Sewing Project 2.5: The Shower Curtain

This is technically my THIRD sewing project since getting my beautiful new machine, but I am bumping it up to the 2.5 position. Project No. 2 – a skirt for yours truly – is at a stand-still. Technically not my fault, since I assembled the body correctly, but having been shafted a sheet of directions I have no idea how to install the zipper and finish the waistband. We will speak no more of that now. Project 3 has been bumped to the front of the line. And it has REIGNED SUPREME.

We have an issue in our third floor bath. For some odd reason our shower curtains are waaay tooooo loooooong, so when in use the extra inches of material line the tub & get totally soaked. This leads to mildew problems and general ickiness, neither of which I like. So now that I have my brand new machine, I was going to hem our shower curtain. Which I’m still planning on doing, but since I had to launder the sucker before I could work on it anyway, I decided to try my hand at making a brand new one. And I couldn’t be happier with the results. Here is the material:

I’d purchased it some time ago. It is a soft Indian cotton. Yes, it is cheery. I thought it would look terrific in our bath, with its sunny yellow tile. AND IT DOES. WHICH MAKES ME SOOOOO HAPPPPPYYY!!!!!!

So even though I didn’t have a pattern or anything, I knew I could handle this one. And truly, making a shower curtain is about as easy as it comes. I didn’t even need to read the section of my manual on how to buttonhole b/c the material I’d purchased came with ties at the top.

HOW GREAT IS THAT! It did however come as two panels. Initially when I bought it (from the thrift shoppe, of course) I thought it was supposed to be curtains. But as each supposed “curtain” was (no joke) 12 feet long, I quickly concluded I’d been wrong. I still don’t know what the heck they were intended for, but they do work fabbbbulously as a shower curtain. So, I pinned the two panels together, stitched up the seam. Hemmed the whole thing to a perfect length and SHAZAM! Shower curtain extraordinaire. Not bad for an hour of work. YAY!

My first sewing project.

Yesterday I was positively GIDDY with the glory that is my brand new sewing machine. So after finishing up all of my housewifely chores, and reading half the manual, I decided IT WAS TIME. I put my younger daughter in the car and off we went to find my very first sewing machine project. And since I just knew my younger daughter would soon be demanding huge amounts of my attention, attention which would otherwise be captivated by the glow of the light on my new sewing machine, I was also looking for a foolproof bribe. Which I oh-so-conveniently found in the form of a 15 piece paint-your-own plastic suncatcher kit; the best $4 I have spent in quite some time.

As a complete novice sewing champion, I wanted to select a pattern which wouldn’t tax my repertoire of skills and throw me over the edge. Here is the pattern I selected:

It does look sort of complicated, but reading the back of the package I decided it would fit the bill, requiring only fabric, thread and the pattern itself. It was waay less complicated than the prom dresses featured prominently in the racks, and slightly more practical than the patterned scrubs, especially since I am not employed as a vet tech – well, not professionally anyway. I was not eager to undertake anything requiring elastic, buttons or zippers, since I hadn’t gotten to that section in the manual AND I WANTED TO SEW NOW!! I then chose a 100% cotton batik print from India, not only b/c I found it attractive, but also b/c I knew its busy pattern would mask any less-than-perfect stitching and/or slip-ups. It looks like this:

YES it IS PRETTY. Thank you.

So by mid-afternoon I’d delved headfirst into the wondrous world of My Very First Sewing Project. And then the fun began. Because I never knew how truly colorful my vocabulary is, nor just how thin I can stretch my patience.

As I laid out the fabric and removed the pattern from its paper sheath, I wondered WHAT THE HELL I’D GOTTEN MYSELF INTO. It’s been 20 years since Home Ec at Abington Jr, and a lot of other baggage has been crammed on top of the Suitcase of Sewing Knowledge in the interim. I pondered the thin tissue pages, I studied the pattern directions which seemed to have been written in some secret cuneiform for sewing professionals. I am a cook. I know basting, but WHAT THE HELL IS BASTING?? After several online consultations and a whole lot of worried sweating, I just said Screw It. and I started. I knew it wasn’t going to kill anyone if it wasn’t perfect, I AM NOT NASA.

So as I pinned, and pondered, and carefully cut, I simply prayed that this undertaking would not render me so angry I would throw my beautiful new sewing machine out the front window. And as I stitched and bitched, basted and un-basted, and jammed the bobbin for the UMPTEENTH F*CKING TIME, I knew, thread by thread, that I was earning my stripes. I was rediscovering the joy that is creation, and seeing what every creator sees. The wondrous beauty in form. Round about midnight (with a dinner break in between) it was DONE. Well, technically I still have to slip-stitch the bodice liner to the inner seam, but as you cannot SEE THAT IN THE PICTURE, it is DONE.

My first sewing machine.

Just a quick post this morn b/c I am OFF to explore the greatness that is MY VERY FIRST SEWING MACHINE! YAY!!! Here’s what it looks like:

Isn’t she PRETTY?? I feel just like a proud new momma.

I did a lot of research yesterday (mostly to ward off depression at my mother’s departure), and upon mommy’s recommendation checked the Sears website. My mom has been a devoted Kenmore user for years, and yippee! I found EXACTLY what I’d been looking for. A 43-stitch machine, very basic, with 5-star reviews across the board. It’s perfect. Okay, well it looks perfect – all I’ve done so far is take it out of the box, plug the thing in and make sure the needle moved up and down. But in comparison to my last experience, I feel like I’ve already won the marathon.