Tuesday, July 27, 2010

I thought I'd make a little introduction post for newer followers who might not know my story. :) [Check out Rachel and LA's sewing stories too!]

biopic3 bioouttake
[my first sewing machine! and the boy who is always by my side when I'm sewing...whether I want him to be or not]

My grandma sewed, and when she passed away I inherited her pristine 70’s
Pfaff sewing machine. I started teaching myself how to sew by tracing skirts and making new ones from $1 Wal-Mart fabric, staying up all night to have them done by school the next day. I learned how to insert a zipper by reading the instructions on the zipper package (this is a really good way to learn the wrong way to do things!).

I even tried, and failed multiple times, to learn how to sew by using patterns. All
through my senior year of high school and freshman year of college, I thought
I just wasn’t cut out for sewing because I couldn’t master basic patterns. Sad
fact, but I remember crying about it, because in my heart I knew I was meant
to be a seamstress! I truly believe a class like this could have saved me a ton
of heartache, which is a big reason I’m so excited to be one of Home Ec's teachers!

quilt progress
[probably my favorite project of all time--even though it's still not finished!]

Sophomore year, I started working at Hancock Fabrics, where I asked a ton
of questions…to my coworkers, and especially my customers—anyone who
had something in their hands that I didn’t know about! You’d be surprised how
much usable knowledge you can get from the question “and what project are
you working on today?” I also bought a ton of fabric while I was there! Being
surrounded by interesting and inspiring materials is a great way to learn, just be
conscious of keeping your stash under control.

[that's a lot of fabric! these are just the quilting cottons...minus the ones hanging in the closet...and the tub of vintage sheets. oh and I believe there have been a few more bins since this was taken as well...]

I had worked in the fabric world for nearly three years when one morning, a
customer I’d been helping said, “You know, the alterations shop I go to has a
hiring sign out front.” My heart skipped, and I felt a change coming. Leave retail
to spend all day sewing? Yes please! I called them on my lunch break to confirm
they were looking for a seamstress, and went in the next day with a pile of my
best work to apply. I was hired on the spot.

Nixa Fall Craft Fair
[my first craft show was definitely not my best--I profited $5!--but it was awesome because my mom was there for me]

I spent the next eight months, full time, learning how to sew the right way. Of
course, there is no one way to sew anything. But, the best thing you can do is to
find your ‘seamstress instinct’…from then on, everything you do will be the right
way! Just maybe not the first time…in my experience.

Working at the alterations shop gave me the confidence I needed to follow my
sewing dreams. I participated in three craft shows, started a blog, and an etsy
shop. When I met Elsie, Rachel, and LA, and was given side-jobs to do for RVA,
I started to realize I might be able to make it on my own. I gave my notice in
May, and I am now a freelance, self-employed seamstress! It took six years
to go from unreachable aspiration to workable dream, and I am so happy I stuck
with it.

[a few colorful tabletop necessities]

I'd love to pass on what I've learned to others, so if you think I sound qualified for the job you might want to sign up for Home Ec. We're all really looking forward to it! I think the most anticipated lesson of mine is "How to Read a Commercial Pattern"....which, as you might guess from my confession earlier, terrifies me just a bit! But fear is good. It inspires growth. :)

[And pssst, a little secret? I'm actually super excited to learn what Rachel and LA are teaching, too! I especially can't wait to make LA's tool roll-up and Rachel's leather/canvas purse.]


You can sign up for the class in the upper right sidebar of my blog, go here and here for more information, and email LA at FreckledNest@gmail.com with any questions.


sarah nicole said...

So inspiring! I don't even know you and I am proud of you!

Anonymous said...

I am in love with this entire post!! I wish I had an extra 60 dollars!!

emily b said...

What a great story! You are so inspiring. I'm signed up for the Home Ec course and I CANNOT WAIT to learn from you ladies! -e

skunkboy said...

Courtney, you're the cutest! I love the dress that you altered for me-- you do amazing work! <3

Anonymous said...

Love your story. I signed up for the class and I'm so excited to start, too!

Carol Anne said...

So I signed up for the class the other night. Just so you know I signed up mostly because I saw that you were one of the teachers. I think your work is fantastic and I hope to finally get over my fear of my sewing machine!! :)

courtney.janelle.sews said...

thank you all for your sweet comments! for serious, you had me running up to Mark with a happy tear in my eye babbling something about "blog post" and "home ec" and "you have to read this!" :)