Today’s Feature Friday is brought to you by the Miss Mary Mack pattern and the talented Caroline Gaddy. For most of us, sewing is about more than just producing quick pieces to keep ourselves and our loved ones covered — often it is a passion, a way to be creative and a way to connect. Whether you have been sewing for your whole life or just started, those of us at Love Notions hope you continue to find, rediscover and develop that joy. <3
Rediscovering the Joy with Miss Mary Mack
Hey there folks! It’s summertime here and I’m trying to get into the swing of it. Adjusting to a new schedule, trying to beat the heat, preparing for the Love Notions retreat (YAY!), and eating a lot of ice cream. (There’s an awesome local ice cream joint a couple miles from our house that’s only open in the warmer months, and we take full advantage. Ha!) But despite the summer sun, I have to admit that I’ve been pretty down. And lately I’ve found that my respite, sewing, hasn’t brought me the joy it once did. So I sought a way to recapture it, and I did it with Miss Mary Mack.
The Miss Mary Mack tunic is our Feature Friday pattern and is on sale for $5 today. It features two body styles and 4 sleeve options. And did I mention that it’s the most darling pattern ever? There’s just something about those little gathers at the bodice. It’s sweet. It’s classic. It’s a lovely sew that allows you to be as simple or as adventurous as you’d like. And it was the perfect pattern to help me smile while sewing again.
My sewing evolution
Why do you sew? Why did you start sewing? I learned how to sew – just the basics – when I was a kid. My mom and my grandmother taught me a bit here and there. I learned more about sewing as a theatre major in the costume shop in college. I never sewed seriously. I’d help out with costuming here and there for a production, but I certainly didn’t consider myself a sewist. I started sewing more seriously when my son was about 3. (He’s now 10.) He has specific sensory needs and just couldn’t tolerate any of the store bought Halloween costumes. So I made his first Halloween costume. I must admit it was pretty cute…but it was also kind of a mess. Ha! But I was undeterred! I made more costumes. Then I started making him clothing. Then I discovered how much happier I could be when I made myself clothing. Then I started testing. Tami was the first designer I ever tested for and I loved it so much, I never stopped! 🙂
Developing my love of sewing
As I learned more about fit and alterations and design, I developed more body acceptance. Instead of being upset that I didn’t fit into the clothes, I started wondering why the clothes weren’t made to fit me. I became more confident. I started experimenting more. I kept testing. I discovered a real love for sewing. But over the last several months, I haven’t loved it the same way. I’ve lost the joy. So I asked myself the questions above. Why do I sew? I sew to get a great fit. I sew to bring my fabric trolls …children joy. I sew for the fulfillment I feel when they choose their mom-made clothes over everything else in their closet. I sew to express love. Why did I start sewing? I started sewing to make my son happy and comfortable. Maybe I lost the joy because I haven’t been sewing for the reasons that really brought me joy. So I went back to the beginning, to my reasons for sewing, my children. And I looked to a pattern that I knew would be precious on my baby girl, Miss Mary Mack.
A pattern to help recapture my joy
I have never made this pattern before! Can you believe it? One of the reasons I thought of this pattern when I thought of recapturing some of my sewing joy is Pat English. If you are in the Love Notions Facebook group, you know Pat. She is always kind, always has some insight or knowledge to share, and she is the Mary Mack queen. I bow to her. Pat has always encouraged me as a sewist and she is so friendly and fun. Pat loves this pattern so much, I figured there must be some joy sprinkled right in! 🙂 Plus, it’s simple, straightforward, and has maximum cute factor. The perfect choice to regain some sewjo!
Finding fabric for the Miss Mary Mack
My daughter LOVES it when I make her new clothes. She loves to steal cuddle fabric so fabric choice was key. I wanted fabric that was fun and colorful and sassy and fierce, just like my little girl. She and I chose fabric for three tunics. This consisted of her grabbing fabric and running away with it and then screaming when I tried to take it to cut out the pattern. The screaming is how I knew we had a winner! Ha! 🙂
Miss Mary Macks with sweet details
I’m happy to report that I made all three of these in about 4-5 hours. Now I know some of you speedsters are thinking, “why would you be happy about that?” Hahaha! And that’s fair. I’m slow as molasses though, so that was quite a feat for me! I sewed them assembly line style, which really helped my efficiency, I think. I’m also happy to report that Miss Mary Mack looks adorable even when you make mistakes …completely intentional style choices. You may notice that I used a band for the neck instead of binding. Well, that’s partly because my sewing machine disagrees with binding, but mostly because I got so engrossed in my assembly line that I kicked into habit and sewed on neckbands. Whoops! I also don’t think I got the gathered sleeves quite right. It was my first go at that. Whoops again! Haha! That’s okay. I was still having fun, and that was the whole point, right? The rest is just details. 🙂
Miss Mary Mack: 100% adorable
I added a trim to the hem of one tunic because hemming does not bring me joy. Neither does gathering, I admit, but working through the assembly line on these tiny 2T tops wasn’t so bad. Plus, I just love the finished product. It’s too darn cute! In the end, I sewed three tunics that were not perfect, but that were 100% my daughter. I can honestly say that these cute little tops in these fun, vibrant fabrics make my heart explode.
In pursuit of joy
I’m sure any of you who have ever had a photo session with a willful 2-year-old know that joy is probably not a word you’d use to describe the experience. Haha! But we were in pursuit of joy with our Mary Macks, so we had a different kind of photo session. She had a hammer, we were superheroes, we found flowers and squished them, we looked at the ground, we applauded and we smiled.
Finding the joy, moment by moment
And there was the joy I had been missing. It was right there in my silly little girl, wandering the yard, wearing three adorably imperfect tunics that her mama made her. I know that the joy probably isn’t back for good, and that’s okay. It’s enough to know that I can find it again. It’s enough to have had these happy moments sewing, chasing my daughter in her new Miss Mary Mack tunics, and laughing, singing, and dancing with her. I am grateful for these moments and for however many of them I may get.
Wishing you all joyful sewing.