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!


80 thoughts on “Sew what?!?

  1. Rosa

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

  2. cassandra

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

  3. Ashley

    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!”

  4. Reagan Costen

    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.

  5. raquel

    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!


  6. Kara

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

  7. Krista M

    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!

  8. Sharah

    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!

  9. Sarah

    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!

  10. Nicole

    !! 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!)

  11. Kim

    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.

  12. June

    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.

  13. myriam

    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!!

  14. Nancy Hart

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

  15. Ann

    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.

  16. Ruth

    Congratulations!! Now I’m going to move from being envious of your knitterly and scientific talents, to being envious of your general creative brilliance šŸ™‚

    I wish I was as much of a perfectionist as you are (and that I owned an overlocker šŸ™‚

  17. Teresa C

    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….

  18. Stephanie

    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.

  19. Agnes

    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. šŸ™‚

  20. TracyKm

    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?

  21. Jen

    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!!!!

  22. Katinka

    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! šŸ™‚

  23. Knitnana

    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.


  24. yvette

    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.

  25. Norie

    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.

  26. Sarah

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

  27. Laura

    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.

  28. Jess

    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.

  29. Necia

    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.


  30. Susan

    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.

  31. Alison

    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? šŸ™‚

  32. Suzann

    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.

  33. Sil

    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.

  34. Heidi

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

  35. Beck in Fl

    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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