I started sewing in junior high school.I took Home Ec in the 8th grade and my first sewing project was a lovely shift dress. It was sleeveless and form fitted with darts. Remember those! The style is very classic and has recently returned. It was simple, with no fancy sleeves or collars. But you had to learn how to do darts along with doing neat neck and armholes. Does anyone remember what those pieces used to line the neckline and armhole were called? They were so tricky to get smooth and lay flat around the curve.
My mother was a great seamstress. We spent many hours during high school and college sewing my wardrobe. We made skirts, dresses, pants and several coats and coatsuits. I even made the suit that I got married in. I loved trying new challenges. One I remember was a box pleated skirt in a plaid. Man was that hard. I also made a Betsy Johnson sundress with spaghetti straps. Sewing and turning those narrow strips of fabric was a nightmare. I got into bound button holes, padded suits, linings.
I continued sewing into the '80s. The styles started to change and there were more knits which I did not like to sew. It just became much easier to purchase clothing. We did not have any children which would have given me another reason to continue to sew. I think I made my last item in 1988. The sewing machine was packed up and put away.
I had several goals on my list when I was laid off in 2008. One of them was to start sewing again. I had in mind to make a cool sleeveless sundress. I went to Joann's Fabric and was totally turned off by the selection of fabric. It was basically knit/polyester, shiny satin which would make a great sari, children and quilting fabric. I had in mind a cool modern print but I couldn't really find something I liked. But I went ahead and looked at the patterns. It was sticker shock time. I had no idea at the cost of patterns today. They were around $15.00. Add the cost of fabric, zipper, etc. This was going to be an expensive project. It was so much cheaper to purchase an inexpensive dress made in China. The project went by the wayside.
A month or so ago, I was looking at the Company Store Catalog and noticed these interesting Adirondack Cushions. Hmmm... I thought about doing a sewing project again.
I didn't want to tackle piping or a fitted cushion for my first project so I turned to the web to see if I could find something a bit easier. I found these easy looking cushions on Sewing 4 Home. I could handle that.
I asked G to get out sewing machine. It was stored away in the crawlspace. I dusted it off. Thank god I had left it threaded. I don't have a manual and would have had no idea how to thread it. As it was, I wasn't certain how to wind a bobbin. I turned to the web again and found a video out on YouTube of someone demonstrating how to wind a bobbin on a Kenmore sewing machine.
I wasn't happy with the fabric at Joann's so I looked to see if there were any other fabric stores in Seattle. I found out that Hancock Fabrics still had a store in the area and dropped by after work. Oh so much better. They had a much better selection of fabric and they also had a sale on outdoor canvas. I was able to find a nice piece of stripped outdoor fabric for about $4.00/yard.
The next challenge was the foam. The web pattern called for cutting your own foam. I decided instead to use a smaller pre-cut Nu-Foam pillow. I did like working with the Nu-Foam. It did not have the ugly polyurethane foam smell. I had a couple of coupons for Joann's so I dropped by and got the pre-cut Nu-Foam.
I had a little trepidation when I did my first cut. I made certain that I lined up the pattern pieces so the strips would match. I had to re-thread the machine and wind a new bobbin. It was like getting back on a bicycle. I instinctually knew what to do. The cushion went together smoothly. I made just one mistake by reversing one of the back pieces. But it was easy to rip out the seam and correct.
The inserts fit very snugly with the dimensions in the pattern. There is no give so they will buckle a little at first but the fabric will stretch and mold to the insert. I am very happy with the project. I probably should have made a bigger cushion for the Adirondack chairs. I adjusted the dimensions down to fit the smaller pre-cut foam and I think the original dimensions would have been better. It is a little short so the pillow doesn't cover the curve of the seat. But I succeeded! And they only cost me about $20 for two cushions.
Laying out the pattern