What's Your Sewing Sign?

comments (0) March 7th, 2007     

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JenniferSauer Jennifer Sauer, contributor
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Fast & Furious, you cut, fit, and sew as if you were in a reality-show race.
If you adore frayed edges and long swinging thread, you may be a Deconstruction Diva.
A Notions Nerd is always on the lookout for new items to add to her collection.
Fast & Furious, you cut, fit, and sew as if you were in a reality-show race.

Fast & Furious, you cut, fit, and sew as if you were in a reality-show race.

Photo: Ankita Saha

In Sew Stylish, Volume 1, we ran “What’s Your Sewing Sign?” This column on pp. 9-10 was my favorite feature in the issue. It’s just plain fun trying to figure out which profile you fit into! It turned out to be popular with many of the readers, as well.

To fit the allotted pages, we cut some pithy text. (Always the case in publishing!) But thanks to BeSewStylish.com, you get to look behind the scenes and see the uncut version:

If you were to turn one of your handmade garments inside out, what would your sewing style reveal about you? Do perfectly straight seamlines indicate a fastidious temperament? Or do loose threads suggest an individual who might wear a T-shirt that says “DONE IS GOOD ENOUGH.” Take a look at these 12 sewing personalities and see if you recognize yourself. For each profile, you'll find great advice on how to make the most of your sewing style. We'll also suggest some Sew Stylish, Volume 1 articles that will feed your specific sewing pysche.

Profile: Do your notions have notions? Do you scan the notions department of your sewing store looking for something, anything that you do not already have? If you have a drawer or sewing kit with more than two items still in their original packaging, chances are you are a NN. With twenty different pairs of scissors designated for cutting ONLY the fabric specified by the special “scissor marking labels,” you are the go-to person for all of your sewing friends. In fact, more than one of those friends has asked you if you ever plan to open your own store. You have THAT many sewing toys.

Advice: Since the constant accumulation of anything can lead to space as well as cash-flow problems, ask yourself “Is this really necessary?” before you buy yet another box of flower-head pins.
You’ll love: “25 Best Tips Ever” on p. 13; “Tools of the Trade” on p.26; “Set up Your Sewing Home Base” on p. 20

Profile: Does your pulse quicken whenever you enter a fabric store? Can you identify a fabric’s fiber content by touch and smell alone? Are you mentally creating dresses, skirts, and pants for yourself, your friends, or mere acquaintances to justify the purchase of the dreamiest fabric you’ve seen today? You are a dreamer, and have yards and yards of potential “whatevers” piled high all over the place.

Advice: Stop staring at that silk velvet and pay attention: There is always going to be a better, more beautiful fabric to buy—always. Think of how amazing it will be to see your idea for some lovely, irresistible fabric through to actually making it. Then think of how you can buy some more once you've finished.
You’ll love: “Top Ten Fabrics” on p. 45; “Buy Fabric Without a Pattern” on p. 38; Heck, you'll love the whole “Fabric Know-How” section!

Profile: “Speed demon” should be your middle name. You cut, fit, and sew as if you are in a reality-show race. In fact, you often give yourself “Project Runway” challenges: a skirt, top, and jacket in two hours; an evening gown in an evening! You love nothing better than seams racing through the sewing machine, scissors slicing every which way, and fabric whipping about ferociously. All with a wild gleam in your eyes.

Okay, unclench your teeth and repeat twice slowly: Sewing is an enjoyable hobby and not a cause for intervention. Slow down.
You'll love: “The Ripple Effect” on the back cover; “Two-minute Shrug” on p. 100; “Two-hour Peasant Skirt” on p. 102; “One-hour Wide Belt” on p. 104

Profile: You thrive on challenge, perfect fit is your personal Mount Everest, and you have the amazing ability to turn the simplest of projects into a sewable Sistine Chapel. A Vogue beginner pattern with an eight-hour maximum can easily take 1,500 man-hours once you get your hands on it. Think: Taj Mahal. There is no project too simple to complicate.

Advice: When you find yourself thinking, “How hard could that be?” experience the ease of a simple project for a change. It could open up a whole new world for you.
You’ll love: “Ready…Set…Measure" on p. 80; “Test Drive Your Pattern” on p. 88; all of the Sew Stylish “Cut Above the Rest” projects

Profile: Do you find Faberge eggs to be dull? Did your whole life change when, at age 10, you got a Be-dazzler for Christmas? You never saw a piece of fabric that didn't beg for a little gussying up. A big plus for an EE? The local bead shop sells you beads and sequins at wholesale prices. On the down side, you can hear family members jangling 15 feet away.

Advice: Turn towards the East, EE. A little Zen philosophy can go a long way. Start the practice of the "less is more" and "everything in moderation" variety. Like all great superpowers, your skill to turn something ordinary into something spectacular must be used with caution.
You'll love: “The Best of Hand Stitches” on p. 59; the beaded purse project on p. 30; the embellishment options for the vest on p. 49

Profile: You only visit fabric stores with coupons in hand. You think patches are appropriate for office attire. If a pattern says to buy three yards of fabric, you figure that you can lay out all of the pieces in one yard. And, hey, if you cut the buttons off of some old clothes and rip out a zipper you won’t have to buy notions. Come to think of it, maybe you don’t need to buy any new fabric. Your husband never wears his black wool coat, and there’s plenty of fabric there for a skirt. Sound familiar, FF?

Advice: While frugality has its place, and the recycling of materials is always a great idea, like the rest of these types, it's easy to go to extremes. Splurge on a fabulous fabric once in a while. If you divide the cost by the amount of times you’ll wear the garment...oh, never mind.
You’ll love: “Set Up Your Sewing Home Base” on p. 20; “25 Best Tips Ever” on p. 13

Profile: How many dinner napkins can a beginner make before advancing to the next level of expertise? Never enough, according to you. You love to learn, and buy every sewing book, magazine, and video on the market. If pressed, however, you’ll admit to a lack of sewing confidence and of being slightly afraid of your sewing machine. What in heck are all those hieroglyphic markings on the stitch dial?!!

Advice: In order to realize your full sewing potential, you have to be bold. You know more than you think you do, and so what if you mess up? There really is something to be said for learning from your mistakes.
You’ll love: “Classes to Instruct and Inspire” on p. 29; “Tour of a Sewing Machine” on p. 23; every article in the technique section.

Profile: You log so much time at your computer visiting sewing chat rooms that you decided to just move your laptop next to your sewing machine. You take three different sewing classes a week, started a stitch club on Saturdays, and drive to any, and every, sewing show within a three-state radius. December 26th finds you busy blocking out the pattern for next year’s holiday quilt to be raffled off at the local crafts fair. And, you long to find some women to form an old-fashioned sewing bee.

Advice: Some people sew because it’s a quiet, solitary hobby, but not you! You’re a people-person, through and through. Just thank goodness for the Web…sewing friends from all over the world are just a click away.
You’ll love: “Classes to Instruct and Inspire” on p. 29 (be sure the check out the sewing vacations on BeSewStylish.com!); “Common Terms” on p. 107; “Cutting Room Floor” on p. 110

Profile: You are just winding up a major project. All that is left to do are the finishing touches when—uh, oh—a new idea pops into your head. Suddenly you are off buying new fabric while yesterday’s effort lies in an unhemmed, buttonless pile. Not to worry, the garment will make good friends with the unfinished coat from 1996 and the half-finished pajamas that were supposed to be a gift two Christmases ago. You get the picture.

Advice: Set aside a week or two to commit to the completion of everything that is lying in wait. You’ll have a whole new wardrobe in no time! Then make some rules: no new fabric until you finish a project.
You’ll love: “End on a Good Hem” on p. 54; “Every Hole Has Its Button” on p. 70

Profile: All of your pins are organized by color and type—and you rue the day a bent pin finds its home there! When other sewers look inside one of your creations, they wonder how can human hands make a garment with that kind of precision. Every seam and every stitch is aligned with such mind-blowing perfection that even Martha Stewart would shake her perfectly coiffed head in wonder.

Advice: The Navajo Indians purposely integrate a human error into their handmade rugs so that they do not offend the gods. Remember this, MM, when you find yourself ripping out a seam for the fifteenth time. You're only human, after all.
You’ll love: “The Best of Hand Stitches” on p. 59; “Seam It Like a Pro” on p. 52; “Two Ways to Sew a Zipper” on p. 56

Profile: Scene: 11:45 p.m. You’ve long tucked your family into bed, you’ve quietly pulled out your fabric, and spread your sewing paraphernalia all over the dining room table. It’s just you and the purr of your machine. Just like Cinderella’s mice, you sew as if by magic. Your best work is done at 3 a.m. and by dawn's early light, a new, beautiful garment is usually hanging in the closet.

Advice: Tough call. The wee hours might be the only time when the phone—and kids—are silent. But if you are up because some inner demon is driving you to sew, sew, sew when you’d much rather be asleep, asleep, asleep, then you have a problem. Deep breathing or counting sheep might help.
You’ll love: “Set Up Your Sewing Home Base” on p. 20; “Let Your Closet Guide Your Fit” on p. 83

Profile: You fearlessly wear seam allowances on the outside of your clothing. Frayed edges and long, swinging thread ends make your heart sing. You see yourself as an artiste, a misunderstood visionary: Why do only pants have legs? Why can't a dress have legs? Can a jacket look like a building?

Advice: Recently the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art exhibited a show called "Skin & Bone" featuring the artistic fusion of architecture and fashion. There was a coffee table skirt and a shirt that converted into a suitcase, so you’re not alone. Knock yourself out, DD, but don’t complain if someone tries to put a vase of flowers on your shoulder, or tries to trim a loose thread off your skirt.
You’ll love: “Wash It First” on p. 40; “Knits and Wovens: What's the Difference?” on p. 36

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