By Avery Shubert
I knew how to sew once upon a time. My mom had taught me to use the machine and I’d created a few bits and bobbles. A scrunchie here, an upcycled dress there, and a mend in a shirt that probably would have been better off remaining a hole. I wasn’t good at sewing, but I liked it.
Like all things, sewing requires practice, and like most things, I gave it up before I had a chance to improve. Between school and softball there was simply no time! At least that’s what I told myself.
Then quarantine happened. I had nothing but time and no more excuses. One rabbit hole of YouTube sewing tutorials later, I lugged the sewing machine out of the closet and set it up on the dining table. What is thread tension? Why do I need to change it? How do you rethread the bobbin? What even is a zigzag stitch for? I had to relearn everything. It was frustrating, but my mom (and the internet) were there to answer my questions.
The first large project I did was an 18th century “pirate shirt.” Well, that’s what Bernadette Banner called it anyway. It was done, regrettably, by hand. The stitches came out uneven, the cuffs were slightly too small, and the arms eyes were way too tight for my measurements. Despite all these flaws, I was proud. I had created an actual garment!
Months later I stumbled upon yet another sewing tutorial. I had no use for a gothic style apron, but I fell in love. After choosing a color palette and finally getting the right fabric, I began. It took a lot of seam ripping and retrying to get everything to work. It took me two days just to figure out how to attach the embroidered name tag. It was a lot of work, but surprisingly, I enjoyed it all, and in the end I had an apron. A tangible thing to prove my hard work. It has its fair share of mistakes, but the improvement is clear. The stitches were straight and barely noticeable in most places, and it actually fit me!
Making, tailoring, and mending my own clothing is something that continues to inspire me. I’ve come a long way and still have a long way to go. My pieces won’t be perfect, but they’ll be better. I’m excited for that. So, pardon me, but I’ve got some shorts to work on.