On my way to doing something else, I started pulling fabric out of my stash closet.
I soon had a mess in search of a project.
A few YouTube videos later, I started to do some “improvisational piecing,” no goal in mind, except to turn small bits of fabric into larger bits of fabric.
It felt good. Trimming amorphous shapes into rectangles. Zipping through the quarter-inch seams. Pressing the new cloth flat. Trying a few variations based on what surfaced from the closet. I felt like a piano player enjoying my five-finger exercises. (See photo at top.)
Then I spotted the reversible “bowl cozy” videos. FAST! EASY!! And useful. But alas, not so fast. Not so easy. They involved thick sandwiches of batting and fabric. And darts. And top-stitching. I had to figure out the right sewing machine needles. After laboring to produce five of them, I decided they were great, but not fast or easy enought to produce as quickie Xmas gifts. (See photo at top.)
Looking for something even FASTER and even EASIER, I landed on reusable cloth shopping bags–the lightweight kind you can tuck away in your purse or coat pocket till needed. I had 1-1/2 yards of lovely home-decor material to devote to the project. The first bag was fast and easy all right, but looked like crap, because the seams were all unfinished. “Here’s a gift you won’t mind losing!”
I spent hours dicking around with a “neckline” solution for the just-shoot-me curved openings. For #2, I bit the bullet and made a facing and did edge- and top-stitching. For the side seams I learned how to use the overcast feature on the sewing machine.
Imperfect as they were, I filled them with local food products for our Brooklyn-based grandchildren and they were happy enough.
But I was still grumbling to myself about seams. There was enough fabric for one more bag. Serger-style overcast edges are so Walmart. I have enough couturière in me to aspire higher. So today, I managed to do a rolled hem on the facing (the hard way, after failing to master the rolled hem foot on my machine). And I did flat-felled side seams–beautiful. Yet I still see areas for improvement. (See photo at top.)
If you have read this far, I will tell you that sewing is good for brain health. There are lots of 3-D challenges, but they are all solvable. I don’t know if solving them generates new brain cells, but it is comforting to know the old brain cells still work. The pleasing repetitive motions bathe the brain in dopamine and seratonin–happy chemicals. So, it is meditation with something to show for it.
It’s never too late to learn.