Tuesday, February 5, 2013

You can have Anything you want in Life if you Dress for it - Edith Head

Last night I started on my journey to becoming a superstar dressmaker! It was the first class in my 6 week Sewing for Dummies lessons. The first block of 6 weeks starts with the very very basics and then with each block it gets more & more involved until eventually you can whip up anything you like just like that! Down the track I would LURVE to be able to draft patterns as well.
In home-eck at school I got an E.... no joke... an E in sewing. I would just flick my spiral perm at my teacher, roll my eyes & scoff "As if I am EVER going to make my own clothes when I can just go to Fosseys and buy them myself! Duh."  What a Neo-Maxi-Zoom-Dweebie!
Finally, I've grown up and come to my senses.
The class last night was BRILLIANT!
It is run by Brenda who is the Edith Head of the Redcliffe sewing scene. Brenda has been a dressmaker her whole life. She knows EVERYTHING you could possibly know about anything to do with sewing & sewing machines. She is also very dry & has a wicked sense of humour. She is so awesome!
The only students were myself, a lovely lady called Jan and the super duper gorgeous Bev who is an AMAZING Lindy Hop dance teacher from Gotta Swing on the Gold Coast. www.gottaswing.com.au I've known Bev for a few years now & it was so cool to have somebody that I know sharing this adventure in craftiness with me. We were both excited about all the forties style frocks we will eventually be able to make!
Our imagination was running wild!
The beautiful Bev
Jan is a super funny lady who is in her sixties who has never sewed in her life and told us that after a life of taking care of her husband & 3 sons is finally doing something for herself. At one point in the night Bev and Jan launched into an impromptu jive dancing lesson tripling stepping around the room!
I forgot to get a pic of Jan because I was too insanely jealous of her sewing machine. It belonged to her mother & was in immaculate condition AND had ALL the original accessories in perfect condition. Jan told us her mother was a professional dressmaker through the 40s 50s & 60s. Wow!
She had to put the machine in the 'dumb waiter' the class venue has, to take it up to the top floor because the thing weighs so much it could have been used in one of those Strongest Man competitions.
Pretty soon we were all cackling & laughing like a bunch of old chooks. We all had a great dry, wicked sense of humour and had heaps of fun!  Last night we focused on what cottons to use & which ones are complete shit. What needles are for what and how to clean your machine & what all the buttons and doo-dads do on your machine. We were also instructed that we have to buy a
you-beaut pair of fabic scissors and if anybody touches them we have permission to smash their skull in with a large rock (or words to that effect).
We then had to just sew some straight lines so Brenda could see just how good we are. When it came to me.. my sewing lines were pretty bloody good but Brenda was concerned about my tension settings.
"How long since you've cleaned your machine Vicki?"
"About Mmmm mumble mumble mumble"
"Tsk tsk tsk" Brenda shook her head .
I hung my head in shame. She then took off the bobbin covering & I screamed thinking that a small gerbil had made its home in there but no.... it was just 5 years of lint build up.
"tsk tsk tsk" Brenda repeated.
I was given a home work assignment to make a bag. SQUEALS IN EXCITEMENT!
I also, just happened to mention, that I have a number of vintage frocks in need of repair and did she happen to know anyone who could just happen to be able to fix them and if she knew someone who could happen to be able to make me a frock as my normal dressmaker has selfishly gotten too ill to sew.
I think that Brenda & Jan were quite amused/happy to have two young ladies in the class who had a great appreciation for the dressmaking skills and styles of yesteryear.
"Bring in your frocks next week Vicki & I'll have a look"
"YES!! SWEET!!!" I mentally fist pumped the air.
The class was all over too quickly and I left feeling AWESOME.
I had so much fun with these ladies and can't WAIT for next week when we will be making a pair of elastic waist cotton PJ bottoms!!!!!!!!!


  1. Sounds like heaps of fun!! Was debating about trying to find local classes. I've had a sewing machine unused for years. Was never very good when I did use it.

  2. OMG I recognize that book, I had one courtesy of my mum, but Lord knows where it is now.

  3. Loving your sewing stuff Mz Vicki - that skirt you made was fabulous! Funky sewing machine that Jan has. She's brave lugging it to class! They are soooo heavy. I bought a 50's vintage Singer 201K for next to nothing on ebay a few months ago and while it weighs a tonne, it is gorgeous and does the most perfect stitch ever. You should get one!