My mom taught me to sew when I was little. She's an accomplished seamstress, as was my grandmother and my great-grandmother before that. I remember one of my first sewing projects when I was about 8? A pajama set of flannel shorts and a shirt. I was so angry at it - it just wasn't working out or much fun to sew. I finished it but wasn't very proud of the end result. Even with the disappointment of some of those early projects, something about sewing inspired me and pushed me to keep at it. I liked the idea of making something useful, and seeing just a piece of fabric evolve into a wearable garment by the work of my own hands. Even now, that's what motivates me to design and sew. I've always been an arty, creative type but never got total satisfaction out of drawing, painting, or making other stuff that just sits around and collects dust. I wanted more - I want to make things I can use over and over, like a jacket to keep me warm or a bag to hold my belongings. I admire carpenters, welders, cooks, and gardeners - people who use their skills to make useful things that reflect their creativity. I never remember a point where I decided I wanted to be a designer or seamstress, it just sort of picked me.
Sewing is challenging and can be incredibly frustrating, especially if you're largely self taught. I've been to some design school, from which I've learned a lot, but making mistakes and studying other garments had taught me more. As with most skilled crafts, there is always room for improvement. I still get discouraged and have much to learn, but looking back over my years of sewing, I realize I've come a long way from those flannel pajamas.
Below are some things pulled from the depths of my closet that I made somewhere between 2002-2004 (because sometimes it's fun to look back and see then & now).