I did have a sense that hand-sewing my own Halloween costume was a bit ambitious. A bit more than I was prepared to handle. Especially since I have never sewn before (I don’t think cross-stitch embroidery counts).
But I wanted to try. And even though I was half-expecting the project to fail, I am still proud of myself for trying it. It may have only been a Halloween costume, but I saw a challenge – an opportunity – and I took it. And even though it was only a Halloween costume, I did learn a few lessons:
- Sewing is A LOT harder than YouTube videos make it seem! “Just pull your thread all the way through, move your needle maybe a quarter of an inch over, and then poke through, pulling your needle all the way…” Uh huh. Easier said than done, Martha Stewart! Where’s the tutorial on how to hold fabric so it doesn’t bunch while you’re “just moving your needle a quarter of an inch”? How do you grip the fabric so you can sew in a straight line?? Heck, how do you even grip the fabric so you’re not constantly dropping it, or your needle, when you try to “pull your needle all the way through”? I never doubted sewing was challenging, and that as a newbie, I would not be creating a Vivienne Westwood masterpiece, but I have to admit I was hoping it was going to be just a smidge easier.
- I hate those push pins that hold your fabric pieces in place while you sew. They never stay in place (which means I was probably using them incorrectly), they get in the way, and I stabbed myself in the fingers more times with those d–n things than a diabetic checking their blood sugars.
- Big fat fumble fingers I do have, as I knew going into this, but I learned just how big, fat, and fumble they really are. I lost count of how many needles I dropped, and then could not locate. Of how many times I tried to create small stitches – slowly, carefully, painstakingly moving the needle the slightest distance – and I still managed to have lengths of thread in the seam longer than my middle finger. No joke: at one point, I was sewing a section of fabric and when I finished and tied off the end, and then flipped the costume so I could admire my handiwork, I had a stitch that was easily 2 inches away from the rest of the seam.
- But through it all, there is something … soothing… about the steady and rhythmic repetition of sewing. Needle up, needle down, needle up, needle down. I liked the process of what I was doing – when I could get a grip on the fabric and those stupid push pins were either actually staying in place (that almost never happened) or I had finally just pulled them out and threw them across the room. I liked watching the seams thread their way in front of me. It was surprisingly fulfilling and therapetuic… in spite of my obvious lack of sewing talent.
So when I finally called it quits on the costume, which I only did by the way because those mile-long stitches started ripping before I even finished the sewing, I knew that a hobby as a seamstress was probably not going to happen. But I’m not ready to give up on the creation of textiles. I did enjoy that sewing process. So I went back to something I had considered before: crochet.
Now, let me take one moment to explain my thought process when it comes to “trying something new.” First inclination: will I really find the time, or set aside the time, to commit to a new undertaking? It is not a case of try-it-and-see-what-happens. My crossed wires automatically jump to if-I’m-going-to-try-it-then-I-better-be-ready-to-commit-to-it-110%. Followed quickly by you-already-have-so-much-you’re-trying-to-do-so-are-you-really-willing-to-take-on-something-else. One would think I was considering whether or not to adopt a cat. Or sell my house. Or have a baby. You know, a decision that will actually have an effect on my lifestyle. Not try out a potentially new hobby. And it was that introspection that made me throw away all that “commit 110% for the rest of my life” thinking and say loud and emphatically: just try it. Worst case scenario: you don’t like it and you spent $8 on crochet needles that you’ll never use again.
Pretty sad that decisions this insignificant require such emphatic energy. And funnily enough, those big decisions, like selling a house or having a baby, I’ll make on a whim. When J and I adopted Charlie, I literally turned to him in our car and said, “we’re getting a dog.” Is that irony? Or a contradiction?
Anyway, the realization that I wayyy over-think decisions about “trying something new” made me hop on Artemis this past Wednesday, and bike right over to Jo-Ann’s to buy a pack of crochet needles. Then I came home and tried it. And last night, I came home and tried it some more. Do I like crochet? Yes. Will I keep at it? I want to. Does the fact I might potentially take this on as a hobby mean I won’t try something else new down the road? I certainly hope not.