It’s a strange thing when you glimpse another world. Having spent more hours than I care to admit in the videogame blogosphere I had an out of body experience the other day. I visited the craft and sewing blogs my wife has started reading.
It all started after working with some friends on a videogame review for Family Gamer TV. I thought I was turning their family into videogame geeks, but it seems the wheeze has backfired and I’m now surrounded by sewing geeks.
Mary Emmens is an avid sewer and something of an inspiration, as she puts it “I don’t think I ever ‘learnt’ to sew, my mum used to sew when I was a child, as far as I can remember mostly dresses for me and a green professor outfit for my eldest brother for his role in a school play. So I guess I used to watch her and then had a go at some point.”
The realization that you could create beautiful, bespoke garments and soft furnishings soon took hold as my family well and truly caught the sewing bug. What accelerated this was all the advice, tips and reviews we found on, what I’ve come to realize is, a huge network of sewing blogs.
Much as in other geeky areas of life, the sewing technology and paraphernalia are almost as enticing as the wearable results. Although I’m not sure sewers would like being called geeks as much as videogame players do, the similarity is certainly there.
In fact there are plenty of areas where the sewing online world is beating the tech bloggers to the punch. Pinterest, the pictorial bookmarking site, has blossomed with the help of visually pleasing craft and sewing blogs. Much like how Twitter gave voice to the “technorati” of the internet a few years ago, Pinterest is doing something similar for the “crafterati” — as you can see in Jo (my wife) and Mary’s Pinterst boards.
Getting started sewing was really quite easy. It helps that we had a few good tip offs about the right equipment to get. Some basic tools can make all the different.
We got ourselves a good starter sewing machine, you can spend a lot but even the cheaper models are fine for beginners. After trying to cut fabric with scissors for a while we realized that there was an easier way to do it. A really good cutting mat made a huge difference, as did having a good rotary cutter — so much easier than trying to use scissors to cut a straight or curved line.
Once we were equipped it was simply a matter of diving into all those wonderful blogs and having a go. A lot of online sewing shops will offer free test patterns in return for feedback on how well it works. Mary blogged about one of the test patterns we tried. My wife enjoyed getting the pattern for free, and providing feedback, and the sewing blog got some free testing.
At times, as with any new endeavor, it can be a little daunting. Sewing has its own technical language that is often quite hard to figure out. I actually quite liked all this, terms like “fussy cutting”, “applique”, “french knot”, “inseam”, “New York hem” and “prick stitch” sounded exotic and other-worldly. The jargon is all there for a purpose of course, as sewing is easily as technical as electronics (as far as my hobbyist knowledge could tell anyway), and soon becomes familiar.
As you can see from the picture above, the sewing bug is rapidly spreading through the family. My daughter (8) is now proficient enough with the sewing machine to be able to make up her own creations. At first I was a little concerned that she might sew her fingers, but with some supervision and care it has been fine. I wonder if sewing patterns should come with an ESRB rating for how hard they are to complete.
All in all I’ve really enjoyed our foray into the world of sewing, both for the homemade creations as well as getting an insight into another part of the blogging world. I’m also hatching a plan with Mary to design and produce some bespoke 3DS and Vita cases with built in batteries and space for all those game cartridges. I want an appliqued Mario on my one.
Amazon has a good sewing department with all you need to get started.