When I first started sewing in high school I was really into refashioning. I mean I did take sewing in middle school and made a couple of items from scratch but that didn’t spark my interest as much as refashioning did. I refashioned lots and lots of items, like a tie skirt, a tie vest, a twister dress, painted beach shoes, face shoes, an embroidered beach pocket, a refashioned prom dress, a seatbelt bible bag, a sweatshirt purse, a refashioned shirt dress, a lock and key tee, a beach tee, and a suspender tee. When I was in high school I had lots of ideas and made lots of things. I knew that I loved created and altering clothing so that I could show who I was and feel unique.
Once I got to college and started the clothing construction program I was sewing clothing from beginning to end. I was using the Big 4 patterns and fabric found at Hancocks/Walmart/Joanns. I enjoyed it but I still did a fair amount of refashioning because that was more satisfying. At some point during college I found Burdastyle and found that you could buy and print PDF patterns. I used one in one of my classes, and my teacher was frustrated; but I liked the freedom of being able to print it again.
Once I graduated from college and my husband started law school, I had almost no money to spend on fabric/supplies/patterns. Then I had my first child which really segmented my time. I only wanted quick projects to feel like I got something done. These combined meant I kept refashioning, and I started upcycling for my son.
After a couple of years I started making clothing from scratch, but I kept using Big 4 patterns, drafted my own patterns or I tested Indie PDF patterns. I didn’t know how to fit myself, draft well, or choose fabric correctly, so I was never that happy with the results. I was in a funk of sewing unworns, and didn’t know how to get out of it.
Then in 2014 when my husband was done with school and I had two kids, I sewed some items for Indiesew’s 2014 Winter Collection. Two of the items were great but not life-changing. When I sewed the Union St Tee *by Hey June Patterns, my mind was blown. I could get my necklines to look nice with this pattern! This pattern fits me, and I want to wear my tee all the time! The truth is looking back I know there are fit issues, but at the time it was better than anything I had made before.
I had only purchased a couple of Indie PDF patterns before and I had about the same success with them as I did the Union St Tee*. For whatever reason sewing the Union St Tee* opened my eyes to the potential of Indie patterns. Above you can see almost all the tees and one cardigan I made from the Union St Tee pattern*.
Since then I’ve slowly been building my collection of good Indie patterns that I use over and over again, and I’ve been amazed at how much I’ve learned and grown since using them. What I love the most about using Indie patterns is the extra details, instructions, and help that come in good patterns. It’s like someone is there to hold your hand through the difficult parts. Now I make good quality garments that I wear over and over. I’m so grateful for the online sewing community, the friends I’ve found, and the purpose I found.
What pattern opened your eyes and changed your life?