Name: Alyssa Dalic
Type of Project: Artistic and Creative Endeavor
The objective of my STEP project was to refine my sketching skills and learn how to sew, so I can make my own clothes. The STEP funds covered the cost of sewing lessons, sewing tools, fabric among other sewing essentials. When I started the project last summer, I could only hand sew, but now I can sew full garments using a sewing machine.
I have always loved to draw and do arts and crafts. Sewing has become my favorite hobby, where I can express my sense of style and let my mind escape from the stressful life of being an engineering student. Over the course of the project, I have learned to be more patient. Learning how to sew took a lot of time and practice. I found that if I got frustrated, I should just walk away for the day and pick up where I left off another time. This was difficult for me at first because once I set my mind to something, I like to finish it (most of the time, in one sitting). Another thing I have learned about myself is that I have an eye for color and pattern combinations. I usually buy clothes that perfectly match or have basic patterns like stripes or polka-dots. However, when I was faced with rows of unique and sometimes crazy fabrics, my eyes were drawn to bright colors and interesting patterns.
I have also gained more confidence throughout the course of my project. I never imagined that I would have created four wearable garments during my project. I thought I would have made garments that were unwearable like ones with uneven sleeves and crooked seams. It was super rewarding when I finished a project that I could actually wear since I am so new at sewing. I would smile all day long when I would wear my projects to research and when my friends and coworkers would complement what I was wearing. Showing off my garments to friends and acquaintances showed everyone that I have a light and creative side to my usually very serious and school-focused persona. Another assumption that I had that has changed is that sewing is for old women only. Overall, I learned a valuable life skill and found a fun and relaxing hobby.
There were many things to learn about sewing like how my sewing machine works, the different stitches I can use and when to use them and all the lingo used in the sewing community. As with learning any new skill, there was a huge learning curve. Learning everything I could about sewing by taking lessons last summer about how to use my sewing machine and basic sewing skills and experimenting with making doll skirts taught me patience and made me realize to be successful at the benchmarks I stated in my proposal will take more than a year and a half. It also made me to be less of a perfectionist because my doll skirts did not come out as they should. There were unfinished edges at the waistband and crooked seams and hems. Also as a beginner, it takes me 6 to 10 hours to complete one garment. For example, I made a dress this summer during my private lessons with took about 9 hours to finish, when I planned for it to take only 6 hours. I have learned not to get frustrated when I don’t understand a pattern direction or when a stitch doesn’t come out right. With sewing, I found that I can always take out a stitch and try again. If someone were to look at the bottom of my skirt, they can see little holes where I used a seam ripper to remove the hem because the fabric creased into the hem.
Learning to sew with the help from my sewing instructors Jessica and Kathy helped me avoid making mistakes and showing me how to fix my mistakes. This led to the gain in confidence because I made garments that are wearable, and my pullover even looks store bought. Having guidance allowed me to learn correctly instead experimenting on my own, which was unsuccessful and discouraging. Taking classes with other people as I did with the skirt that I made also increased my confidence. I had the opportunity to meet other women who were beginner sewers that struggled with the same things I have been like understanding the directions that come with the pattern. It felt good to know I am not they only one struggling with learning how to sew. They also made me feel good about my progress because most of the other students have been sewing for several years, yet I had a better understanding of sewing. We also provided each other with support by complementing each other’s fabric choices and cheered when someone finished their skirt.
Like I have mentioned above, while taking my sewing lessons at Sew to Speak in Worthington, I met many young women like myself in the Columbus community that loves to sew. This proved that sewing is not just for old women. I have always been told I have an old soul and it is refreshing to find that there are other my age that enjoy sewing just as much as I do. I am also introverted, so meeting people at sewing classes gave me the opportunity to make more friends.
Learning how to sew is valuable life skill. Back in the day, every woman knew how to sew because clothes were made and mended at home and not bought at a store. In the future, I plan to make my future children’s Halloween costumes, clothing, etc. Being able to make and alter my own clothes will also help me in my professional career. I have always had a hard time finding clothes that fit and are age appropriate because I am very petite. With knowing how to sew I can ensure my clothes fit perfectly, so I can look professional and feel confident. Learning how to be patient will help me in every aspect of my life. I’ll be a student and employee because I have the discipline to work through challenges and learn new skills without getting frustrated when things don’t work out as planned or I don’t have the solution right away. I hope to continue to sew and learn how to make other, more complicated garments and maybe one day join a sewing group/club.
Here is the link to a blog I created documenting my entire project:
Here are pictures from one of my projects: