Sewing Sunday: Beginnings

In case you have forgotten…reposting this one from June about why sewing is important…to me…and others too…


Sewing is one of those skills that is being lost. I mean now…why sew when you can get a brand new dress fully made off the rack for £5 (or $) sometimes? Today I want to begin this new series by answering that question.

But first let me tell you my own history with sewing…

I learned the basics of sewing at Aunt Mildred’s feet…before I knew my letters. She took in sewing, usually bride’s maid’s and prom dresses, as a way of helping out the family budget. That was common with these REAL 50s homemakers. So while Uncle Frank worked his job, Aunt Mildred sat at her sewing machine on the back porch which he had enclosed. And Terri Lynn sat at her feet playing with her Barbies until she got too rambunctious (love that old fashioned word for hyperactive). Then she stopped whatever she was doing and took ten or fifteen minutes to cut and sew my Barbie a dress from the scraps. My Barbies were the best dressed…and largest wardrobe in town. Eventually she taught me the basic over and under hand stitch.

But Aunt Mildred is not the only one that gave me this passion. On our own back porch that had been converted to a utility room sat an old fashioned Singer pedal machine. I remember sitting there and using my tiny hands to power it for Nanny. As an adult I always wanted one of those, but thought it would have to wait until I was ‘rich.’ Then I found one that had seen its better days in an Oxfam shop for less than £40. I snapped it up fast…even without a plan for how to get it home. I plan to have it restored now. Though it is not a Singer.

In Junior High, I took Home Economics…back when they still offered such things as that and shop. They should bring those classes back! I remember making a wrap around skirt for myself…and a tote bag. Most of all, I remember discovering that it was not as quick and easy as Aunt Mildred made it look…it still isn’t.

Of course, I grew up and followed other paths for a while. Then in my twenties with four small children and a neighbor who sewed as much as Aunt Mildred, I took it back up much to the chagrin of my older children who spent much of their childhood dressed identically. I would buy cute fabric on sale at Wal-Mart or Jo-Ann’s enough to make a t-shirt dress for Mere-Mere and three sets of matching shorts for the boys. This was Texas though…I could get away with it. I still torture them every Christmas with my home sewn presents that cost more to make and ship than buying it would. Especially the animal print onsies….

With PanKwake though sewing is a necessity. As with many others on the autistic spectrum her clothes can be a major issue. Nothing too tight. Only cotton. No labels. No socks. Thick seams can be a problem. The solution was her skirts that take me half an hour to make. Heck, she wants to wear them even in the winter, insists I just throw a blanket over her legs. And I am back to sewing doll clothes too…sometimes on the spur of the moment.

So back to those reasons WHY sewing is still a skill worth having…

  • One size does not fit all…if your body is proportioned differently then clothes never look just like they should on you.
  • Do you want to be the helpless victim of fashion designers? What happens if you don’t like the current styles? What if you want a dress out of a certain material?
  • And morally…where do those £5 dresses come from? Yes, I admit I own a couple but I try not to make a habit of it.
  • While we are on the subject…have you seen the price of doll clothes? Most of Barbie’s wardrobe costs more than those dresses…and does not hold up to the rough tug and pull of tiny fingers. Aunt Mildred could make a small fortune of those scrap dresses she made to keep me quiet.
  • Lest I forget…torturing your children with matching outfits, animal onsies and the like is always a plus.

Sew (so…get it?) I hope you will join me for Sewing Sundays as I teach the BASICS of this dying skill.

067
I made my Wonder Woman costume…except for corset and socks.

But before I leave you…one more funny story. My Grandma Quarter…the same strict Southern Baptist woman, who taught me to make biscuits by telling me that you knew you had kneaded them enough when they felt like a woman’s titty…used to tell me that ‘You will take out every stitch that you put in on a Sunday…with your teeth in Hell.’ When I was discussing these changes to my blog over lunch with Cookie Monster, I had thought perhaps to simply not do one on Sunday. Until he suggested Sewing Sunday…and my in-your-face rebel to religion and even my own strict upbringing took root. Sew you are stuck with Sewing Sunday…hope you enjoy.

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