My Sewing Story

Beautiful Things come together One Stitch at a time


Being able to create something has always been one of the most fulfilling things for me. One of the many creates I like doing is sewing. I have been sewing since 2010, and although I have taken numerous lessons, I always learn something new from different people. In this post I would like to share with you how I learned sewing and some resources that I used to learn more about sewing and fashion-making.


Dress - DIY // Necklace - MichaStore.com // Mules - Forever XXI


I first started sewing when I was in college. Back in Indonesia, I never imagined myself seeing or even touching sewing machines. I don't quite remember how my family got me a sewing machine, but they did buy me a simple brother sewing machine to start my journey. When I first got it, I was so amazed, but then I didn't know much how to use it, create things, and so I asked my friend, Becca, who back then was helping the theater students create their costume, to teach me how to setup my sewing machine and how to make a dress. Thanks to her, I created my very first simple sloppy dress below:


Back then I started creating dress using a commercial sewing patterns, but I really wanted to make 'my own dress' so I attempted to create my own pattern directly to the fashion fabric using a sharpie. Bad.. Bad.. Bad.. This is when you have no patience in the world and too enthusiastic to see things come along together. Obviously it doesn't look as nice, but I felt so proud back then that I could make something myself from scratch.

During the summer break, I remembered I really wanted to learn how to sew. Since I was staying in Chicago, my aunt told me that there was a sewing class in Joann Fabric for $35 per session. I gave it a try and I was able to learn the legit way on how sewing commercial patterns work. I also learned to correct things I did incorrectly to the sewing machine. So this is the first step up to my sewing knowledge 101. After this class, I attempted to create a few more things including these collections below and a dress as gift for my aunt's birthday.

  

 




Once I went back to college, I learned from my friend, Codye, who was a fashion major, that there is a fashion department in the college I went. So I signed up for classes there and during my senior year I got to take the sewing class. I think that was the first time I got a real deep dive of sewing and I become more confident about fashion-making, sewing, and creating! Every year, my college has a fashion show during Spring semester, and luckily I was enrolled during the Spring semester! That year, the fashion show theme was: Superhero v. Villain; so I attempted to create a few items for the show and made it to the show! My yellow dress was the final piece for my sewing class, and the dress was a replica of my personal dress. The original dress was just black, and I tried to bring the fun to it by incorporating yellow chevron cotton fabric and yellow binding.


  


 Voila! the dress got featured in the department as it was the best constructed garment for the year's show. That was very accomplishing to me, because I was not a fashion major but I was able to get my dress featured. During this time, too I finally got a new sewing machine (my old one broke), Singer Stylist, and my dad got me a serger from Singer, and I still embrace both of these machines up until today. 

Right after I graduated from college, I actually stopped sewing for a while. I attempted, but I did not feel confident enough that I can actually make something legit. I finally continue sewing when I moved to the city, when I decided I have to come back to fashion-making. I actually created quite a few things, including things that I wear to Japan.

 

As my business, Micha, tries on providing clothing line, I also started sewing for commercial purpose with the help of my friend, Hilda. I learned how to clean finish my dress using lining instead of serging. I was in the business of custom making clothes and sold some of the pieces I created. It was sooo rewarding when I saw the model and customers wear the piece we created. You know what, the customers were so happy that they got to wear things that we created ourselves, one of a kind piece that they cannot find myself. The idea behind the collection, Contemporary Heritage, was to promote Indonesian culture through Batik fabric while giving this conservative culture, a bit of modern touch using a fun-regular fabric. That's why we have batik 'crop-top', batik 'slit skirt', and batik 'coat'. Where else would you find these kind of pieces, the sexy and contemporary modern batik? I don't think I've seen it myself until now, it has always been very conservative and polite.


  

I wanted to grow more and learn more about sewing; so my aunt actually 'funded' me to go to a local private sewing class up north. Tchad was a great teacher; he has a lot of experience creating custom tailored garments including suits. In his class, I learned how to really beat the crap out of fabric and pattern marking, I also learned how to sew one of the most difficult fabric: this foamy scuba material. During this class, I was able to make this coat using the scuba material. You have noooo idea how much time and effort I put to this piece. You do not want to screw up when you sew this fabric, ripping the seam off of the dress made me want to go blind!!! But the result though, super satisfying! Thanks to Tchad for guiding me in creating this lovely piece.



Many of you may know that after I graduated college, I have been taking a diploma for Fashion Design in College of DuPage. It is now my fourth year, but I still have a lot of classes left. One of the classes I took last semester was sewing. For some reason, this college did not allow me to transfer my sewing class from University of Northern Iowa; so they wanted me to retake both sewing classes. Last semester I took Sewing I, and that was the first time I sew using Industrial machine. It is actually super fun. Even though I have taken sewing classes gazillion times, I still learned sooo much things this whole semester. In this class I was able to create a blouse, tutu skirt, and a knit shirt.





 I also recently made this modern batik offshoulder dress for myself and twinning with my grandma with her blouse. I got these batik from Bali, but never got to play with it, so here it goes (also made my boyfriend a shirt):
 




I will always learn new things, even now, I still go to YouTube and enjoy watching a few YouTubers who create or re-fashion amazing beautiful things. A few YouTube channels that I enjoy watching are: Coolirpa and WithWendy. I also love learning fashion-making such as pattern making and draping through a website and app called 'Craftsy' - here you can get free classes or purchase classes and watch them at your convenience. Besides that I also continue taking classes in College of DuPage and this semester I am learning Draping; so I am sure by the end of this year I will create many more beautiful things for you to enjoy. It's definitely not a one time shot thing, remember, for me sewing is things you will always learn stitch by stitch.


For now, though, that's it. Let me know if you have any question about sewing and learning sewing. I would be happy to share with you as much information as I know! Happy creating, happy sewing, people!

Mural Location:
W Division St & N Rockwell St.
Chicago, IL

xx,

Catherine 


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