Thursday, July 14, 2011

52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy and History - Sewing

This is not a regular 52 Weeks of  Personal Genealogy and History - it's one I made up on my own....just to be different!  

My mom made 99% of of the clothes we wore as children.  The only thing she did not make was the uniforms we had to wear to school.  When I was in High School Home Economics was a required class.  I had no real desire to learn to cook and sew but it had to be done.  I remember one of the projects we had to do during our sewing lessons - that was to make a dress.  Mom and I went out shopping for the required items and I picked out what I thought was a lovely pattern and some material.  It was a shirt waist dress and blue/white seersucker material.  When I took it to class the teacher took one look at the material and laughed....she told me it looked like pajama or nightgown material.  I wasn't very happy about it and it kind of turned me off towards wearing that dress and doing any more sewing than I had to.

After marriage I again picked up sewing, I did enjoy it....I made clothes for the kids, dance costumes for my daughter and many in her class, Halloween costumes, etc. One particular dress I made for my daughter (wish I had a picture) was a Holly Hobby long dress with an old fashion bonnet to go with it.  When the kids got to be teens I more or less gave up sewing as I was a such a perfectionist and it made me nervous if there were issues with the sewing and the kids at the same time.  I spent way too much time being upset with the kids and I felt it just wasn't worth it. 

I did keep my sewing machine though - purchased about 1979-1980 it's not at all like the machines of today that do everything.  Last summer, I decided I was going to dig out the machine and start sewing during my 'spare time'...the first thing I did was go to the fabric store (fabric stores of yesterday are not like 'fabric stores' of today - yesterdays fabric stores were just that - fabric and patterns and sewing supplies.  Today's 'fabric stores' are craft stores and the fabric and patterns are hidden way in the back left hand (or right hand) corner of the store).  Hours of pouring over books I finally found a pattern that was suitable for me, easy to make (for a starter).....but boy was I surprised at the prices on patterns!  Some ranging $20+.....I use to pay a $1.00 maybe, and could pick them up at yard sales for 25cents!  It was real sticker shock to see today's prices.  After much search I found one that was less than $5 and that also fit my parameters. NOTE: I've discovered that patterns are available to look at (and order) online at the pattern makers website....this is what I will do in the future.

Now get this, I bought the material/pattern, thread, zipper, and new sewing scissors last summer. GUESS WHAT - after much looking I found some material that was MADE IN THE USA!  Last weekend I FINALLY got the machine up!  It took me until today to lay my pattern on the material and get it cut out.  I wonder how long I'll procrastinate until I thread up the machine?

I'm hoping once I really get going on this that it will be something that I put to use and get moving on. 

Mary Post Warren
copyright 2011, all rights reserved


  1. When I was in school I made a lot of clothes. It was too expensive to buy ready made. I haven't made anything lately.

    I did make Halloween costumes when my daughter was little, as well as clothes for her American Girl Doll.

  2. Yay! Good for you making up your own topic. That's the spirit!

  3. Your home ec teacher was WRONG! If you liked the fabric it was your choice. Maybe you would not have liked the finished product but still it was YOUR CHOICE. It always worries me when teachers take the choices away from students and thereby interfere with the learning process.
    Just had to rant a bit (as a former teacher, textbook editor, and one of the 4th generation of 5 generations of classroom teachers.