Saturday, May 13, 2017

Sewing Part 1: Resuscitation

Back in the day, I was not alone in sewing the clothing I wore. Many of my friends also sewed. To say  that I've sewn a thousand garments, household items and gifts combined, is probably an understatement. I used to sew a lot.

Then I stopped.

There is a new generation of young women who are sewing! This not only loads my heart with happiness because sewing is a great skill, and I feared a lost art, but also inspired me. These particular ladies have YouTube channels and vlog (video blogging) about their “makes” and experiences.

I've started sewing again.

Machines and Things

With my daughter's help, I concluded that I stopped sewing (my clothing) in the mid 1990s. During that time, I was responsible for raising our kids alone and running the household while working a full time job, due to my (then) husband living about two hours away and finishing his degree. My busyness and the fact that I could find clothing for less money at places like Tempo and TJ Maxx, for my family, I stopped sewing clothing.

Then a baby quilt changed my mind! My niece had a baby and I wanted to )make her a quilt. I doubt if she’ll use it. The quilt is rather blinding bright, but my niece seemed to genuinely appreciate the effort. It was a fun project. After that I decided to remake some thrift store buys because I loved the fabric (inspired by my early days). Then  I seamed up a couple of tops, from patterns. Oh and I decided to make another simple quilt. It's cut out and stitched, but not all together.
A couple of Christmases ago, my daughter gifted me with a serger. I didn't really use it until this year. Recently, I replaced my old 1974 New Home model machine  (seen here) with a Singer. 

New Home machine circa 1974
My old machine (see photo) still sews, but oh so slowly (probably needs a new belt). Plus, it’s all metal and super heavy. The new machine makes buttonholes kind of on its own! My old one does not. I haven't used the new buttonhole feature, yet, but if I read correctly, I pretty much place the fabric under the foot, click the heels of my ruby red flip flops, three times, and bam buttonholes are born! Okay, it's not that easy, but almost, especially compared to how I made them in the past.

I'm about to tell you more history of (my) sewing, so, get a pot of coffee, a cup of tea or a gallon of wine, I don’t care. It's your drink. Or if you're bored, you can opt out.

A Little History

I've always felt "creative". I think growing up rural with limited TV time helped me find things to do to fill my creative mind and free time. By the way, I can't ever remember ever being bored in my lifetime. What a great way to live--responsible for my own entertainment. 

My parents worked hard to provide for their family of five, but there was little extra money, for a clothes hungry girl like me. In about fifth grade, while we were still living in Washington, Illinois (Trading Lives), I started noticing fashion and asked my mom if I could pick out my own clothing. She said yes, forked over the money, and let me wander through a huge store until I found what I wanted. It was a magic day. (I did get lost from my parents, but I don't think I ever told them.)

Back in Missouri, during my junior high years, I felt the pressure of possessing lots of clothing, because the other girls did. I knew that sewing my clothes would be the answer. The tides were changing at school and we were allowed to wear pantsuits to school, for the first time ever. Previously, we girls wore dresses to school, rain or shine, hot or cold temperatures. That year, I reconstructed my first garment, from a sleeveless shift dress, opening it up to resemble a vest. I sewed this on my mom’s Sears brand sewing machine, along with some hand sewing. This idea came to mind when I remembered my Grandma Minnie sending me a dress, while we lived in Illinois, made from a hand-me-down. The dress was gorgeous.

There would be a lot of sewing in my future. Come back for additional posts and see my first sewing pattern and what I made. In high school, I made this dress (see below), a very short mini dress.  

This dress was made from a double knit fabric:

With this pattern: 

Coming next post: Sewing Part 2: Good and Proper

What fashion from your day has been worn in modern day? What shoes were you wearing your senior year in high school? Would you wear them today?


Pat Hatt said...

I've seen a few blogs too with the knitting crew. Sure goes to show how one can get creative when they have to. Limited TV can be a good thing.

JoJo said...

My friend Debby could've written this blog post too. She's told me similar stories of making her own clothes in school. And she quilts. BTW, I LOVE that pink's so bright and cheerful!!!!! As for me, when I was a kid I eschewed anything I deemed girly, including cooking and sewing. I never learned to use a sewing machine...even as an adult. Said friend Debby showed me step by step but I was too scared to try it. Ended up giving the machine to my stepdaughter who was over the moon. It was a Pfaff.

Mason Canyon said...

I've never been able to sew. I've tried over the years and the best I could do was on my grandmother's pedal machine and then I had to go very slow.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Teresa - well done ... I used to sew - but not as well as you. And I could never alter things - it always looked awful! Well not good! I did make dresses and skirts - using Simplicity patterns ... the best for me! Necessity drove it ... I can only comfortably wear cotton ... I did do curtains and once made a sofa cover, after someone else had cut it out for me ... ! Never particularly comfortable making challenging items.

Your quilt looks wonderful - really cheery ... love it and I'm sure it will be used often, and on many occasions. I gave my machines away - I'd acquired 3 - two from elderly relatives ... and mine as a barter good back in the 1970s from Eastern Europe - it was basic, but it worked!

Cheers loved reading this ... have a good week - Hilary

Crystal Collier said...

My mom is a seamstress. I remember that magical point where fabric costs skyrocketed and it was super discouraging. My daughter is exciting about sewing now, and as a busy mom, I'm trying to figure out how I can fit in teaching her. It's definitely a skill worth developing, eh?