Do you sew for the glamour of creativity or for very practical reasons?
As creative as I like to be in the sewing room, there are times when I just need to get a job done. There are times when a Bleached Marigold Dress, Blockprinted Catalina Dress, or a Bird Tessalation Dress are simply too fussy and time consuming. And to be honest, it’s good once in a while to take a break from my attempts at innovation and just do some fast, down and dirty kind of sewing. I, like my Great-Grandma before me am not the type to sit and twiddle my thumbs at the end of a big project. I’d prefer “resting” by working, although in a different sort of manner.
This weekend, I decided to do make up a large batch of summer pajamas and some extra tees for my two oldest boys. #1 outgrew all of his pajamas some time ago, so all of this has been much needed. I recently bought a bunch of boy friendly fabric and it was high time that I cut into everything. So I cut, and I cut, and I cut some more. I actually had no idea how many things I had cut out until I sorted all my little stacks when I got to my sewing group on Saturday. As it turned out, I had 12 things things cut out. I was able to complete 8.8 in 3 hours. I couldn’t finish all of them because I ran out of elastic (hence the .8) and cut out neckbands with the wrong stretch (my boys have big heads, so it ends poorly for all when neckbands don’t have enough stretch).
I set about following my procedures I’m assembled for batch sewing and I had a very easy, stress free time of making tees and pajama shorts. I sincerely love how batch sewing affords you the opportunity to really fine tune your efficiency and improve your construction methods.
I read a bunch of material this week on industrial sewing, and though I had to stop because the particular author was very critical of home sewers, it was fascinating to think about the ways that you can do the best job you can in the time you’ve been allotted. I certainly appreciate the difference in our stations–she’s trying to make a living by motivating the elves working for her. If elf #1 does her own thing in her own sweet time, the whole line breaks down, and the customer has to wait. For home sewists, we’re chief, cook, and bottle washers in our sewing rooms, so we can’t possibly produce as much as a whole fleet given ultra fast machines and stacks of fabric at their stations can. I would love to sew in a place where I had an industrial machine and people giving me already cut-out projects, but then again, if I was doing that, I probably wouldn’t enjoy my work as much as I do.
The tee pattern is Blank Slate Pattern’s Tee X3, and the pajama shorts I drafted myself from a pair of my son’s woven shorts. I finished up everything plus a couple more tees for good measure.
At the end of it all, I’m very glad that everyone has drawers full of clothes that fit again and that I can move on to projects I can take a little more time doing. At least for a few months.
Do you ever do large batches of relatively simple sewing for the sheer practicality of it all, or do you prefer to do one project at a time?
My full review of TeeX3 is here.