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Art Stitch

Art Stitch JillAlexa.com

ART STITCH – A Way of Life

You may wonder why I chose #Artstitch 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 NEVER-ENDING PASSIONS

Since early childhood, although being very active and adventurous and spent many 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.

Art Stitch JillAlexa

My mother also owned a Singer sewing machine but having an older sister who was very gifted in all handcrafts and being 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.

DOMESTIC SCIENCE

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.

PROGRESS

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 IN ALL ITS 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 amount 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. Would even sneak into the sewing room to check meterage to make quite sure there would be enough fabric if I did this or that. By morning 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.

As an avid seamstress and artist, my two passions: Art and Stitch, cannot be separated. What art are you busy stitching right now? Read more at JillAlexa.com #artstitch SUCCESSFUL VENTURES

  1. Dressmaking for myself, family and for commissions for children and adults
  2. Machine Embroidery
  3. Taught Dressmaking and Tailoring
  4. Made Leisurewear and Sportswear
  5. Wedding Gowns and Prom Dresses (Matric Dance Dresses) Waistcoats etc.
  6. Patchwork and Quilting/ commissions
  7. Curtains and Blinds, Cushions, Upholstery
  8. Specialised Medical Garments
  9. Alterations
  10. Oil Painting/Commissions

IMPORTANT EQUIPMENT FOR SUCCESSFUL SEWING

Over the years I have had a number of wonderful sewing machines. My Empisol 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 were 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 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 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.

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.

As an avid seamstress and artist, my two passions: Art and Stitch, cannot be separated. What art are you busy stitching right now? #artstitch
As an avid seamstress and artist, my two passions: Art and Stitch, cannot be separated. What art are you busy stitching right now? #artstitch

Jill du Preez

Creative Entrepreneur ● Seamstress | Quilter | Artist | Published Author | Creative Promoter of Emerging Artists

12 Comments

  1. What an insightful article Jill, I too enjoy getting out the sewing machine and the knitting needles, but my skills are at such a basic level its a little embarrassing. I think you may have inspired me to continue at it and increase my skill levels in order to create something I can be proud of, and hopefully teach my daughter as well. Thank you for sharing.

    • Hi Nicole, We all begin at the beginning and it is just practice that makes perfect ( if there is such a thing) in sewing. So glad you enjoy sewing. Thanks for reading and commenting on my article.

  2. Hi Jill

    You have written a great article here, my daughter loves sewing and she currently works in a wedding shop, she will love this page you have posted, i have sent her the link to this page.

    Keep posting these articles as i know she will be book marking them.

    • Thank you Chris for reading my post and the lovely comments. I do hope your daughter enjoys it and it will be great if she follows me. Have other posts she might be interested in too. All the best.

  3. What a fun article and I love the way you interacted with your audience! You seem like a fun spirit just through your writing! Congratulations on your award, I definitely understand the competitive streak! I guess we can say it wasn’t a negative thing that your son tore apart your machine, you came out ahead! Funny how life works!! You have the picture of what looks like a wedding dress, was that your design?

    • Hi Delanee, Thanks so much for reading my blog and the kind comments. No that was not one of my designs. Yes I did come out ahead when he undid the machine. Amazing what good can come out of what seems like a disaster.

  4. Hi Jill
    What a gorgeous site filled with so much creativity. I am a beginner when it comes to sewing, however, my dear friend is very good so I will point her to your site
    Beautiful work – wow

  5. Such a great site, so much creativity and passion has gone into your writing, I can tell. I’m an absolute beginner when it comes to stitch and sewing – do you have any resources or advice to get someone started who hasn’t actually sewn or done much stitching before?

    Thanks

  6. Hi Kegan,
    My best advice to you is go on a course or two. You can even do courses on line which amazes me. The best way is in a group as you get encouragement from the others and learn from them too.
    Wishing you all the best. Thank you for the lovely comments which I have only seen today, hence the delay in writing.
    best wishes,
    Jill

  7. Hi Jill,
    What a great article to read, I enjoyed every word you share here, as a quilter I’m always interested to read from other textile artist, I’m sure you have lots of good stories to share!

    • Hi Alejandra, Thank you so much for reading my article and for the lovely comments. Love working with fabric and love writing and encouraging others to sew.

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