So, You Want to Learn to Sew

So did I, once upon a time.

Way back when I was in elementary school, not long after I learned to crochet.  My mom didn’t do a lot of sewing, but there is one outfit that she made for me that stands out in my memory.  It was a skirt and a bolero vest that was made from teal velveteen and I wore it to my school Christmas program.  I don’t remember how old I was at the time, but I do remember being crushed when that outfit no longer fit me.

I also remember using scraps of that fabric to make some clothes for my niece’s fashion doll as a Christmas present.  I made a cloak and cut little bits of white yarn that I hand sewed around the hood as ‘fur’ trim.

The next really vivid memories I have of sewing start when I was fourteen, the summer between grade school and high school.  My dad had given my mom a new sewing machine, which I’m not sure she ever used herself, but that summer I was permitted to move it into my room and I began my fascination with sewing on a much bigger scale.

That was the era when bateau necklines (or boat neck) were in style.  Those did not look good on me at all, since I have a long, slender neck, but hey, it was the 80s and it’s what was in style.  So I embarked on my mission to sew a blouse and pants to wear for my first day of high school.  I don’t remember if I actually finished that outfit in time to wear it the first day, but I do remember wearing it my freshman year, and I also remember that that project was my introduction to the fact that not all bodies have the same proportions, and altering patterns is a necessity if you want the finished item to fit right.

I did some more sewing that year, but my biggest achievement was to land the job of designing and preparing the costums for the spring play at my high school.  The performance was of The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe.  I distinctly remember sewing the witch’s costume, but the rest of that event is a bit foggy in my memory, mosty supplanted by the fact that I sprained my ankle in a softball game before the Friday night performance, but suffered through it all because my parents were coming to see the play that night and I didn’t want them to miss it, so I wouldn’t let anyone tell them about my injury.

From then on sewing was just a regular part of my life and showed up in bits and pieces, like altering my 8th grade graduation dress by adding different sleeves so I could wear it to prom, or as full blown major projects like the cutest denim skirt you ever saw;  an A-line praire style with a wide ruffle at the hem and trimmed with eyelet lace.  There were more stints as the costumer for musicals and plays, some of which involved sewing, and in my junior year I attempted to take the next step and make a quilt for my bed.  That, though, is another story, for another time, and I hope you’ll come back to find out all about it.

Whether it’s sewing, crocheting, or some other textile skill, is there anything you learned as a child that you continue to do and enjoy in adutlhood?



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