Deep sewing roots

My mom was looking through some old photos recently and stumbled across this one.  This is me with my first sewing machine shortly after Christmas the year I was seven.

I have to say I don’t remember a lot about this little machine specifically, but I do remember making all kinds of things when I was young.  I got serious about sewing when I was in junior high.  Smock tops were big fashion back then and I made a few of those.  My Dad wouldn’t let me take Home Ec (“Your mother can teach you all those things”), but did let me take “Clothing” in 8th grade.  I made a full length lined dress which I think I wore once.  When I was in ninth grade, I was a cheerleader for the basketball team and made the uniforms for myself and many of my cheerleading friends.  I was in the orchestra during those years too and we had to wear a white blouse and a long black skirt for concerts and I remember making my black skirt.

In high school, I continued to make tops and skirts and made both my graduation and prom dresses.  I thought about making my wedding dress and bridesmaids dresses but decided against it.  I was still in college at the time and only would have had a few weeks at the beginning of the summer to complete the dresses.

During my working years pre-children, I made lots of my work clothes and later my maternity clothes.  Once I had children, I focused on making things for them for a few years.  Then I discovered quilting.  The only garment sewing I have done since then is Halloween costumes and nightgowns (you can’t beat a flannel nightgown in the winter)!

I hope you don’t all find this too boring and think I am older than dirt, but it is fun to be reminded sometimes of where you’ve been and how the direction you are going can seem so obvious in retrospect.

  • Barb
    Posted at 20:29h, 05 February Reply

    I enjoyed seeing the picture, you started out really young. I made alot of my clothes for school and college…and well…I am getting older than dirt, not there yet but on my way.

  • Brenda
    Posted at 22:07h, 01 February Reply

    thanks for sharing your sewing story. I started sewing seriously at age 8 when my mother got a new sewing machine and I've been sewing ever since– for the dolls, for my friends in high school, my own clothes as an adult, winter coats, clothing for my sons, and now onto quiltmaking. I had a toy machine too but I much preferred the real thing.

  • Natalie
    Posted at 15:34h, 01 February Reply

    This is such a sweet, wonderful photo! I am very impressed with all of the seamstress skills you harbor! That is an impressive amount of clothes you've made!

  • Molly
    Posted at 14:30h, 01 February Reply

    I love it. I learned to sew from my mother too and made lots and lots of clothes. I actually made a pair of bib overalls when I was in seventh grade! Crazy to think about now.

    I can't imagine making any sort of garment now. Quilts are much more rewarding and useful. They always fit!

  • DanaK ~ WaterPenny
    Posted at 14:20h, 01 February Reply

    I designed my first quilt with my mom when I was 7 or 8 – I was so proud, all though it was just a 9 patch with old scraps. My mom made all her clothes as she was a plus size and liked flowy pretty dresses – which they don't make much for plus size women unfortunately. When I was in high school, vintage was in for us grunge rockers, so I would buy my clothes at goodwill and then fit them.

    Nowadays, new clothes are so cheap, who can afford to make their own clothes? 😉 I did make my own prom dresses!

    Thanks for making me remember some of my sewing history!

  • jill/marny
    Posted at 14:01h, 01 February Reply

    One of my best, (and worst ) efforts was sewing swimming suits…it was the only way my long waisted body could get a fit. Later, I would spend hours on cute clothing for my kids but then they would would refuse to wear it. Thats is why quilts are so rewarding: they are art that doesn't have to fit! What great memories! jill

  • Marg
    Posted at 10:20h, 01 February Reply

    I loved hearing/reading about your childhood sewing. I don't remember sewing much at home when I was younger, although my mother had a sewing machine. I learned how to sew clothing at school. I sewed my clothes intermittently until I had my daughter and when she was a toddler i used to sew for her. I haven't sewed a garment since. I much prefer quilting.

  • Lynne
    Posted at 09:19h, 01 February Reply

    I had a toy sewing machine – I had to wind it by hand and it made chain stitches, not interlocking stitches as electric machine do. I wonder what became of it?

    My high school didn't have Home Ec when I went through, although my sister, who was three years behind me, took it. She didn't enjoy it and neither did my daughter – who said it was boring because she could already do everything the teacher was showing her; particularly because she wasn't allowed to take short cuts at school! I learn to sew from my grandmother who gave me my first real machine when I was seventeen; Nanna had just retired from a life-time of professional sewing of curtains and soft furnishings!

  • Jennifer W.
    Posted at 09:06h, 01 February Reply

    Oh, I think this is WONDERFUL!! I got my start sewing when my mom taught me embroidery when I was about 6. I haven't been able to go too long without either a needle and thread or a sewing machine nearby since then. Yay for Mommas that teach their kids skills they can take with them for the rest of their lives.

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