ART STITCH – A Way of Life
You may wonder why I chose Art Stitch as the title of this post but as an avid seamstress and artist, I wanted to combine the two. In my mind, these two passions cannot be separated. They are integral in my life and have been for many years.
THE BEGINNING OF ART STITCH A NEVER-ENDING PASSION
Since early childhood, although being very active and adventurous and spending many happy hours outdoors making forts, climbing trees and generally running wild in the bush.
I was also passionate about drawing, making paper dolls and their clothing.
When I was nine I received for my birthday a child’s Singer sewing machine, my joy held no bounds. It was on this machine that I learned the fun of making dolls clothes, dressing the dolls and the long-suffering Spaniel, Lady, in them.
My mother also owned a Singer sewing machine but having an older sister who was very gifted in all handcrafts and being the third girl a family of four children, it was Pat who was allowed to use Mom’s machine.
We didn’t have the funds for “wasting” money on fabric which might be messed up my efforts.
Sewing at school was to me an absolute bore and as our Domestic Science Teacher was more apt to teach us Housewifery skills, like washing her dishes and pots and pans after having guests the night before, polishing the furniture in her flat which was on the school property, very little was done in the sewing line.
My knitting ability was abysmal, to say the least. It was knit one, drop one and at the end of the year had a scarf with so many holes from all the dropped stitches. A lot of pulling out went on and gnashing of teeth. It was laughable in retrospect.
Oddly, years later I actually won a knitting prize at the Women’s Agricultural Association. My competitive streak had kicked in my then.
THE BIRTH OF ART STITCH
As a birthday gift I was given a pattern, fabric and the use of Mom’s machine to see what I could do and from then on was allowed the use of the machine. My love of fabrics and anything to do with fabric was well on its way.
Now it was time to blend my two loves, Art and Sewing.
ART STITCH IN ITS MANY FORMS
When choosing a piece of fabric for a dress, the fabric in itself is an artwork. It was carefully designed and printed to be made into a fabric to entice you to sew into something practical or spectacular.
It is entirely your choice what you will be making with it. That is such an exciting prospect for any dressmaker, quilter or Textile Artist
The number of time I have lain in bed with ideas whirling about in my brain of what to do with the fabric I had bought, designing various outfits, quite unable to sleep.
I would even sneak into the sewing room during the night to check meterage to make quite sure there would be enough fabric if I did this or that. By morning I would often have a clear idea of exactly what to make and how to go about it.
HAPPY REWARDING YEARS OF SEWING AND PAINTING
After years of sewing and painting and all the trials and errors, the truth is that the more you practice, the better you get. What makes these passions so exciting is that there are always new machines, sewing notions and painting disciplines to explore.
SUCCESSFUL – SMALL BUSINESS VENTURES
- Dressmaking for myself, family and for commissions for children and adults
- Machine Embroidery
- Taught Dressmaking and Tailoring
- Made Leisurewear and Sportswear
- Wedding Gowns and Prom Dresses (Matric Dance Dresses) Waistcoats etc.
- Patchwork and Quilting/ commissions
- Curtains and Blinds, Cushions, Upholstery
- Specialized Medical Garments
- Oil Painting/Commissions
IMPORTANT EQUIPMENT FOR SUCCESSFULLY SEWING ART WORKS
Over the years I have had a number of wonderful sewing machines. My Empisal sewing machine which was given to me by my parents on my 21st birthday was taken apart very successfully by my son when he was 2years old.
We didn’t ever find all the bits and bobs and screws and as a surprise, my husband bought me my first Bernina.
This machine has now been passed down to my grand-daughter and I have a Bernina which I use for normal sewing and quilting.
This machine is approximately 25years old now. The Embroidery machine is a Brother, also ancient but still sews perfectly.
Both of these are second-hand, passed on to me by a very close friend, Kirsty.
When I was making all the leisure wear, tracksuits, leotards, bathing costumes etc. there was a need to buy a Baby lock Serger (overlocker). This was 35 years ago and I am still using the 3thread Baby lock. I do have dreams of replacing this with a new bigger one, which threads itself. My eyesight is not great.
Talking of my eyesight, one of the essentials in my sewing room is a light with a magnifying glass which is essential when threading a needle with a minute eye, with invisible thread to sew crystal beads onto wedding gowns.
I have found that the headlight works wonders when threading any needle.
THE BALL IS NOW IN YOUR COURT – WHAT CREATIONS ARE YOU BUSY WITH?
It would be lovely to hear from you of your experiences and what works for you and if you have any questions or challenges to do with something you are making or want to make, please feel free to send me a message and together I am sure we will be able to work it out.
What artworks are you busy stitching? Have a happy creative day.