward to my first project on it which will be a simple cover for a “bunkie”. More about that “project” in days to come but congrats on your first sewing efforts as the nursery looks awesome and a small jacket is harder than a big one!!! =)

I loved making clothes for my kids and it was also a financial necessity. My sewing machine has been in the shed for 6 years now and I think about it from time to time but beads and art have taken up its space – and that’s okay! What I want to learn this year is how to make blown glass balls from “pipe glass” – it can be done with a torch. I have located a teacher in Mass. and am planning on a trip once the weather calms down. BTW – what a cutie pie model you have!

Hi Leah,

Love to hear you jumped right in to trying something new. I agree, it’s good to try new things. It makes us develop as individuals and artists.

When majored in Painting at University, but really enjoyed printmaking and sculpture. Then when I taught public school art, I taught everything.

I remember having a bunch of potter’s wheels at one of the high schools I taught. The students in my Studio in Art and Sculpture classes were excited and wanting to know when they’d get to use them. Although I had done a lot of work and taught hand-building techniques, I hadn’t actually thrown a pot before.

I just told my students we’d be throwing pots a little later in the semester, then grabbed a pottery book to figure it out. I practiced a little on both the electric and kick wheels, then taught my students. They had no idea I only just learned how to throw pots myself and thought I’d been doing it for years! For me, just diving in, trying it, and experimenting works best.

Annabelle, I love that name! I’ve always wanted to try bookmaking and knitting hats, but I don’t think I’ll get to that this year. This year, I plan to learn web coding and photo editing software so I can build a better art website. I have a bunch of tutorials, an instruction website with practice pages, a textbook, and a web designer hubby to help me.

Im teaching myself to sew as well and have found the process frustrating yet very satisfying ( on the rare occasion that something turns out as it should…lol). You have a beautiful girl! Can’t wait to see more of your work.

How inspiring. Thank you so much. I too have always wanted to learn how to sew. My mother was an excellent seamstress who made my entire wardrobe(including prom gowns) the entire time I was in high school.

I also love to cook, so this year I am focusing in on kitchen creativity. I’ve started by reading about some of THE most fabulous chefs, cooks and restaurants world-wide and gathering to me the tools of the trade so-to-speak so as to be at the ready when the enthusiasm soars – which is just about every night around dinner.

I’m looking forward to eating well and cooking even better in 2012

Remember my ‘Word for 2012′ was Patience? Well, I really tested my resolve. I decided to teach 18 kids how to sew in 5 days. It is part of project week program we have at my school. It was exhausting but fun. The kids loved it and although 90% of them had never sewn before, they totally made a lot of wonderful things. Please check out some of the results on my blog. Cheers.

Wow, what a cutie-pa-tootie she is! I definitely want to try my hand at encaustics. I already have most of the supplies, as I beeswax some of my pieces. Sewing comes in a close second, as I would love to make my own messenger bags and throw pillows. :)

This is my first ever posting here. I decided I wouldn’t post until I had officially committed to something creative this year. I just got off the phone having booked in for painting lessons at a local art studio!

The last time I painted was in high school. Our teacher used to hold up each student’s work and tell the class what was wrong with it – kinda put me off painting, as you can imagine. It’s time to move past that so come next week, I’ll have a brush in my hand again after a 20+ year absence.

Oh, and love the trees painted on your nursery walls. Just lovely.

I am not necessarily looking to learn something new…but more to expand on what little skills I do have. Sewing is at the top of my list. I can do really really simple things…but the need to make some maternity clothes and see what I can make for the coming baby…yeah…that’s what’s burning my brain at the moment. :)

I love your story…and I love what you’ve done so far. :)

What a great nursery!

Hi, I can’t believe you attempted (and totally succeeded) that jacket! I am 7 mo. preggo and picked up that same book early on. I have been hand stitching the sixth times a charm quilt and will be binding it as my new year’s new skill… Perhaps I will attempt the jacket later this year, for sure the reversible pants OMG! The other sewing book I love is Simple Sewing for Baby, by Lotta Jansdotter.
Great Blog! thank you.

Hi Leah – congratulations on the beautiful baby and on your new journey in discovering sewing. Since sewing and quilting is my area of strength, it is all the other artistic / creative ventures where I need to learn and grow. You continue to be a great inspiration to so many, please keep up the good work! And if you ever need help on any of your sewing projects, just give me a shout out ;o) Have a great Wednesday, Nina @ mamas*little*treasures

Hi Leah – your sewing creations look wonderful. I would like to use a machine too because, as much as I love sewing by hand, a machine offers so many creative and practical possibilities.

I’ve been AWOL for a while on another health induced break but I’m starting to stretch, unfurl and begin to get back into my creative work. This year I’m determined to get back to my novel writing. If I can just get past the fog of the medication (hopefully get rid of the medication for something better – that’s what I’m trying to do but the health system here is proving difficult) I think I may have a chance. I’d like to drag out the dusty novel manuscripts, add some new inspiration and actually submit this year. That’s the plan.

Hope you had fab Christmas & New Year celebrations. I’m sure it was extra special this year with Annabelle.

Kat Xx

When I got my sewing machine, I knew I would never, ever make clothes. But sewing paper to paper fascinated me. Now almost everything I make has a touch of sewing to it.

You have an absolutely AWESOME baby’s room. She’s one lucky little gal!

Sewing! I have been wanting to learn for years, and 2012 is the year!

My son is nearly 4.5 and so now there are lots of new possibilities that we can create together, I am so excited to have found your blog.

Oh it’s so easy to be artistic when you’re constantly surrounded with such darling inspiration ~ speaking of your adorable daughter of course! Lovely, lovey room too!

Personally I would love to do a large Damask stencil on my entry way ceiling in a fabulous chartreuse this spring. I’m sure it will be a challenge, neck aches included, but the end result would be so fabulous!

Post a Comment