So, as the story of my first sewing machine continues, I find myself blushing. It was 2003 and I had this new sewing machine sitting on my kitchen table in a small apartment, and that's it. I didn't even own a pair of scissors. So I got my purse, found a local store that had fabric and walked around the store terrified! I ended up buying a couple patterns, some very ugly fabric, scissors and white thread. I rushed home filled with excitement for this new adventure. I read through the machine manual, several times, and decided that I was ready. I have never been a fan of following the "rules" per say, so the patterns didn't interest me at first. I decided that I would get my scissors out and just cut some squares. If Aunt Fanny could do it, so could I, right? Let me tell you, looking back these pieces were anything but square! I made a few rows, then I tried sewing them into quadrants, and eventually I ended up with a big piece all stitched up on the floor of my living room. It didn't look good. I didn't even have an iron. Who knew I was going to need thatt!!?? At this point, I decided I would look at those patterns again, to see if they would help me with the next step... Mark the quilt with a pencil, baste the three layers together, Bla, Bla, Bla, hand quilt with needles and tread, Bla Bla, Bla, then hand-baste a scant 1/4 from the edge... WHATS A SCANT???? Why are we talking so much about basting?? So I called Jody. When all else fails, I always call my BFF, Jody. There was no YouTube, or tutorials online, no FaceTime, just a phone (I'm too old for that lol). So I explained my dilemma, I read her a few lines from the patterns and I say to her with all seriousness...
"Does baste mean I have to get it wet to hold it all together, like when you baste a turkey" OMG, yes I just said that. Jody laughed so hard, we both started crying!! So after a lot of laughing, and a little coaching by phone with my dear friend, I decided that I would jump right in.
So I put a flat bed sheet from the closet on top of the quilt front and I sewed three sides together (like a pillow case for the jolly green giant) and then I flipped it right side out.
Next, I actually got inside the giant pillow case on my hands and knees and shoved the batting stuff inside and tried my best to make the scissor cut edges reach the 4 corners. Then I flipped the fourth side in and sewed a top stitch. I then stitched around a few of the squares in the center of the quilt with my sewing machine, and I was done. It was very ugly, and not square, but I made something. I learned to do something with very little help, and from that day on I have never stopped calling poor Jody for advice.
As I sit here this evening in my sewing room, filled with every quilting tool there is on the market, surrounded by machines I never dreamed I would own, I am proud of myself. I love teaching other young woman that it is okay to make mistakes, do stupid things, and laugh at yourself, a lot! Have some fun, and don't give up, and someday you will be making things you never dreamed.
DO YOU SEE ANYTHING WRONG WITH THIS PICTURE? LOL
Well its a very good example of what the start of my sewing career looked like. Not quite right.
As a young girl growing up in a pretty rough part of Chicago, Illinois
I spent a lot of time wondering what I would be, and who I would become when I grew up. Well, it took me a long time to figure it out, correctly.
Man.....my life really sucked there for a long while, and I'll tell you more about that later... But, for now, I will tell you that sewing is what fixed me.
I got my first sewing machine from Walmart, it was a little Brother machine, that was under $100, and I loved it! I didn't have any idea how to use it. I had never used a sewing machine, and nobody in my family ever did either. But, my Mom always told me "you can be anything you want if you try hard enough" so I knew I could figure it out, because I wanted to real bad! I had gone to a wedding shower a few months before that for my BFF, Jody. As she was opening her gifts, one of them really caught my eye, it was a little pile of cloth cut into small squares. They were given to her from her Great Aunt Franny, and I sat there looking at them with my curious mind racing, "what in the hell was Jody going to do with those little pieces of cloth?" So, I asked Aunt Franny. She explained to me that many years ago people used to transport grains, seeds and animal feed in fabric feedsacks. It didn't take long for the thrifty farm wives to discover that those sacks could be used to make clothes, toys, diapers, dish rags, and...... yes, you guessed it QUILTS!
Aunt Franny had saved them, and gifted them to Jody to be used again in a modern day journey. I loved this story! I wanted my own pile of feedsack fabric and I wanted to learn how to make something with them. However, quilting wasn't exactly a happenin' kind of hobby among 20 year old girls, and since nobody in my own family was around to teach me, I decided I would do it myself! And let me tell you, I made some ridiculous things before I figured it all out!
Hey Y'all, I'm Gina Tell! I live on Lake Travis just North of Austin Texas. I'm a full time long arm quilter and lover of all this art and outdoors!!