That Home Dec Thing…

This weekend I finally got around to starting a three-part  curtain project for friends. What, you may ask, would it take for me to sew for someone else? Well, they gave me their vintage Pottery Barn style bedroom furniture and I offered to make curtains for their new home. No fitting required and straight lines! Boring, true. Foolproof? Double true. When I come back, sheers and a box pleat valance need to be completed.

Sewing them got me thinking. I know people like Deepika (with the aptly named blog ‘Curtains to Coats’)  Leslie started sewing to make curtains and their love affair with fashion sewing began. I think I kind of started because I always liked quilts. What about you? What was the project that made you buy a sewing machine?

RSS readers, please click through to cast your vote


  1. I’m the one that chose Other, and put All the above as the reason. Actually it DID start with trying to hem some pants and my old machine was broken. So I got a new one and somewhere along the line the inspiration to get into apparel and crafts came along and I haven’t looked back since.

  2. Ditto to Ladybean as to why I chose Other! That and I took over my mother’s sewing machine when I learned to sew at age 8. I loved it then and I love it now. She let me take over because it wasn’t a passing fancy of a young girl. I really was fascinated from the start.

  3. My mom taught me to sew when I was six (on her treadle, which I now have). I bought my first basic sewing machine when I was 13 years old with my own money. I fell in love with being able to make what I wanted out of practically nothing. Unfortunately, my first sewing machine is long gone, but I still love to sew. Oh, and not to confuse, I’m 32. I also have more than one machine. 🙂

  4. My husband bought me a sewing machine so that I could make curtains for our travel trailer. I learned how to make a blouse first and it took about 2 years before I made the curtains.

  5. I really like the fabric for these curtains, which is saying something as I actually LOATHE curtains. There is not a curtain in my house, no blinds, no window dressings whatsoever, nothing. I hate them. But curtain fabrics are a different thing …

  6. I actually started as a 10 or 11 year old or something making leotards etc for the extreme amounts of gymnastics i did. I pretty much forced my mum to teach me how to sew on our ancient old sewing machine, although it did have an electric foot pedal you had to start the wheel yourself with your hand. The actual stuff i was making, came from making patterns by copying my own stuff and the first few were horrific! but i still wore them with pride. And the upside is that if you start sewing with lycra and elastic before anything else, you never have a fear of stretchy fabric 🙂

  7. I began to sew when I was in high school because of a teacher’s clothing. She wore pendelton wool clothing with a preppy edge and I was in love with prep. She made all of her clothing and was the sewing teacher for the high school(home ec).

  8. The first thing I made with a sewing machine was a peasant blouse, so making apparel was what got me hooked, though I’ve sewn more curtains than I care to admit. I made curtains for a friend in exchange for landscaping. Did I mention I really hate making curtains?

  9. I got a machine with the intent of sewing a whole bunch of clothes for myself…I’m not that good of a sewist, but I’m also a student and I work full time sooooo I don’t have enough time to take the community classes to get better, sooo I haven’t played with the machine too much lately – but it doesn’t stop me from reading these sewing blogs and knowing that SOON – I will be sewing for myself….

    PS I really enjoy your blog and I hope to one day get to your level…. 🙂

  10. I started with home decor too. I wasn’t into sewing clothes at that time. Didn’t fall in love with fashion sewing until about 3 years ago.

  11. I was appalled at the prices for good quality kid clothing and that’s what got me sewing. I do a lot of sewing for my daughter but some for me as well.

  12. Personally, I hate making curtains. I even have a pair with an ironed hem!
    Give me a dress or some fancy textile art to do, and I’m in. But you won’t bring me to sew curtains…

  13. I hate making curtains! But of course I have made my share. I started sewing by making a peasant blouse, just like Lindsay T. Probably the same Simplicity pattern, too!

  14. I’m another other. My mother was a dedicated sewist as I was growing up, so you would think that I’d know how. But she and I butted heads a lot and I decided I didn’t like to sew.

    Ten or fifteen years ago, an aunt was getting rid of her old cabinet Singer. I took it, thinking it would be useful for the occasional repair if I got truly desparate (because I didn’t like to sew).

    The Singer made a utilitarian table for many years. Then hubby had pajamas that kept losing their seams and he didn’t want to replace them. So I’d uncover the machine, get out the manual to figure out how to thread the thing, and repair them, grudgingly, because I didn’t like to sew.

    Then I got interested in knitting. A bag I made required a lining, so I got some fabric and made one. Hmmm, I kind of liked creating something from flat fabric. The first sweater convinced me that if I was going to make garments, I needed to learn something about fitting. That of course led me to the clothes I wear every day, and I became more and more dissatisfied with the fit of the RTW stuff. Now, I love my Singer and am trying to develop the skills and find the time to make all the great patterns I see. Who knows, maybe I’ll do curtains one day if I get a wildhair.

    Thanks for the poll, Cidell!


  15. I’m definitely in the clothing first catagory. Learned to sew at a very young age..4years(hand sewing for my Barbie’s) My grandmother owned a clothing shop for children. She sewed all the outfits with my mother helping, especialy with all the smocking. Our attic was filled with fabric…jars of buttons. The only thing my sister and I had to pay for were our patterns. We used to fight over who would get what fabric. Many memories of staying up very late to finish off an outfit for school the next day and my father would be yelling to shut the machine off. I remember as a christmas gift in junior high my sister and I received our very own sewing machine…a Kenmore. I was so disappointed when I got married that I had to leave the machine with my sister! My sweet hubby bought me a brand new one and I have been sewing away since with many curtains and fashions under my belt!

  16. I’m 5’10, a size 12 RTW with a long torso. Not plus size and clothing in the misses section is often ill-porportioned for my body type. I started sewing for well-fitting, stylish clothes but i could use a lots of work on the well-fitting part, LOL.

  17. Excellent post and poll. I’m impressed that 163 people have already responded. I wish I had great stories like so many of your other respondents.

  18. I’m an “other; all of the above.” Having a sewing machine is like having a hammer or an electric mixer — everyone should have one, and some folks use it for more than others do. My first babysitter was a dress maker, and I’d sit in her sewing room all day and play. At home, my mom let me use my grandmother’s manual machine. In 7th grade, all girls had to take home ec, which included sewing. I chose a cute sleeveless quilted hoodie as my project, and the next semester, that’s what all the girls wanted to make. That’s the only time I’ve been a fashion trend setter. 😉 Thanks for bringing back memories!

  19. I cannot remember a time in my life when my mom did not have a sewing machine at home. I got bitten by the sewing bug when I was about 11 years old and had to sew a garment for Home Ec class at school. My first garment was a tie and dye caftan. Very, very hip back in the day. I quickly realized that I could double the amount of clothes that I had if I could sew some of them myself.

  20. My mom had one of those heavy Sears Kenmore machines, but when I graduated high school my gift from my mom was my own Kenmore, but of course the newer models weren’t so heavy! I know I was the only one in my dorm with a sewing machine in my closet. True, I got called an “old maid” (it probably didn’t help that I crocheted too), but everyone knew who to come to for a hem fix or torn seams! 😀

  21. I must have a warped gene – I only love doing clothes. Sewing straight lines, particularly curtains, drives me crazy, “1 down and 999,999 more to go – arrrrgh!” I did do a few Barbie clothes by hand, but came across a treadle machine in an attic (and no this wasn’t in the 1800’s!), and finally sewed a few things up on that. My aunt got a new state-of-the-art Singer (I couldn’t believe how much faster it was than the treadle), and she would let me sew on it. I think I scared her though when I would do side seams and zip right through them. Later she bought me my first Bernina, and the rest was history – I have been bonded at the hip with sewing every since.

  22. I’m in the clothing category, but specifically, I started sewing because RTW pants NEVER fit me right (small waist/large hips) and I wanted to be able to make my own pants and alter RTW pants.

  23. I started sewing as a chubby pre-teen. I remember horror at having to wear size 16x. So I started making my own clothes in order to avoid the whole trying, not fitting nightmare. Now I’m way older but still love to sew.

  24. I should have put ‘other’ thinking about it now. I think it’s my culture so even when I didn’t sew, I owned a handed-down sewing machine. My mom and grandmothers sewed so I always knew I *would*, I just didn’t *yet*. Know what I mean?

  25. Another “all of the above” vote here. Although the repairs and home dec are what really gets done the most. I didn’t get much sewing done as a kid, but after getting married, the first Christmas present was a sewing machine. As someone else said, it’s a household tool, like screwdrivers and hammers. And sometimes we need more than 1 hammer!

    So “thank you!” to all those who share their projects that don’t quite work out, it helps some of us realize that almost everyone who sews that has projects that don’t quite work out at some point. And also “thank you” to all those who have shared tutorials and other hints!!

    I WILL solve my fitting woes! I WILL learn more about what fabrics are best suited for a pattern and get over my “fear” of buying beautiful fabric on-line.

  26. I love decorating and design, so I don’t mind sewing curtains. It is so great when they are finished and my room is “dressed”.

    Good for you to get furniture in exchange! SOunds like a nice deal.

  27. I had a baby girl and I found a vintage dress pattern that I just HAD to make for her first Easter dress. No way my skills (of which I had NONE) were enough to make that little lace dress, but I’m happy to report the sewing but bit and held. Many dresses were made, including that vintage lace dress when she was 2.

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