When I first found out that I was pregnant, one thought that quickly ran through my mind was "where am I going to get clothes?" During my first two years in China, I've mostly bought clothes in Beijing at a market geared towards foreigners. There was one time I bought a fall coat, size 5XL, here in town, but it didn't even button around my hips!
Since I was in 4-H for 12 years and took sewing for about nine, I decided I could sew my own. I knew my mother-in-law had a sewing machine but it turned out to be an old fashioned one which uses no electricity! I was confident that I could learn, but after a failed attempt at learning she decided it was easier to just sew the shirt and dress for me. I thought it was a good choice, I have a habit of getting frustrated when sewing and shedding many tears in the process.
In China women sew without patterns and she was puzzled by the pattern and how to sew the pieces together. She wasn't interested in following the directions and started sewing pieces together the way she wanted to. Of course I quickly checked to make sure that it was okay according to the pattern. I started to silently panic when she took out the tailor tacks (markings from thread which are a bit tedious to put in). The sewing went pretty quickly since she didn't press the pieces or measure the hems, she just relied on finger pressing and eyeballing. I was quite nervous about the end result.
In the end, both the shirt and the dress turned out pretty well. One concern I have is that they have to be hand washed. I guess this is because the stitching isn't as durable as if it were on an electric machine. I'm not eager to wash them by hand, but I don't want to have to confess my "sin" of using the machine when the stitching comes out! (Side note: my in-laws only use their washer once or twice a year and that's pretty common here) Until I buy my own electric sewing machine, I think this is the end of my sewing career.