If you are thinking about starting a project, perhaps your first one, here’s a piece of advice. You won’t be able to screw it up as much as you think you will. Before my first project, I was terrified that if I mess it up, it would be utterly ruined and a waste of money and time. I quickly learned that, yes, I would screw up. Again and again, but it is actually very easy to fix mistakes when sewing. Just tear about the seams, and start again.
Before I was pregnant with Alma, I had never really sewn anything. As a child, I played around and made a few little thingies, then in home-ec in middle school I made and awesome lip shaped pillow. Other than that, I had never used a sewing machine.
The summer before I had Alma, the nesting kicked in and I wanted to make her a quilt. I didn’t really know how to start, but I wanted to do something easy. I came up with the idea of doing a gradient rainbow quilt, so I went to the fabric store and bought 16 pieces of fabric in a rainbow of colors.
Then I did some math and figured out how big I wanted the quilt to be. I wanted the sizes of each strip to vary, so I just cut out 1, 2, and 3 inch pieces of each color. Once I had all the pieces cut out, I lined them up on my floor and arranged it so the colors would overlap horizontally through the quilt.
I then sewed 12 vertical strips with one piece of each color in each strip. This seemed pretty easy, because the pieces were only 4 inches wide, leaving not a lot of room to mess up.
Then I got scared. I had to attach each strip to the next, which meant I would be sewing two long strips together using a continuous stitch. This felt like a lot of ways I could mess up. As a beginning sew-er I felt like something would go wrong for sure and everything would be ruined. I didn’t think I’d be able to sew a straight line for such a long distance. I probably left the strips sitting for a couple weeks before I built up the courage to attempt my long lines.
I finally got brave and sewed two strips together. It was quick, and easy! I was amazed! I kept going, and soon I had a complete quilt top, and I was really happy!
Then came the next scary part – the actual quilting. I got my backing, my batting and my quilt, sandwiched it all together and found some good tutorials online. I thought I would do a straight line down the middle of each strip, but quickly found that a wavy line would be much easier, and actually kind of cute. I did 12 wavy lines and all of a sudden, I had a quilt!
Then the scary task of adding a binding! I found this wonderful tutorial and basically did what it said. The only thing I did differently was machine sewing it on, instead of hand binding the front. Since it was for a baby, I knew it would be washed a lot, so I wanted it to be really secure.
Holy cow, I had just made a quilt! I was basically a super hero in my mind. I had come up with an idea, done math, sewn a bunch (192!) of pieces of fabric together, and – poof! – heirloom!
I basically took it (and still take all my sewing projects) one step at a time. I gave myself permission to make mistakes. I took breaks, short and long, along the way.
What are some projects you’ve been wanting to try, but have been too scared to take the first step?