It all started with an idea, and a need to be able to sew. I knew this skill would serve me later in life and come in handy, then I remembered a pin I made back in my early university days to make a t-shirt quilt and there it was: my brilliant idea for a learning project and I couldn’t have been more excited!!
I started off by testing out my hand-sewing skills and after a few trial and errors and re-watching a couple of videos, I felt like I had the hang of it. To begin, I know I was reliant on my mother for reassurance because as noted in other blogs, I am a slight perfectionist…I crave perfection and the idea that I can learn from making mistakes is absurd. If I make mistakes often enough, I will quit. It’s been my nature from a young age, and this project really challenged me to be okay with making mistakes, and learning from those mistakes. Beginning with hand-sewing was a slow and confidence building technique I needed to start this massive project! The great thing about hand-sewing was it was easy to fix mistakes and redo stitches. I was able to do this quite a few times until I felt like I had gained a comfortable understanding of threading a needle, making a stitch, and sewing buttons.
Then came the real test. I began my quilting process. I did not expect there to be as many steps as there were and beginning on the sewing machine was terrifying and infuriating. I know when I get frustrated, I need to step away. The sewing machine was frustrating and annoying to figure out, but with some help from Youtube and my mother, I got the hang of the ancient machine. What I don’t think I mentioned in my blogging was that I tapped into my school resources and borrowed a sewing machine from the school. SO MUCH EASIER!!! I am so grateful l did this, as I am confident my quilt would not have turned out as nicely and I would have ran into a lot more problems and would have needed to troubleshoot a lot more.
I had to select my shirts, and then cut them all, which was again super time-consuming. It was at this point in the project that I was questioning my idea and questioning whether I would have enough time to finish. I used my grandma’s tools and advice for cutting and interfacing the t-shirts. In this, I also learned that I like to take a lot of different ideas for how to accomplish a task, and work it into something that makes sense to me. I received advice from my grandma, ladies at the quilt shop, and the internet. From these sources, I combined methods to complete my quilt in a way that made the most sense to me. Having advice from so many sources could get confusing, but I also enjoyed having different options and ideas for how to complete this quilt successfully.
When I was cutting the t-shirts, I struggled at first with being perfect once again. Knowing what I know now, the edges DO NOT MATTER! I could have saved a lot of time as most of the edges end up as ruffles in my quilt. I also would have sewed the interfacing on first and then cut!! Even when I did make mistakes cutting, I kept going and convinced myself that it would all work out in the end. By the time I started cutting the flannel, I was set! I persevered, and this is not something that I would normally do, but this project pushed me to just keep going and figure out how to fix the mistakes I made.
Once the cutting was finished, I feared making mistakes on the sewing. I pinned my flannel to my t-shirts, and I began sewing. It wasn’t even that bad! Again, I needed reassurance that I was doing okay and my mother was a great support to answer every call or she was there just to make sure. This support and reassurance was key to my success because I probably would have struggled more or even questioned my methods has she not been there. I found having a person to directly talk to, bounce ideas off of, and reassure my work an incredible resource and helpful for the success of the project. It wasn’t a constant, “Am I doing this right?” but a gentle “good work” which is what everyone needs on occasion.
Once the individual squares were cut, the quilt flew together and I couldn’t have been happier with the way it turned out! It was difficult to sew together because it was so thick but I now I have the coziest quilt to curl up with at night!
I learned a lot about my learning style in this process. I found out that this is not relaxing at all, and until I gain more experience, I will not find it relaxing. The most stressful part of the project was thinking I would screw up and upon thinking more
about it, I figured out why. I was working with t-shirts, but not just any t-shirts. These shirts hold a lot of meaning, and memories for me. If I screwed up, the shirt and the memory was gone. This was a high pressure project because it was SO meaningful for me. I’m grateful I took the risk, but I feel that if I was using regular material, I would have been more relaxed with making mistakes and not as rigid. I learned that I am an independent learner, and I enjoy things I can do on my own that give my brain a break from a stressful day of teaching, as well as challenge me in other ways. It was nice to break routine, and make time to learn a new skill. Overall, I really enjoyed this project and I learned a lot about sewing and about myself as a learner!
If you’d like to see the whole thing unfold, here is the link to my project! Until next time! Thanks for stopping by!