Sewing with the senses

My little girl headed off for her first day of kindy today. Such an exciting time! All school holidays, I planned to make her school hat. She picked out the fabric about 2 months ago. So the day before kindy starts, I make the hat. Nothing like leaving things to the last minute!

Oliver S Bucket Hat with elastic

Usually, a deadline like this makes me nervous, and I make mistakes. But this time was different. I used the Oliver + S free bucket hat pattern with the no-hand-sewing method. I’ve made this 3 times before (blogged here and here, plus one that never made the blog!). This time, I didn’t need to follow the instructions – I knew my way.

Oliver S Bucket Hat with elastic (12)

As I was sewing along, navigating the curves and easing the fabric, it occurred to me that I felt relaxed. I was confident in what I was doing. I was in the zone. And looking at my sewing, it was looking (almost) perfect. No strange puckering or bunches in the seam, my stitches followed the curves nicely.

Oliver S Bucket Hat with elastic (11)

What’s changed in my sewing? Where has this new confidence and accuracy come from?

I’ve been sewing for a long time (since high school), and regularly for the last 5 years. Not every day, not every week, but sewing when I have the time and inspiration. As I was observing myself sew, I realised I’m sewing with more of my senses.

Learn to Sew Better Using your Senses

I don’t just watch the needle or the placement of my fabric. I’m watching for when the fabric starts to bubble and lift the presser foot to ease out the bubble before it becomes a pucker.

I’m constantly feeling for bumps in the fabric that suggest something is where it shouldn’t be. I know how the fabric feels to when it’s in the right spot.

I listen for strange sounds from my machine, that indicate my needle is struggling, the thread has caught (darn cheap spools of thread) or that my bobbin has run out.

I haven’t quite worked out how to use my sense of taste and smell into my sewing. That’s a challenge for another day!

I don’t think I sew any faster, but I’m definitely sewing more accurately and with a better end result.

Oliver S Bucket Hat with elastic (13)

You may be thinking, wow, I wish I could do that, but I’m just a beginner. Have faith that with time (and mistakes), you’ll learn to see the mistakes coming and make the small corrections to stop them. The more you practice the easier, it will become and the more you’ll enjoy it. Try to use more than just your sight to sense a problem.

If you’ve been sewing a while, have you had a moment when you realise you’re sewing has improved?

Oliver S Bucket Hat with elastic (8)

And back to the hat: the fabric was River View from City Weekend by Liesl Gibson for Oliver + S for Moda in pink and blue (hard to find now!). Chosen so she could be Elsa blue some days and girly pink on the others! I used a frosted glitter elastic gifted from Sarah Lauren around the bottom of the cap to keep it on her head, but still have a bit of space to grow into it.

See more sewing tutorials and projects here.

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