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a home + living guide for the post-college, pre-parenthood, quasi-adult generation

04.04.2005

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sew easier
how to buy a sewing machine

by Yee-Fan Sun
| 1 2 3 

My mom grew up in a time and place where girls all learned how to sew. She sewed her own mod mini-dresses and hippie bell-bottoms in the 60s and 70s; she dressed my little girl self in cool dresses she'd crafted from scratch, making me the envy of all my pre-school friends. Mom splurged on Marimekko fabrics the first time they were in fashion, whipping up bold colorful curtains and floor pillows in designer graphic prints for our little suburban house. As a kid, I thought they seemed so loud and weird compared to the quaint readymade floral goods my friends' mothers seemed to favor in their own homes; looking back now, I find myself coveting those curtains I used to mock, and amazed to realize that my mom had cool taste. 

Growing up I always knew that if I saw some dress in the store that was too expensive, or the fabric wasn't quite right, it could be copied by my mom at home. I took my mother's sewing skills so for granted, in fact, that for a large portion of my life, I didn't bother perfecting any real sewing skills of my own. Every once in awhile, I'd get the crazy idea to try to make a skirt or something, but inevitably, the project would be abandoned as soon as the novelty of shopping for materials and perusing patterns had worn off.

It wasn't until I was getting ready to move out of the parental nest for good that I realized how much I would miss my mom's sewing expertise. As I eagerly started window-shopping around for ideas on how to deck out my cool future digs, I discovered that things like throw pillows and duvet covers were really rather pricey, considering they consisted of little more than two squares of fabric joined together around the edges. With just a few weeks left before I was due to make the cross-country move, I decided to take advantage of mom's guidance and sewing machine, and asked her to help me make a set of pillow covers to kick-start the decorating of my first semi-permanent post-college pad. Despite the rush job and some less-than-perfectly straight seams, those pillows came out beautifully, and soon became some of my favorite things in my new digs. That first project got me hooked on the merits of being able to sew. By the following Christmas, when it came time to make up the annual wish list, I asked for just one thing: a sewing machine.

mosey along folks

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