Monday, May 14, 2012

My Early Sewing Days

Do you ever have the opportunity to meet with people who love to sew as much as you do and share memories of how you learned?  Or even share that information with people who DON'T sew?

When I started this blog I made a list of topics I could write about.  I must have pinned it to the bulletin board too insecurely, because I found it tonight while I was cleaning the desk. 

The note says:
  • Mrs. D sewed a suit for Gail
  • Mrs. W's gray wool skirt
  • Mrs. H's blouse
  • White wool coat
  • Fabric shopping
  • Jean jacket/batik remake
So are those topics ringing any bells with you?  No, huh?  OK, I promise over the next five or six days to explain how each of those topics inspired me to want to learn to sew.

Topic 1:  Mrs. D sewed a suit for Gail

My sister Gail is a few years younger than I am.  We're separated by three brothers born between, and three more followed her.  We were too far apart in age to be close when we were growing up.  So this may contain just a little bit of envy for the way the story unfolded.

We lived in a fairly rural area when I was in elementary school.  There was a one room school and lots of families with multiple kids.  There was one lady my mom became friends with, and this lady had lost a daughter to some grave illness. 

The lady had sewn lovely clothes for her daughter, and wanted to do something nice for my mother, who had all these kids and not much money for nice things.  She offered to make over a darling little suit and since I was already older than her daughter had been, I was too big.  So she made over a little plaid skirt and jacket for my sister who was about three or four at the time.

This is as close as I can come to what I remember Mrs. D making.  Nobody dresses their kids like this anymore!

We went to the lady's house so Gail could have a fitting, just like at a real dressmaker or department store.  I remember being envious of the way she had to stand on the chair and get the hem pinned up.  The fabric of that suit was some gorgeous wool blend that had to be washed by hand.

I don't remember my sister wearing that outfit more than a couple of times.  Who these days would put a wool blend, hand washable suit on a toddler?  Sticky fingers, catsup, dirt, ugh!!  And the tot probably would not even be able to play properly in it!  But it was fine for church and maybe a visit to our paternal grandmother, who never let us play at her house anyway!

But the real take-away from this memory is that fabric!  It was a very rich deep burgundy with some tiny lines of navy and dark green for the plaid, or at least it is in my memory...

Again... as close as I can get to that memory.  This plaid is too large but the color is right.

and I was deeply impressed by the workmanship and tailoring that went into making this garment fit, even on a toddler.  I couldn't have been more than 8 or 9 at the time, and I was bitten by the garment sewing bug right then and there.

Do you have a memory of the first fabric that caught your eye?  Leave a comment if you do!

1 comment:

  1. You know, as someone who sews, you would think that I would have thought about that question before. I used to play with my Mom's fabric scraps while she was sewing and make my own "paper doll" clothes with the fabric, rick-rack, laces, etc. But I can't honestly think of an early fabric memory except a piece of velvet that my Mom covered a table with at Christmas. I just remember that I liked rubbing my hands over it to see the different directions of the nap and it was a beautiful dark burgandy.


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