Life is about to change! Let the 100 Acts of Sewing begin.


She’s here. She needs a name.

This is the Singer 4432 sewing machine, considered a heavy-duty machine. This means it can go through multiple layers of fabric easily, and handle heavier fabrics like canvas (for nifty boat projects!) and denim. I’m in love with this machine! I stopped sewing a couple of years ago and foolishly gave away all my fabric. I could kick myself now, if my tight tendons would let me bend that far back. I’ve missed it, and when I saw this machine on sale (yep, Amazon Prime Day), I imagined all the boat projects I could do, all the kid’s projects I could help with, all the home decor ideas I could try out, and I couldn’t hit “buy now” fast enough.

But then I started thinking about clothes.

I once had the idea that I would make all my clothes. But I wasn’t patient enough in learning to sew. I got frustrated easily, and my skills never rose above the most simple tasks. Even though I kept coming back to sewing every few years, I didn’t come out of the hobby with much to wear. I made a skirt once, but it didn’t fit that well, and even though I loved the fabric, I eventually tossed it in the give-away bin. I made a lot of little bags with drawstring closures.

Clothes are fraught with emotion for me. I have always been heavy, but in the last couple of years have gotten a lot heavier, and I don’t feel like I wear the clothes that reflect who I am. It was startling to realize both how traumatic this little fact of life is, and how much I minimize it to myself. If someone, a friend or stranger, struck up a conversation with me where they talked about feeling as if the clothes they wore didn’t reflect them, and they felt a little bad about themselves every time they went out, I would express great sympathy, and I’d say, “Let’s go!”, and haul them off to help find some clothes that made them feel good. But for some reason, when it’s me we’re talking about, I tell myself things like, “Well, if you lost weight you could wear what you want.” Or, “It shouldn’t matter that much what you wear anyway, they’re just clothes.” I would never say that to someone I loved. Why do I keep saying it to myself?

Clothes matter. Feeling like we have control over our image, how we present ourselves, matters a lot.

After the sewing machine arrived yesterday, I went online and started looking up clothing patterns. Most of what I found didn’t feel right. That’s part of the problem: it’s a feeling. I didn’t know how to articulate to myself what I wanted, especially after so many years of invalidating my own feelings to myself.

At 2 in the morning last night, laying in bed, plundering Instagram for hashtags related to sewing, I saw this woman:


I actually sat up in bed, pumped my fist, and yelled a silent “YES!” to the room. Next to me, Greg snored.

This is what I want! Not entirely –  I’m not usually a polka dot person, although they look so cute on her I might change my mind and try them – but the general construction of her outfit is exactly what I want: funky tunic with contrasting fabrics, comfy cotton pants, a pair of Birks. I thought, “Who is this beautiful and creative person? I love her style! Is there more of her virtual closet I could raid get inspiration from?”

Well, this talented woman turns out to be Sonya Philip, a fiber artist. And the outfit she’s wearing in her Instagram photos are from clothes she’s made. Not only that, she had a huge personal art project with clothing, called 100 Acts of Sewing which you can read all about here. I am so inspired! LET’S GET SEWING!



The wonderful Sonya actually SELLS THE PATTERNS to her beautiful clothes on Etsy, and today I bought the Dress No. 1, the Pants No. 1, and then at the last minute I threw in the Skirt No. 1.




I can’t wait!

If you head over to Instagram and search the hashtag #100actsofsewing, you can swoon over all the amazing things people have made:

#100actsofsewing #dressno1 😹

A post shared by RENEE (@spunrightround) on

Today's sewing project #pantsno1 #100actsofsewing

A post shared by Cicely (@qweenmeow) on


A sewing machine as a source of empowerment. I like this idea.


  1. Elaine Bradtk says:

    Back in the days when I was working full time in libraries, I sewed a lot of my clothes. Because I could never find stuff I liked or that fit properly in the shops. Luckily the places I worked were fairly laid back, and nobody batted an eye when I came in wearing purple leopard print Turkish trousers. Or a dress made out of upholstery fabric. I love her designs, they look fairly simple too. I might even be tempted to dust off my machine. . . Have fun

  2. norma says:

    I’ve never seen these before but they look really interesting. Thanks for sharing & good luck with your project – I plan to follow your progress.

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