Friday, March 26, 2010

Friday Confession



A couple of weeks ago, when I asked about clipping threads after sewing each seam, several people said that they had learned this lesson years ago from a Home Economics teacher. That got me to wondering how everyone learned to sew.

My mother sewed when I was a child, but she didn't teach me how (as best as I can remember). I learned the basics in a highschool home ec class, and even though I didn't sew again for over 20 years, when I finally did get back in front of a sewing machine, those basics came back to help me! Of course, a lot had changed in the intervening years (thank you, fusible interfacing!)...

How about you? How / when did you learn to sew? From a family member? From a home ec class? Did you teach yourself? I'm looking forward to hearing your stories! :)

22 comments:

wendy said...

My mom taught me when I was 5. My very first sewing projects were sewing fabric scraps onto construction paper. ;) A few months later she gave me my grandma's old 1950s singer & some cabbage patch kids patterns, and I sewed on it until it died sometime when I was in middle school.

Anonymous said...

My first learnings about sewing were watching my Mom sew when I was a little kid. She tells me I insisted I was going to use her sewing machine when I was about 6 or 7, so together we made an apron for my grandmother. As a child I gravitated toward every sewing opportunity presented. I used Mom's scraps and her childhood handcranked Singer to make Barbie clothes. I joind the local 4H Sewing Club. I did sewing projects with my grandmother. I took every sewing class I could in Junior High and High School. Vogue pattern instructions and sewing reference book were wonderful sources of instruction in my teen years. As an adult I've continued to learn via books, videos, classes and trial and error.

Lois K

linda turske said...

My grandma sewed with me at her knee. She taught me some basics. I learned more in jr hi home ec. I have just always sewn or so it seems (or should I say "or sew it seams"). I received the award in 8th grade for Home Ec Student of the Year. I actually won some ribbons on some clothign I made at the local fair that year! I sewed a lot when my older two were young kids. Then life circumstances sent me into the work force and sewing took a back seat. 11 years ago God sent 2 surprise daughters our way and provided that I could become a SAHM. I pulled out the sewing again and have not looked back. It is an outlet for me.

I might add that the same grandma taught me how to iron. I still LOVE, LOVE LOVE to get out the spray starch and press me some dress shirts! The smell, the heat....aaaahhhhhh the memories!

Blessings- linda

Blessings!

Cindy said...

12 years old - taught myself. Cut a top using a pattern and stitched it together by hand and actually wore it.

14 started working at a fabric store where my love took off.

17 took fashion design in HS where our teacher took us to NY on a field trip. Good memories.

Sewing forever - more in some years than others.

Then 4 years ago my GF saw me sewing. She asked if I could teach her. I needed a job - the light bulb went off and I opened my school.

Reasons why people tell me they want to sew:1 because they had a dream about it. 2 always wanted to do it but grandmother or mom didn't teach them. 3 many take home ec and want to bring back that feeling again of making things. 4 to save money (which sometimes it doesn't always do)

I think the last generation used sewing to earn a living and wanted better for their kids thus not teaching them the art. The 20 yr old's have a great desire to learn the art that was never taught to them. And it's no longer geeky thing to do. It's actually cool to sew!

I'm very blessed to have sewing a part of my life for so many years. (thank you) It's my happy place.

Julia said...

When I was seven, my mom left my dad and we moved in with my grandparents and unmarried aunt, next door to my other aunt, uncle and cousins. My grandmother taught my cousin, who is the same age as I am, and me how to hand sew. We made halter tops. I wore mine everyday that Mother had it clean! I was in the 4th grade by then. She then taught us to use her treadle sewing machine. By the time I was 12 I was making a lot of my clothes. I was in 4H and entered the sewing contests. I was in all of the fashion shows for 4H too. We modeled the things we made.
Then, when I was in the 9th grade, all girls were required to take one year of home ec. I had the BEST teacher in the world. I ended up taking the 2nd year, as well. Then, my senior year, they added a 3rd year of home ec. Yea!!!! We got to make tailored suits, coats, etc....
I recently talked to this wonderful teacher to tell her how much I appreciate what I learned from her. I actually had written to her before. Her husband and son recently died. So sad.
Over the years that my girls were small, I made most of their clothes. After my first grand daughter was born nearly 10 years ago, I really started sewing more of the heirloom type things. It seems as if it is a full time unpaid job!!! I love it. I get paid in smiles and hugs!!!!

Christine said...

My mom taught me to sew, but I also remember taking a weekend sewing course where we sewed a simple woven top and an elastic waist skirt (no buttons or zippers in either). I learned some good basics there that my mom hadn't taught me.

Since then I've taught myself with the help of pattern instructions & the internet.

Anonymous said...

Starting at about age six, whenever I was sick, my mother would hand me her sewing scraps, needle and thread and my dolls; I'd stay in bed and sew for hours. In fifth grade, she taught me to make my first apron on her sewing machine, and from that point on, there was no stopping me. My freshman year home ec. teacher accused me of letting my mother make my sewing project--a jacket, sleeveless blouse and pleated skirt. My mother set her straight very quickly! I've returned the favor, teaching friends and neighbors to sew. This hobby has been a blessing in my life.

Christine said...

A dear friend taught me to sew when I was 26. We made baby buntings for my brand new twin nieces. ;)

Lois Holman said...

I remember many of the things I learned in high school home ec. The first thing we made was an apron, which taught gathering and a basic hem. A jumper brought on facings, and it went from there. I still value many of those things I learned. And, of course, she said, "clip those threads before handing it in for grading!"

Julie said...

My mother taught my younger sister and I how to sew to keep us occupied during the summers. After numerous babysitter diasters, she decided we were old enough to stay home alone. I guess I was 10. We loved sewing but we called Mom at work to ask questions...a lot. I made all my formal gowns for proms and such. We used to make our back-to-school clothes too. I stopped sewing for several years but recently started again because I'm tired of clothes off the rack not fitting me well. I consider myself a better sewer now because I've taught myself more techniques and learned how to fix all the sewing problems I've had in the past. Now I invest in my sewing hobby; better equipment, natural fibers, sewing classes, etc.

Becky said...

I'm a combination of mom-taught and self-taught-- my mom taught me the basics of using a machine and pattern starting when I was about 7. (I think it was as much for herself than me--she's a quilter at heart and doesn't like making clothes, so it was good for her when I learned to start making my own because she didn't have to!) And then as I've gotten older, I've had to teach myself things like how to alter patterns, techniques to make things more finished-looking, etc. No home ec classes for me--that's not something my school offered (and as a teenager of the 90s, I'm thinking maybe it wasn't an option in too many places anyway!) Thank goodness for the internet and sewing blogs, since my library of sewing books is pretty small!

marysews said...

My mom taught me to sew by hand when I was young. I remember "sewing cards" and later, Barbie clothes. My grandmother taught me cross-stitch, and we made an apron together for my mom. I think my first time at a sewing machine was in seventh-grade home-ec, where I did OK until the teacher decided to slash my French dart for me. I think I cried when she ruined it. Amazingly, I actually took home-ec again in eighth grade, and fared a little better. After that, I was on my own with sewing, but have managed to learn a lot through the years.

KARIMA said...

I was dragged kicking and screaming into a home ed class in junior high school. I tried to teach myself to sew when I was around 14. My first attempt to sew a gingham dress failed. Now I had two sisters and my mom who could sew. No one would or could help me. At that moment I decided that I couldn't sew and did not want anything to do with sewing. I decided that I would take another cooking class. I'm so glad that my school threw me in that class. After a couple of weeks, something clicked in my head and I've been sewing ever since. I still remember the lime green linen jumber I made.

Alison said...

Taught myself in my 20s. Although I did know how to guide the fabric through the machine. My mother sewed when i was a child and tried at one stage to teach me but it resulted in fabric thrown in the corner and a teenage tantrum. A bit like learning to drive LOL.

debbie said...

When I was 12 my mom taught me the basics. Just enough that I was able to make the really simple stuff. Anybody remember maxi skirts from the early 70's? Junior high home ec taught me a bit more. I made a few things through high school, but not really much. My college roommate was a teaching major, in home ec, no less! I learned quite a bit from her. In the almost, gasp, 30 years since then anything I've learned has been self taught.

Faye Lewis said...

I give credit to: 1) my Great Grand Mother (I watched at her knee when I was very young. She didn't mind me watching but forbid me to touch her machine (which you know I did anyway resulting in several spankings bit did not deter; 2) an Aunt who didn't really have the patience to teach which should have discouraged me but rather developed my stubbornness and desire to prove to her that I would learn in spite of; 3)my first home ec teacher who made me stitch (with tears in my eyes) on lined paper to learn to sew straight while everyone else got to work on their garments; and finally 4) Mrs. Perry, God bless her soul, who I don't really remember learning much from, but who made sewing really fun.

Lori said...

I was in Home Ec in 7th grade but we didn't sew much, more crafts and cooking. So my mom took me to get pattern and fabric to make a jumper. She was great teacher and I was hooked.

CarlaF-in Atlanta said...

My grandma taught me hand sewing. My earliest memory is of us sitting on the carport one summer morning, she was hemming a dress. She'd threaded a needle and always had scraps for me so that we could sew together. I spent my summers sewing and learning hand embroidery.
Next, high school Home Ec. teacher. I learned the very basics but nothing really fix. I stopped sewing.
After college, I bought a used sewing machine and took sewing classes. I learned a lot from my teacher but then work and life took over. I didn't start seriously sewing until after grad school.

Shannon Hillinger said...

My mother sewed when I was a child, but she had no patience to teach me. She showed me how to use a needle and thread when I was about 4 and then I just played around and tried to figure out how to make what I wanted.
When I was 12, I insisted that she showed me how to use the sewing machine. We picked out a dress pattern, she helped me with that, and then after that, I was on my own again.
I did study fashion design in college for awhile, and I learned some specific techniques there, but most of what I know how to do I learned through trial and error and reading books.

Gabby said...

I am just learning right now..well within the past week and your blog is helping me a great deal..although it is taking me awhile to get through it all..

meredithp said...

Another "hot button issue". I used to hang around when my mother sewed. I completed my first garment for myself at age 10. THEN I was forced to sew on paper in middle school. Luckily, my home ec experience did not dampen my sewing desire. I just read everything I could get my hands on, watched TV (Sewing with Nancy), then the internet. When offered, I took classes at local stores, then I branched out to national workshops and expos in the 90's (beginning with Palmer/Pletch in Portland!) That's the farthest I've gone so far: Florida to Oregon. Most recently, did a week with Sandra Betzina in SF. Even managed to work in a shirt workshop with David Page Coffin on an accounting convention in SF. That was kismet! So to summarize, Mom taught me everything she knew, and I took it from there. Would love to take some university level courses, but no time, and currently no money.

Summerset said...

Self-taught. I've only taken one sewing class, online with Kenneth King. I started hand sewing at the age of six, and started sewing on a machine at the age of 12 and haven't looked back!