Sewing with Fabricate Studios

If you’ve always wanted to learn how to use your sewing machine, there’s a cool studio in Atlanta that will soon have you sewing with flourish! It’s called Fabricate Studios, and I was recently invited to take a four-week sewing class.

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I’ve loved to sew for as long as I can remember. I used to make clothes for my dolls, and then my mother taught me how to crochet. Lately I’ve been experimenting more with my personal style, and the more I think about clothing pieces that appeal to me, the more excited I get at the prospect of making them myself.

So I was pleased to hear from Theresa, the owner of Fabricate Studios, and browse her course offerings.

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Inside the Defoor Ave studio (it has since moved to Howell Mill Road) is a creative space equipped with the tools, tables, and knowledge you need to get into sewing, no matter what level you’re starting at. You can learn apparel sewing, quilting, applique, bag-making, and more.

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It was hard to decide what class to take. I am entirely self-taught, which means I know a fair bit, and I already own a sewing machine, and I even had a business on Etsy selling handmade pillows with people’s pictures on them…

Beth Clark

… but that doesn’t mean I know the terminology that would make me feel comfortable in an advanced class, or even an intermediate one. Basting? Sergers? Ladder stitch? I don’t know any of that stuff, and a quote from Brittany Murphy’s movie Uptown Girls floated in my mind: “fundamentals are the foundation of fun.”

After all, I want to be able to create my own versions of some of the beautiful things that hung around the studio. Gotta know the basics first.

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So although I was highly tempted to take the class that teaches you how to make your very own wrap dresses (Diane von Furstenburg, here I come), I opted for Sewing 102 – Advanced Beginner, and I’m glad I did!

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There were three students in the class, and each Monday morning we arrived with our sewing machines, enough fabric for the day’s lesson, pins, needles, thread, etc., ready to rock.

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Our  patient and knowledgeable teacher Diana (pictured above in yellow) led us step-by-step through each class, helping us measure fabric (measure twice, cut once), reminding us to press our seams, and showing us invisible zipper installation, hand-sewing finishes, bias cut tips, and much, much more.

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By the end of the course, we’d completed a zippered pouch, pajama pants, a cloth basket, and a sewing machine cover. Everything I learned from the construction of bags and garments, I’ll apply to future creations.

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Here’s my classmate Catherine with her finished pajama pants! She was particularly excited because she has trouble finding ones that are the perfect length for her legs. Simple solution is to just make your own, as many pairs as you want, for as many people as you want. Christmas gifts!

For my pajama pants, I got pretty colorful with my two fabrics:

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And I love how it turned out:

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I also love the fabric combination I chose for my cloth basket. I think I’ll make a bigger bag with these two patterns; I’ve always loved grey, yellow, white, and black.

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This class was really great, and has been the perfect inspiration for me to take my sewing more seriously. Not only have I dusted off my sewing machine and taken her for a spin, but I’ve also fashioned an inexpensive sewing table from Ikea (thanks for the idea, Diana!) in order to properly measure and cut my fabrics. (Up until now, I’ve been using my ironing board or bed, but now it’s time to have a dedicated, tall, large, flat surface.)

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I also dug up the old duct-tape mannequin that my best friend and I cast of my body a few years ago. Someone in my crochet Meetup group told me how to make one: all you do is put on an old shirt, have someone wrap you in duct tape, and then cut yourself out of it (shirt and duct tape) right down the back.

What you’re left with is a shell or cast of your torso, because the tape will have followed the contour of your body, which means it’s your exact size and dimensions. Then you tape up the opening and carefully stuff the cast with old plastic grocery bags or whatever you prefer.

I actually have an old pic of us making mine:

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Oh, this makes me laugh so hard. Not just for finding this pic, but because I don’t think I’ve had this many hairstyles featured in one single blog post ever, in the history of my blog, LOL.

In honor of that, let’s go ahead and institute a change here in The City Dweller-land. I have decided that each blog post will feature something I’ve made from now on. If there’s a pic of me in the post, then I’ll be wearing or holding something created by me: earrings, skirt, jacket, headband, handbag, shirt, something.

And I’ll have you guys to keep me accountable. I originally started this blog to make myself get out there and enjoy Atlanta’s diverse entertainment options, and now that I’m committing to a DIY lifestyle, by posting it to the blog, I’ll be held accountable for sticking to this very fun creative outlet.

I finished my last major craft project last July, when I made this cool magazine bag:

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It was a hell of an undertaking, hand-laminating and folding all of these squares of magazine pages together and weaving them into a large bag, let me tell you. In fact, it took me over a year, from start to finish. But I LOVE how it turned out. It’s actually my briefcase at client meetings. :-) (See my blog post about the bag here!)

So since ten months ago was the last time I made anything with my hands, it’s time to get creative again.

This is especially good because oftentimes, as my boyfriend and friends will tell you, I can get pretty wrapped up in work and forget to eat, never mind do healthy things like take breaks, exercise, and incorporate playtime in my life. So this will be a step in the right direction.

Thanks again, Fabricate Studios, for a great four weeks, and a lifelong feeling of empowerment. #CraftLife.

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