Sewing Projects

BUDAPEST, HUNGARY: My first winter in Budapest was one of settling in and sewing. Reviewing the various articles of clothing I made, I admit to being surprised that my skills have improved somewhat over the years, in spite of the time away from the sewing machine. I have not sewn since leaving New York the first time, and even then at least a couple years prior to that.

Antique Singer treadle sewing machine.
Singer hand crank treadle sewing machine. An antique toy but it works!

If I had to analyse why my ability to sew has gotten better, I would have to pin it on two things (pun somewhat intended). The first reason is my patience. When I used to sew outfits and dresses for myself I would bash through them as quick as quick can, often frustrated if a dress was incomplete after a day’s dedication. My motivation was to get to the end as soon as possible. The instructions made it seem easy enough. I hadn’t yet learned to properly finish my seams or add in zippers, use all the attachments my machine provided or the various stitches on offer. I stayed as far away from buttonholes as possible. What’s changed in the last 15 years, approximately, is patience. I now enjoy the journey as much as the destination, and I think the results speak for themselves.

The second contribution to my sewing proficiency are my tools. The sewing room of my past was a cramped living room with the sewing machine typically perched on my coffee table in the middle. I would find pins woven into the carpet, threads tangled in my vacuum cleaner, a small box my mother gave me the sole container of my hotchpotch mix of sewing paraphernalia. Not much of a collection. Since moving to Budapest and having a bit more space to spread out, I now have a dressing room / sewing room combination. It is complete with a large sewing table I keep fairly sparse to allow room for cutting fabric and patterns out. I have a rotary cutter and healing board, saves the hands from cramping in scissors when cutting out small details. My measuring tools include many measuring tapes but also a French curve, a long ruler with the average seam allowance marked, a hem gauge and a curved ruler for adjusting hips and curves in patterns. My dress form is good for a model and get’s the fit close.

More sewing post to come.

Leave a Reply