September is National Sewing Month, the perfect excuse to revel in fabric and thread — with the understanding, of course, that such revels can lead to ravels, cloth fixation, sewing machine envy, thread lust — and that’s just the head of the pin.
Now that you have been warned, there’s no reason not to revel if you already are hooked on sewing, and no reason not to leap into the skill if you so desire. A trip to a shop that sells sewing machines and fabric, a visit to nationalsewingmonth.org or the American sewing guild website at bangormeasg.com, or a conversation with someone who sews is a good way to begin.
My latest trip to a fabric department yielded several yards of olive drab, 100 percent cotton, 54 inches wide knit fabric, $1.49 per yard. This is a perfect example of the lunacy that can flutter into your days as a person who sews. As colors go, olive drab is pretty low on my list. I greatly dislike sewing with knit fabric, cotton or otherwise. But there I was leaving the store with this wad of fabric under my arm. Under normal circumstances, I might have lugged it home, tossed on the stash pile and let it sit for months — or years. But recently I discovered in my trove of patterns one that required cotton knit fabric. It was a design for a short-sleeved top, cropped yoga pants and a skirt with lots of swirl. Simple lines. Straight sewing. No darts or zippers. Elastic in the waistbands. New Look pattern 6977.
Within an hour I had cut out the skirt and the yoga pants, and I still had half a yard of fabric left.
I set up my sewing machine on the kitchen table, found some thread to match the fabric, got things ready to roll — then the cat leaped onto the table and did a four-legged dance in the middle of the patterns pieces. She loved the rustle of the pattern paper. After she was disengaged, disentangled and banished to the cellar for the duration, I tuned the radio to a station broadcasting from the American Folk Festival and got to work. I sewed to Chinese music, Eskimo music and the blues.
Sewing with this particular knit fabric wasn’t as bad as I feared. The ballpoint needle kept “pucker factor” at bay and trimming the seams reduced bulk where seam lines intersected. Two hours later I had a new skirt and a new pair of pants which fit really well (and a new appreciation for the intricacies of Chinese and Eskimo music). But the fit of the skirt and pants did not cancel out the color of the fabric, which was becoming more and more disagreeable every time I looked at it. Guess I’d better think on it, I told myself.
Well, it’s more than a week later and I am still thinking on it. Accessorizing was my first idea — maybe a coral shirt, maybe a scarf in multi-shades of blue. A yellow jacket? Don’t know yet. My second idea was to sew a purchased, silvery butterfly applique on the skirt — you know, in the tradition of the 1950s poodle skirts. But the butterfly seemed a bit weighty, and flighty, for the drape of the fabric. I’m still thinking.
As for the rest of National Sewing Month, I have yards of pink wool fabric waiting for the scissors. It’s going to become a jacket to wear during November and December, the darkest months of the year, when pink is a necessity.
For those of you who yearn to sew, I urge you — just do it. The worst that can happen is that you will be attracted to some perfectly ghastly fabric. The best that can happen is that you will acquire a wonderful new skill that will bring great joy long after National Sewing Month. And who knows, you might end up on Lifetime’s “Project Runway.”
Come Spring Quilters will hold its first meeting of the season 5-8 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 22, at the People’s Methodist Church, Route 235, in Union. New members and beginners are invited to attend. The group is planning to begin making quilts for disadvantaged children. Bring rotary cutters, cutting mats and fabric scraps.
Soup and desserts will be available, or bring a sandwich. For information, call 273-3331 or 785-513.
The Area 6 Fall Meeting will be held 6 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 22, at East Orrington Congregational Church, 38 Johnson Mill Road, Orrington. The meeting will be hosted by the Bear Paws Quilting Chapter.
Barbara Duffy, “The Gadget Lady”, will talk about all sorts of quilting gadgets.
Bring projects you have been working on for a Show and Tell session. Also bring any favorite gadgets. Bring your own brown bag supper. Beverages and dessert will be provided by Bear Paws.
A $3 donation at the door is requested to help defray expenses.
Nonmembers are welcome to attend. For information, call Khris LaChance, Area 6 representative, at 223-5424.
Call Ardeana Hamlin at 990-8153, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.