My name is Franzi and I have been sewing since 2010. My mom taught me a few things when I was maybe 7 or 8 years old but between then and  2010 I did not touch a sewing machine. I guess you can say that I found sewing unsexy and “for old people.”

What got me back into sewing was my grandma. She had gotten ill (terminal cancer) and was dividing up her possessions among all grandchildren. I did not want any jewelry or money, I asked if I could get her sewing machine. She had a mid 1990’s Singer with no instructional booklet but I knew it worked and that was all I needed. Looking back now, I wish I had asked her for her top 10 tricks of how to sew. The only thing she voluntarily passed along to me was: “Always start with the needle down!”

Hauling the machine home in my little carry-on bag with wheels, I felt creative, empowered, and elated to start a new hobby. The wake-up call came when I set up the machine at home and realized that I had no clue what I was doing. Thanks to the internet and google, I was able to thread the machine, refresh some basics and then I just sat down and sewed.

crazy patch pillowcase
crazy patch pillowcase
crazy patch in the making
crazy patch in the making

What I really wanted to sew were quilts. I love these huge blankets with a beautiful pattern, made with so much love over weeks and weeks on end (later I realized you can finish one in a day if you know what you’re doing, lol). I wanted to make a quilt! As you might guess by now, I didn’t know where to start so I thought if I start with one patch and turn that into a pillowcase, I will understand what patchworking and quilting is all about and boom, in no time I’ll be a pro.

Well, being a pro is still light years away but I did manage to make a pillowcase. I messed up the first few because I wanted to sew in a zipper and I had no idea how to.

Those two funky-zipper pillowcases were donated to my mom who naturally has to love everything I make because she’s my mom and moms love their kids creative outbursts.

The second pillows I made were again a patchwork pattern. I  stuffed them, avoiding another zipper debacle, and they looked so much better. I was so proud of them I sent them to my grandma. Now you have to know, she never was one to praise  or give compliments. She was more matter of factly. But when she received the pillows she called me up and thanked me and said that they were so well sewn! I was beaming with pride – I really did not expect that.

stuffed patchwork pillow
stuffed patchwork pillow
a somewhat discernible pattern
a somewhat discernible pattern

So I called up my mom who was stunned also. Apparently in all the years she had known her mother-in-law my mom was always criticized for her sewing (no straight lines, cut against the grain etc.) so me getting that compliment was like being knighted. And it was a motivation to continue. Aside from a brief absence while I moved across the ocean and got settled in my new life, I have been sewing ever since and moved up from pillow cases to king sized quilts, baby blankets and bedding, to clothes that actually fit.

This blog is a sewing diary and traces my steps as I learn more about sewing in a trial-and-error fashion (ha, punny!).

Enjoy the read,

Franzi

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