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Nov 22, 2010

THIS I will not sew!


Friends, I must be honest.  There are certain things I will not sew for myself and for very good reasons.  I bet you're the same.

Underwear for example.  True, I've sewn a few boxers back in the day, but I have SO much underwear at present, having hit the mother lode at the Salvation Army a few months back when I stumbled upon a dozen pair of unused Jockey boxer briefs and a few gently worn Calvins, that I won't need new underwear for the next thirty years.  And by then who knows what I'll be wearing.

My hunch is that most of you women don't make your own lingerie.  Unless you're Sigrid of Sigrid Sewing Projects of course.  I chose not to post pictures of The Amazing Sigrid in the intimidatingly sophisticated unmentionables she has stitched up for herself --  I believe the Dutch are more modest than us Look, Ma, no pants! Americans (or am I projecting?) -- but rest assured if you check Sigrid out (her blog I mean) you'll see some amazing work.  (You'll find links to her Pattern Review postings there too).

Meanwhile, if Gertie is to believed (and disbelieve her at your own risk), we're going to be seeing our favorite home seamstress from Queens corseted up like Gina Lollabrigida in Trapeze very soon.  Most women would just pick up an old rubber Playtex at Goodwill and hope for the best.  But not Gertie.

Anyway, some other things I'll never sew:

Gloves.  I pick these up from a favorite seller at the flea market who sells them for $2-3 a pair -- vintage and usually dead stock.  I bought the black ones yesterday; the others are from previous outings.







You never know when you might be invited to a wedding, funeral, or ship christening.  I like kidskin but nylon works too.

Now here's something else I thought I'd never sew: bags.  But just look what I purchased online yesterday in a moment of holiday-inspired delirium:





(The second pattern is McCall's 8705.)

I have never sewn a bag unless you count a sewing machine cover which is kind of the same thing when you think about it.  This was back when I was first getting started and was trying to keep it simple.   I still use the cover, which is more than I can say for the Kenmore sewing machine under it.



I think some of these bags would make great gifts for my mother, Michael's mother, Prachee (my SIL), and who knows, maybe even Cathy if she's nice to me.

Never say never, huh?

Friends, in closing, is there anything you simply won't sew?   If so, where do you draw the line and why?  Is it purely economics -- you pay 59 cents at the dollar store for your Hanes Her Way factory seconds, plus you don't like sewing elastic leg bands?  Is it simply beyond your skill level to sew your own "waspie" (ask Gertie about that one)?

Have you ever sewn a handbag and was the result something so hideous you'll only carry it inside your regular handbag in case of rain -- after dark?

How many tote bags can you make with four yards of faux python?

Jump in -- I'll catch you!

44 comments:

  1. I have seriously considered sewing undies for my hubby (not boxers, either) because he's so darned picky, but we seem to have found a brand/style that fits his (long) list of requirements again, so I'll hold off on that for a few years, anyway.

    I don't think I'll ever sew myself a purse. I don't like simple bag-style ones, and the kind I do like are super-complicated with little card-slots and zip-pockets and who knows what. It just seems like too much work. I also probably won't ever sew myself a bra. If I'm going to wear a bra (other than, maybe, a sports bra), it's going to involve a lot of molded, cup-size-adding foam, and I can't really sew that up myself.

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  2. Oh my gosh! I had that Simplicity pattern when it came out (don't try to do the math-it was a long time ago!)and I made the lovely gingham purse, in...gingham. I wasn't too original back then; struggling just to acquire the skills, you know. But purses, bags, etc are fun to make, and they will make great gifts. I will in all likelihood, never attempt to make a suit coat like you did, Peter. I can spend hours sewing on little tiny beads with no problem, but tailoring leaves me snoozing(and just a tad bid intimidated). I have made jackets and coats in the past, but they always ended up looking rather homemade. Something about the notched collar not being sharp enough, and I despise doing buttonholes. Truly, I will leave tailoring to the masters, because it is a highly advanced skillset. Happy Thanksdiving week to all....

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  3. Have you tried sewing coats and beds for the dogs? They're super easy, fun, inexpensive and you can use all sorts of wacky... or sophisticated fabrics. There's an endless supply of patterns out there and they're very simple to modify or embellish. If you ever get weary of couture, try some fun pet stuff!

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  4. Those dogs have it cushy enough already! LOL

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  5. I have a personal, um, thing, with utilitarian sewing... I think in my head one minutes I'll sew up a tote back, then next mitten I'll be adding glitter paint to my christmas kitten sweatshirt and getting matching perms with my mom...

    That being said, in the last week or two I've made two laptop bags, a ironing board cover and a pair of mittens. Christmas kitties, here I come!

    For sewing, sewing, I don't like sewing boring stuff that I can get at Old Navy. I'll probably never attempt a bra due to the construction issues and welding skills required. It's crossed my mind to try my hand at sewing running stuff for my husband, but the difficulty finding good athletic fabric coupled with my aversion to boring clothes sewing will probably not lead me down running clothes lane....

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  6. Holy spell check, batman. This is why I need more than one cup of coffee before checking blogs!

    Take 2:
    "...one MINUTE I'll sew up a tote BAG, then THE next MINUTE.."

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  7. I love to make bags! I make tote bags (great tute on Sew Mama Sew!) and personalize them with a little machine embroidery on the pocklet and give them as gifts. People love them - really, I mean, I see them using them. All the little girls in my life get little sewn purses with their names on them (Buttercup Bag from Made By Rae) and they are a big hit.

    I also sew up a lot of dolls and toys as gifts - and my garment sewing friends just aren't interested in making those kinds of things at all.

    I bought a pajamas pattern for my little girl, but just am not inspired to sew them up. I mean, she'll just wear them to bed.

    What else I won't be making - a quilt. I just don't have the patience. I won't be sewing slipcovers for my furniture either. I like my sewing to be used and live a life - like twirling skirts for my daughter or little bags to hold her treasures, or a soft mermaid doll to go on adventures in her mind....

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  8. Ha! I'm learning to never say never when it comes to this stuff. You never know when you'll get the itch to sew something weird and then before you know it, you're knee-deep in busks and grommets.

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  9. Never say never indeed. I'd LOVE to make my own lingerie... but I consider the "busks and grommets" a few steps more intricate than a coat or a dress or ... you get the idea. But someday! Maybe. :) I wear a specialty size and finding something that fits just right is hard enough - then finding it in colors that work? Yeah, ouch. My latest color choice was between bubblegum pink and black, to give you an idea.

    The further I go along the sewing trail the more I tend to say, "I could just MAKE that..."

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  10. I have Simplicity 7004--bought it when it came out (sometime in the '70s) and still have it. The plain tote bag is handy (and the only one I made from that pattern).

    I'll try pretty much anything sewing-wise, but haven't sewn any undies. Working on pajama pants for Christmas gifts now, then digging into my long-overdue Lady Grey coat from Gertie's sewalong, now that marching band season is over *sob*.

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  11. I'll probably never make my own bras or underwear since I've never had an issue with the way those fit when I buy them. I also don't see myself making a coat... I'd rather stick to making simple things that keep my sewing enjoyable rather than an arduous task.

    I did make a bag once, and it turned out fine, but I don't know if I would make another one. I have one Coach bag which is the only bag I ever use, and making another bag isn't going to change that LOL!

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  12. Bags and bras are okay. Tailoring (coats and jackets) I struggle with. DH forbids me to try shoes. He says I have enough stuff around the house. I don't quilt either. I just can't seem to make all those little rows line up properly. It would look like a good candidate for the worst quilt of the year.

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  13. I think I might be one of those "I'll try anything once" sort of girls.

    I love making bags and actually use them. I've always wanted to make a pair of gloves and even have pattern (or three) for them. I've made underwear also but was never really thrilled with it. I think I just like to knowing that I can make it.

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  14. Blah! That published before previewing.

    ... just like to KNOW that I can make it.

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  15. Bags, bras, knickers, corsets, slipper and PJs; I sew 'em all! Why wouldn't you?! I would draw the line at bed linen and curtains -too boring.

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  16. Momentarily I thought my 15 & 20 year old stepsons might want to learn to make their own boxers. . . amaze their friends, pick their own weird prints, etc. . . . not a chance. And my rating as a person took a nosedive.

    The very first project we made in 10th grade home ec was a tote bag. A really butt ugly tote bag. But next year one of my projects is a very cool bag.

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  17. We are far from NYC and we have always been a really thrifty area. I have shopped at the thrift stores for at least 15 years. I have noticed that the thrift stores here are very hard up and barely stocked in the interesting things the last couple of years. And we don't have those lovely outlets, they died long ago. So I am down to sewing just about everything. I am starting to work on underwear very soon. Sweaters are the only thing I won't sew, and I am beginning to rethink that.

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  18. Hm, let's see...
    Corsetry? I've done that twice (although just one for me and only the other one from a pattern I made myself) and would do it again. Bags? Yes, I make those. Usually re-using leather from dead-cheap secondhand clothes. Bras? I've made one, but it's hard to get the fit perfect and with my small size, buying is cheaper. Knickers? I've made a few but it's neither very cost-efficient nor that much fun IMHO. Swimwear? Made one bathing suit. Not perfect, but it was great to make something unique. I'm not much of a swimmer but I would definately make that again.

    So far, I've never made sportswear. I just don't feel very tempted. On the other hand, I have a instructions to draft leggings and tank tops, I've got plenty of jersey in stash and I my usual (indoor) climbing gear is getting pretty worn out.

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  19. I have no intentions of ever sewing a bra but who knows? I do love sewing vintage style undergarments and have several things lined up --not that I need them. They're just fun to do. I've made a few bags. They were good enough to use too!

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  20. There's another...Sarah Elaine of Ohhh Lulu (http://ohhhlulu.blogspot.com) makes positively gorgeous undergarments. Amazingly beautiful. Really. I have made some ugly undies and bought a bra pattern to try out because I have a hard time getting a good fit and hate padding!

    As far as what I wouldn't sew- I recently said I wouldn't bother with a fitted flannel sheet for my baby's bed. I don't want to attach all of that elastic for something she will sleep on, I'd rather make stuff for her to wear out and about.

    And I did make a quilted tote once. It was one of the first things I sewed and it was positively hideous, but I loved it, still have it, and I carried it to school every day in college, as it was the perfect size for my books and laptop.

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  21. Sewing lingerie and shape wear is fun. I used to work for Kieffer's -a lingerie fabric company that had a store and base in Mpls,(and now solely runs out of NJ) and we had tons of cool plush back elastic, power net, and Sew Lovely lingerie patterns just begging for me to make them. It was the early 90's and I had lots of fun making girdle to wear instead of bike shorts under skirts.
    I was able to find a few Sew Lovely patterns for a full-coverage bra and long leg girdle, so once again- there I go. I sew to obtain the garments I cannot find, whether it be over fit or style needs. I've resisted making a winter coat, because I have no lack of fabulous vintage finds for less than $10. But I can't say I'd rule out anything.

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  22. I have no interest in sewing homewares (table linens, curtains, pillows). I'm also not really keen on bags (I only like to use leather - and that's its own skill set). Underwear I'm totally into - I've been trying to make a bra that fits for months. And, while the fit has been an issue (I am well-endowed and architecture is the order of the day), my finished results have been lovely, IMO. And not as difficult as you might imagine.

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  23. I like making handbags and do use the ones I've made for myself. There's a middle ground between simple totes and super complex leather jobs and I sit quite happily in there.

    I can't see myself sewing undies, mostly because knickers are much, much cheaper to buy than make given the price of jersey and rarity of FOE in the UK, and I have finally found THE perfect bra for my peculiar torso/rack combination (Debenhams, oh Brits with small band size and DD+ cups) and I doubt anything I could finagle together would be as comfy.

    I'm actually considering sewing some gloves this winter. I've got weirdly long skinny hands and fingers and would love some silk glove liners for inside my mittens that actually fit. We shall see.

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  24. I'll try (almost) anything at least once, and sometimes several times until I get bored and need another challenge. I've at least one of virtually everything. I have several bra patterns winking at me, waiting for the perfect fabric. I'm sooo tired of bras that shrink regardless of what you pay for them or how you wash them or are made with materials I'm allergic to. That's what started my "won't buy cheap sh*t for good money" rebellion": not being able to find wonderful underwear in my size and colours. I adore luxury undies, and, if I can make them, I will. Perfecting the bra is a January project to come. I've been making other undies and sleepwear for years as I can't get things long enough for me, and I'm not exactly 6'2". Plus I'm sick of boxy clothes without details. This may not be a problem in NYC, but it is on the other side of the border.

    The exception: athletic wear as it just doesn't appeal to me. That said, if the DDs wanted something, I'd probably make it, and I do need a new bathing suit. Hmmmm.
    Heather

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  25. I'm amazed you can find vintage gloves that fit! I never can with 7 1/2" hands. Oh well, modern ones work just fine.

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  26. Yeah, I won't be sewing any bras. Though I really should learn. I'm a bit buxom, and I bet it would save me a fortune to custom make brassieres. But where do you get all the lovely accessories? It's really not that serious and more than I would care to do.

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  27. Hi Peter,

    As it happens you've caught me in the middle of sewing a tote bag, the first of various which will replace wrapping paper on my Christmas gifts. I'm not sure why anyone would need a pattern to make these.

    Can't see myself ever sewing underwear or a bathing costume. Love sewing for the house, I made curtains for the living room in the spring and went out today for material for winter curtains, 3.5 mtrs. 150 cms. wide for 12 euros. I will do these on the machine, but I'm hand sewing the bags in the evening in front of the television. I like hand sewing and have even been known to hem sheets and make pillowcases by hand.

    Thanks again for your blog.

    Gaviota in Alicante.

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  28. I did sew underwear once, but it was my 40s tap panties to be fair. And I love them so much more than the knit bikini modern stuff. Except for the bra to match it, I will never make one of those. I've also sworn off t-shirts and jeans. I'm pretty sure I've sworn off RTW jeans as well though, long live corduroys and skirts!
    P.S. - I never thought I'd make socks, but I enjoyed crocheting a pair awhile back, and mittens are fun as well!

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  29. I'm with Gertie. Never say never. You seem to like a sewing challenge.What will you sew when you have mastered all the normal stuff?

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  30. I doubt I'll ever sew utilitarian undies for myself - sounds too boring and I found a brand of RTW that I like. But I might be willing to sew some fancier lingerie some day. I'm also not interested in sewing jeans, but it does get tempting when I see other people do it so successfully.

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  31. I think I could enjoy sewing just about anything (except maybe dog coats). I've sewn lots home dec, baby and kids clothes, dresses, skirts, shirts, suits, and coats for me, husband shirts, and bags . . . yes, lots of bags. No lingerie, bathing suits, or the like yet . . . but never say never. Except to dog coats. The cats would never forgive me.

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  32. I'm thinkin;, I'm thinkin'... Probably pet clothes. They have fur. They don't need clothes.

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  33. Never say never. I'm actually sewing gloves at the moment.
    I made curtains a while back and decided I would never sew them again. By the time I bought the fabric and spent the time hemming all the edges I could have bought three sets from World Market.

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  34. i used to work someplace where we had lots of lycra (and i loved using the industrial sergers) so i got curious and drafted out a brief pattern to see how they would turn out. I loved them, a bit stretchy but overall good (i got good at setting in 3/8" elastic in the waistband and leg openings). I then made a boxer version (completely different animal though) and loved them too. I probably wont' make any more but it was a good experiment for the time..... Frank

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  35. I used to say I would never sew a quilt because it is dumb to buy fabric, cut it up and then sew it back together. But then I saw some pretty quilting fabric and I made a quilt. I think one is enough, though.

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  36. Ha! Not only did I just make the envelope bag from Simplicity 7004 (http://www.flickr.com/photos/24442514@N04/sets/72157625142322412/with/5071877571/), but bag C from Mccalls 8705 was the first sewing project I ever did! My mom helped, and I made it soooo long it hung to my knees. It served as a great bag all in high school. I think I will never make a tablecloth. It seems too simple to be worthwile. Otherwise, I'm willing to try just about anything...I think.

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  37. I'll sew most things, but I draw the line at knitting!

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  38. Hey Peter.

    I could totally see you in a pair of Python-leggings!

    What I definitely would not sew is underwear for my daughter - she outgrows it way to quickly, and has no special preferences in that area either.

    I do however sew tshirts for the entire family, dresses for DD, sweaters for my husband and anything my fancy strikes for myself. Have not yet had the courage to tackle a winter coat for myself yet, but it is on my toDo list for next fall.

    I even went so far as to sew duvet covers and pillowcases for us - our duvets come from Switzerland, and are much bigger than the standard size in Denmark. So anything store-bought would be too small...

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  39. Thanks for so positively mentioning my work and my blog Peter. I'm in the never say never group, but I avoid homedec sewing (especially curtains, hate to do it)and menswear. Would have said pajama's till this weekend dd mentioned she wanted to buy flannel pj-trousers "because they're so comfortable". When I saw the price I said I would make them for her...

    And I would not call the Dutch in general very modest. I choose to erase a lot of me when I show pictures of the bra's I make, and you won't ever, ever find me showing a complete set. Very sure about that!

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  40. Glove patterns always intrigued me until Ann (Gorgeous Fabrics) did a review on PR years ago. She mentioned the pattern had *23 pieces* and half of them looked the same. My glove making interest evaporated in a nanosecond!

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  41. i sew my own lingerie. i have spoiled my boys. they will not wear "store bought" undies. their wives will hate me for that. :)

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  42. I won't sew jeans and t-shirts. Tho' lately, I haven't been sewing much of anything at all. :(

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  43. Would love some patterns for men's briefs (preferably free) never say never life is for experimenting...enjoy

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