In-Depth: Sew Far Sew Good

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This is the latest dress I have been fascinated by. Image from:

For my in-depth project, I have decided to study sewing. I have wanted to learn to sew for a long time and thought that this would be a great opportunity. After ending up taking a fashion merchandising class last year, I have been very fascinated with the way clothing is produced, sold, and recycled. This interest has led to a chronic case of online shopping (here are some websites) which opened the door to some realizations. I first realized that I really liked looking at pretty things. Secondly, I realized that I could not afford anything on the sites I was looking at. It simply was not feasible to buy a $2,000 blouse or a dress that costs as much as a year of university. Thirdly, I realized that most of the garments I admired from afar, were very simple; and then I came to my fourth realization. The realization that if I cannot buy it, maybe I can make it. Maybe I could make it better, with my own designs, with the perfect sizing, with the perfect materials, colours, prints and trims. I realized that I could really make something; something that could make me very happy.

This type of mentality (if I can’t find it, I will make it) is a part of my DNA. It is part of the reason why I chose to learn to make shoes for in-depth last year. It is the reason why my dad makes bags for a hobby, and why my grandmother sews. Through this type of mentality, I have learned that if you really want something, you have to work for it. However, it is nearly impossible to do anything alone.

I have begun to look for my mentor, and after a very good recommendation, I found Pam. She has been teaching sewing for over 30 years and is a very well-versed sewer. I have begun to pursue her as my mentor and I hope that it works out well. I know that last year, finding a mentor was one of the most difficult parts of in-depth. However, I have begun to search for other people that could possibly be my mentor if Pam cannot be. I have not contacted anyone as of yet, but will do so next week if I do not have a more solid response from Pam. I have looked at sewing teachers in Port Coquitlam, and Coquitlam as well as at local classes at sewing shops like Fabricana. If all else fails, I kind neighbour has offered to help me in this endeavour after hearing about my search for a sewing mentor. However, I would prefer to step further outside of my comfort zone and work with someone new, and someone who is a professional in the field. I hope to cultivate a strong relationship with my mentor, as I have maintained with my mentor from last year. I strive to talk openly about feedback, maintain not only a good working relationship but a friendly relationship with my mentor, and to work together to make the best plan for my learning.

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Its a time to sew! Image sourced from:

I have made some rather ambitious goals for my learning. I am aiming to make a mini-collection of three different looks that each show the sewing techniques I have learned. Ideally I would make one dress, one skirt, one pair of pants, a blouse, and a simple jacket (maybe cape style). All of the garments would be very simple in silhouette as to not complicate myself. This is a rather difficult goal for the allotted time but I feel very passionately about this endeavour and will work hard to achieve it. Some specific sewing skills I would like to learn are: sewing with different stitches, patching old clothing, hemming clothing, installing buttons, zippers, elastics waists, and pockets, as well installing zippers, and adding details like embroidery, piping, and applique. I would also ideally like to learn how to change fabrics by ruching, pleating, and layering. Learning some good pre-sewing techniques like: designing with practicality in mind, choosing appropriate materials as well as treating them, and patterning clothing are also all very important to me.

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Ideas for a possible final product…

For the final presentation, I would ideally like to have a mini-fashion show to showcase the clothes I have made. For this presentation style to work, I would need time on the stage to present, models to wear the clothing, music to go with the catwalk portion of the presentation, and a speech to go with the rest of the presentation. To add to the presentation, Ms. Mulder has suggested that I create a few small pieces for the MC’s of the in-depth night, and I really like the sound of that idea. However, if my sewing skills are not at that level yet, or if I have not finished enough pieces at that time than I will make a small station with a poster board showing the steps I took in learning to sew and in creating the garments; showing physical evidence like patterns, designs, and fabric swatches to illustrate the complexity of the project. I would still also continue to display my final products in this scenario. However, I hope that the first option works out.

I have not done a lot so far for in-depth besides contacting a possible mentor, learning some basic sewing terms (enough to make more specific goals), making my learner’s contract, and researching for my in-depth research essay. However, everything has been going very well so far and I am very excited thinking about the final products.

I am very happy with my choice of in-depth project this year; I think that picking something like sewing is good because it is a very good life skill to have. I believe that in the future if I ever have to modify clothes for a job interview and such I would have the ability to. It would also be a great skill because I can then make clothes for myself to save money, trust in the quality, trust in the ethics of the garment, and have clothes that best suit me. I am excited to hear that Emily is also studying sewing this year and I hope that we get the chance to connect and collaborate. In-depth is off to a great start this year and I hope this positivity carries over into May and beyond.

I am looking forward to seeing the in-depth projects of all the Talons this year develop over the course of the next five months. I know that seeing everyone develop all of this new knowledge and skills will be quite the sight to see. Good luck to everyone!

Update: In case you were wondering, I am still working on my in-depth project from last year. I have just finished lasting my shoes and will soon start to put on the soling. I am going in to the shop tomorrow and will upload some pictures for a progress update then. The shoes, obviously, took a lot longer than expected. However, I am very happy that I have stuck with this project; it has brought a lot of great things into my life including a job and a few new friends. I hope to finish the shoes in time for this years in-depth; I hope to wear them on the day of, but am afraid that my feet will have out-grown the shoes by the time they are finished. It is looking like I will finish in March, so I have some extra time before May if anything goes wrong.

One thought on “In-Depth: Sew Far Sew Good”

  1. Another project that is clearly planned and researched. You are realistic, having thought about what may or may not be possible. This choice is relevant to you and offers you another skill that is going to come in handy once in a while. I did not learn to sew after completing university!
    Enjoy the experience.

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