Wear What You Make: The Act of Sewing
Just a quick note to say that you’ll find the recording of our delightful and instructive Zoom conversation with Sonya here.
—Ann and Kay
As you now know from Jillian Moreno’s writeup here, all that time I wasn’t writing my monthly “Wear What You Make” column—I was writing a book!
It’s called The Act of Sewing: How to Make and Modify Clothes to Wear Every Day. I like to think of it as a guide book of mix-and-match hacks for people intrepidly exploring the world of garment sewing.
Tie-Front Shirt; Shirt lengthened to a dress and ruffle added and Trousers with cuff modification; All Garments in THE Act of Sewing.
Writing a book is a long and lonely endeavor. It began in the fall of 2018, when I put together a proposal. I entered into it thinking I had some experience; after all, I have a creative writing degree under my belt. I’ve had my words workshopped! Needless to say, that wasn’t adequate preparation. It is one thing sitting in a room with a group of people discussing your poem, it’s quite another thing to go through the rigors that are multiple rounds of tech editing, copy editing, and proof reading.
Top with panel and Skirt with cut-away pockets.
When you knit a cardigan in pieces, the progression of knitting and purling the rows can seem like a crawl, especially when it comes to sleeves! Then you have a blissful moments of satisfaction when the last stitch is made, before realizing there’s so much more to go before you’re wearing the garment. There’s still weaving in ends, blocking, seaming, perhaps the button band or collar need knitting, and my least favorite part: sewing on the buttons. Completing the manuscript was something very close to this experience.
Shirt with V-neck and gathered cuffs, Shirt adjusted to be sleeveless and lengthened to a dress, and Trousers.
I spent five months writing and another three months working on the illustrations. Then there was a ten-month stretch where I was working on it on and off as it moved through the various stages of production, giving my opinions and making decisions. So many emails! In the middle of this, my laptop took a dive off the arm of the sofa and the resulting crack and flickering required a new screen. Then that screen developed a fault and it needed replacing two months later. The timing was not great.
Shirt with cap sleeves and Skirt with in-seam pockets
But seeing my book for the first time, an actual physical object, not ideas in my head or words on a screen—it’s quite a feeling. I am so thrilled to share it with you. Strap in, select your pattern and modifications and away you sew!