taking something old... making something new.

Friday, August 27, 2010

in the beginning

I've put off this first post because I wanted something spectacular to write that would sound poetic and cool. However, words aren't my talent, sewing is. So I think I'll stick to the sewing and let you all stumble through my ramblings. Let me start at the beginning...

I started sewing when I was in the third grade. We hand-stitched a quilt square in Brownies and I decided that I wanted to finish it into a quilt. My mom was a seamstress, so she sat down with me and taught me how to sew. Let me just say, the finished product was incredible. I still have it--In fact, I think I'll have my mom mail it to me so I can post a picture of it. The squares are all sorts of different sizes and there are gaping holes where the seam came off the edge of the fabric, and it is quite lop-sided. I love that quilt because it signifies the beginning of a passion. From there, I quickly ventured in to clothing and it hasn't stopped. From ages 14-18, I made a new dress each month for the church dance, not to mention scores of jumpsuits, pants, and sassy cotton tops. By far, however, my favorite sewing projects involved using my mom's old clothes. I loved to dig through my mom's bins of old clothes and find things that I could alter to not only fit me, but find ways to make it more modern and hip. The best compliments I received from others came from those pieces. I loved the idea of giving new life to sad, discarded clothes.

Here I am, a little over 20 years later, still sewing, still digging through people's old clothes, and still loving it. I got engaged this summer (at the top of Mt. Rainier) and am so excited to be planning my wedding--particularly the dress. This has been something that I have dreamed about since I constructed my first piece of clothing. I have sketched and dreamed and drawn my wedding dress a hundred times, and now I finally get to make it which is quite a daunting task. Not daunting in that it will be hard, but daunting in the sense that this is it! I will only be making one wedding dress, so it had better be one that I am crazy about. My tastes and ideas change so often, that I have been feeling a bit overwhelmed. So I had an idea...why do I only have to make one wedding dress?

I have dreamed of starting a business where I make wedding dresses for people--particularly where I combine bits and pieces of existing wedding dresses. Every time I'm at a thrift store, I keep my eye out for dresses, slips, and other pieces of clothing with elements that I like: great fabric, gorgeous lace, interesting bodice, etc.. Now I have a closet full of random dresses, fabric, and lace and I'm going to get started. Over the next 8-12 months until my wedding, I'm going to make all the dresses I have plans for. Then, when my big day comes, I'll wear my favorite and sell the rest on etsy. Voila! Business started.

That's where you come in. I plan on blogging about my process and progress. I promise that subsequent posts won't be so stinking boring to read. I'll post more pictures and less rambles. That said, here are my first pictures. My "studio":

As I am a poor teacher, I live with my brother. He has a full house, without a space for my sewing room, so I've converted my bedroom into the sewing room. All my clothes are stored under the bed or in the dresser, and my closet has been transformed into the fabric room. It's kind of dreamy to walk in my closet now. I take that back. It will be dreamier when I have some finished pieces hanging in there!

In the bedroom, I've pushed the bed all the way into the corner and set up my sewing machines on a table. I have to sew with a fan running so I don't wake the kids in the next room. I'm keeping my computer right next to the sewing station so I can be sure to keep this blog active! I will only be able to sew/post about twice a week, as my life is packed with family, teaching, climbing, and taking care of a fiance!

So here we are...let the adventure begin!


  1. I LOVE it. You always do wonderful things and always do them beautifully. Good luck. We love you

  2. Yay! This is going to be great. I can't wait to see all the beautiful dresses you make. I like your sewing studio and I love your business/blog name: "Silver Penny." Marvelous.
    ...And congratulations to you and Bart on your engagement!

  3. Cyd! I'm so excited that you've started your blog! I think it's going to be great. Your studio looks dreamy. I can't wait to see your creations unfold. Your creative energy inspires (and exhausts) me. As you can see, the two blogs I started are still completely empty after years! I will be living vicariously over the next 12 months! Love you!

  4. So I just checked my two blogs to make sure I didn't have any embarrassing late-night postings that I would regret and I laughed heartily to see that not only are they both truly completely empty, but I have a follower! Thank you Caroline! I think she was hoping for great things from me. It seems that I'm drowning in a sea of diapers, homework, piano practice, dinners and dishes! I'm pinning all my seamstress hopes and dreams on you Cyd!

  5. Sounds fun Cydney! I'm happy you have started a blog so I can see how things are going with you. Congrats on your engagement! Good luck with everything.

  6. I wish we lived closer together so we could sew and work on projects together! I'm so excited for the dresses to unfold and think that making multiple ones is a fabulous idea. You know, all the big stars wear one dress for the ceremony, another for the dinner, another for the reception, so you could do that too!