Is sewing taught in your local school system? - Threads

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Is sewing taught in your local school system?

Dedicated school sewing rooms are not as prevalent as they once were.

Dedicated school sewing rooms are not as prevalent as they once were.

Sewing was required when I was in school.
When I was in junior high school, all girls in 7th and 8th grades were required to take sewing for half of the year and cooking the other half. The program was extremely structured. In 7th grade we made a pillow and in 8th grade we made an A-line skirt (which had already been out of style for years). The boys took shop (car mechanics) and woodworking. A boy would never have been allowed to take sewing or cooking, nor would a girl be allowed to take woodworking or shop.

Sewing was also required for my children.
When my children were in middle school (grades 6-8), the school year was broken into 4 segments, and they were required to take sewing, cooking, woodworking, and art. All of the classes were co-ed, and there didn't seem to be any stigma for kids crossing the sterotypical gender lines. My son made a fabulous shirt for himself in his sewing class, and I still use each of the woodworking items my daughter's made.

Is sewing having a rebirth?
Over the years, many sewing programs, as well as art, music, cooking, etc., have been removed from schools across the nation in an effort to help reduce school budgets. But, thankfully, I've noticed a recent increase in these programs in some schools in my local area. The town of Plymouth, Connecticut, recently built a new high school, and it is equipped with a beautiful sewing room. They offer one class called "Clothing and Fabric," but students who have strong interest can arrange an independent study to pursue the topic further. The sewing teacher works with them one-on-one to help develop their level of expertise. Judging from the work on display in their sewing room, the students learn a lot more than garment sewing. However, although the high school offers sewing, the junior-middle school in the same town doesn't offer any home economics classes at all. It does offer industrial technology to both boys and girls which includes woodworking. At least sewing is in the high school!

The school system in Newtown, Connecticut, offers a rotation class that includes sewing in their middle school (grades 7 and 8). The students rotate between sewing, cooking, computers, health and tech education during the school year. Because of the nature of the rotation, they don't spend too much time sewing, but at least they sew!

What does your town's schools offer for sewing education? Have there been cutbacks over the years? Are some of the classes that were cut coming back again?

amm

Comments (53)

jonifashion jonifashion writes: I remember taking sewing and cooking classes in Middle and High school. When my daughters told me that they no longer teach sewing and cooking I was surprised. The youth today are missing out on a valuable skill.

I teach Sewing and Fashion Design to the neighborhood recreation center.
Posted: 9:17 am on January 14th

AltheaDi AltheaDi writes: Hi al, I am a fashion designer in Fort Greene Brooklyn, NY. I volunteer at a middle school in Brownsville, Brooklyn. Like most city public school they are in need of
sewing machines and mannequins. Used of course. Thank you.


Althea
Posted: 4:24 pm on October 22nd

stenoman stenoman writes: These days with so many males either not marrying or marrying very late in life, it is imperative that everyone learn how to sew, iron, and cook. What and how curriculum is determined in the schools is anybody's guess. But my guess is that it is determined by social fads and not by practical considerations. When I was in school, home economics was forbidden to males. So they were just as silly then as they are now. Of course, typewriting was limited to females only also. Now they call it keyboarding so that it's acceptable for males to take it.
Posted: 4:51 pm on April 10th

DonnaFashMerch DonnaFashMerch writes: I teach Family and Consumer Sciences in Fairfield, CT. We have a very strong program at the middle and high schools. Our curriculum has been keeping up with the times such as embroidery machines, design software, draping and pattern making. We offer 4 full years of sewing, a half year of fashion merchandising and half year of interior design all at the high school level. Our middle school program the kids make boxer shorts, bags, and quilts. At the high school level I classes, I fill two periods of students a day. Last year alone I had 8 students who went on the career path in fashion at the college level. They attend and have attended such colleges as URI,FIT, LIM, Syracuse, Savannah College of Art, Johnson and Wales, University of Delaware, and more. If anything, I tell my freshman parents, their children will come out of my class with a life skill.
Posted: 10:24 am on January 25th

erinquilter erinquilter writes: Yes, about 5 years ago, the students went to the school board and asked for sewing to be reinstated in the curriculum. It has been added and always fills up the classes.
Posted: 10:43 am on January 7th

erinquilter erinquilter writes: Yes, about 5 years ago, the students went to the school board and asked for sewing to be reinstated in the curriculum. It has been added and always fills up the classes.
Posted: 10:43 am on January 7th

Love_it_handmade Love_it_handmade writes: I went to school in Villa Park, IL and back in the 60's/70's they had home ec classes; sewing and cooking. My first sewing project was an apron. It was a peach gingham fabric.

Our school district here in AZ does not have a home ec curriculum.
Posted: 4:58 pm on January 5th

jojowitherow jojowitherow writes: Sewing taught well can be a very positive experience . Another outlet for creativity or at least being self sufficient in learning some basics such as sewing on a button! Sewing can be a healthy hobby, how many children these days do not have a hobby? The satisfaction a young person can receive when they finish a project that they like! People of any age can experience this at a sewing studio in New Jersey named Just Make It Sew.
Posted: 1:19 am on January 4th

Villa_for2 Villa_for2 writes: My first sewing project in 7th grade was a turqoise apron,at Western Jr. High, in Cypress, California. I loved sewing after that.
Later, I sewed out of pleasure and necessity as well for I loved sewing for my five children.

In 1990 San Bernardino Valley College, in Calif., was offering sewing and pattern making but I think those classes have been dropped.


Posted: 8:00 pm on January 3rd

Evening_sewer Evening_sewer writes: I have the same sewing history that is typical of many of you. Mom taught me how to sew, took sewing projects in 4-H, had to take the required semester of sewing in Jr. High School...

But the first question was 'does your school offer sewing education?' I work at an elementary school. They have an after school child care program which was able to secure a grant to provide continuing education to the students who attend the child-care program. I volunteered to teach sewing 2 days a week after school. We started with plastic canvas and are working our way through basic hand sewing as well as machine sewing. They must complete each project before continuing to the next as each project introduces another element of sewing. The students range between 1st and 6th grade; 15 girls and 5 boys.

Being a perfectionist, teaching these classes has helped me to accept that the project needs only to be as perfect as that student desires. When they finally get to take their finished project home, their faces glow with pride. And that's perfect enough for me.

I've decided that my mission is this: "To expose students to sewing. To whet their appetites for sewing, designing and creating." The rest is up to them.
Posted: 7:02 pm on January 3rd

Leefi Leefi writes: We had to do the rotation of cooking and sewing, I loathed both of them with such a passion!! I tried to be sick as often as I could possibly be on those days.
Despite my best efforts, I was made to go to most of the classes. It wasn't till I got to the Fourth Form(I'm not sure how that equates to the school system now!!) that my Nan bought some blue corduroy and I made a skirt, jacket and a blouse to go with it that I started to enjoy sewing.

To cut a long story short, my first job was as an industrial machinist, they sent me to Fashion & Design school, I now LOVE to sew and design.

As to the cooking side of it I ended up cooking in a single mans camp and also for a shearing gang. What do I do now for a living, my husband and I own a Pizza & Roast Dinners Takeaway. Go Figure!!!
Posted: 1:11 pm on January 3rd

QuinteShores QuinteShores writes: This topic has hit a nerve. I don't buy the argument it is too expensive to teach sewing (or foods). Boards can find money for computers, chemicals for science and gym equipment.

I see several problems that need addressing:
a) the need for teacher education
b) identity crisis: Each of the areas studied in home ec. has become complex and specialized: nutrition, interior design,fashion design and textiles, human development or consumer studies. A program that teaches all of these is needed to support educating teachers and thus school programs.
c) the need for credibility - this is a constant battle and can only be won by doing it better than everyone else and subject promotion.
d) creating balanced programming for students. Many parents would like their children to learn the skills taught by home ec but fear they won't get into college if there isn't room in the curriculum to take these subjects as well as math, science, etc.

Posted: 12:59 pm on January 3rd

QuinteShores QuinteShores writes: This topic has hit a nerve. I don't buy the argument it is too expensive to teach sewing (or foods). Boards can find money for computers, chemicals for science and gym equipment.

I see several problems that need addressing:
a) the need for teacher education
b) identity crisis: Each of the areas studied in home ec. has become complex and specialized: nutrition, interior design,fashion design and textiles, human development or consumer studies. A program that teaches all of these is needed to support educating teachers and thus school programs.
c) the need for credibility - this is a constant battle and can only be won by doing it better than everyone else and subject promotion.
d) creating balanced programming for students. Many parents would like their children to learn the skills taught by home ec but fear they won't get into college if there isn't room in the curriculum to take these subjects as well as math, science, etc.

Posted: 12:58 pm on January 3rd

QuinteShores QuinteShores writes: This topic has hit a nerve. I was a Family Studies teacher in Ontario Canada for 33 years and have always taught sewing. We face the same problems many of you have expressed. I don't buy the argument it is too expensive to teach sewing (or foods). Boards can find money for computers, chemicals for science and gym equipment. Look around a school to see where the money is spent.

I see several problems that need addressing:
a) the need for teacher education
b) identity crisis: home ec, family studies, human ecology are applied disciplines that served individual and family needs. Each of the areas studied has become complex and specialized - you can take a course in nutrition, interior design or fashion design and textiles, human development or consumer studies at the college or university level but a program that provides all of these is needed to support educating teachers and thus school programs.
c) the need for credibility - this is a constant battle and can only be won by doing it better than everyone else and subject promotion (
d) creating balanced programming for students. Many parents would like their children to learn the skills taught by home ec but fear they won't get into college if there isn't room in the curriculum to take these subjects as well as math, science, etc.

Posted: 12:54 pm on January 3rd

QuinteShores QuinteShores writes: This topic has hit a nerve. I was a Family Studies teacher in Ontario Canada for 33 years and have always taught sewing. We face the same problems many of you have expressed. I don't buy the argument it is too expensive to teach sewing (or foods). Boards can find money for computers, chemicals for science and gym equipment. Look around a school to see where the money is spent.

I see several problems that need addressing:
a) the need for teacher education (universities and colleges must keep programs alive)
b) identity crisis: home ec, family studies, human ecology are applied disciplines that served individual and family needs. Each of the areas studied has become complex and specialized - you can take a course in nutrition, interior design or fashion design and textiles, human development or consumer studies at the college or university level but a program that provides all of these is needed to support educating teachers and thus school programs.
c) the need for credibility - this is a constant battle and can only be won by doing it better than everyone else and subject promotion (does this reflect society's attitudes towards women, families?)
d) creating balanced programming for students. Many parents would like their children to learn the skills taught by home ec but fear they won't get into college if there isn't room in the curriculum to take these subjects as well as math, science, etc.
e)universities must give equal credibility to home ec/family studies courses when evaluating applicants for entrance to programs.
Posted: 12:52 pm on January 3rd

jilli jilli writes: Hello!!!
I cannot believe that sewing is not used to teach science and math! Surely textile science and geometry in pattern cutting
could enhance the programs.

I recently have been studying home economics and womens history
as well as how young girls were taught to use a microscope to determine fiber content in the late 1800's I believe.

The biological differences of the human form and the science and psychology of color.....geezzzzzzzzz!

Quote me!!!

Jill Mailler-Mckenzie
Rutgers University, Mason Gross School of the Arts
Posted: 12:22 pm on January 3rd

koshermama koshermama writes: My mother taught me to sew when I was nine. Home ec sewing turned me off to sewing for a year after I took the second semester of it. I could do way more than a-line sleeveless dresses and the teacher hated that. I think that there are a lot of skills that kids need to learn, but more the sewing on buttons, fixing tears and hemming type.
Posted: 11:27 am on January 3rd

SweetOnionMom SweetOnionMom writes: I graduated public high school in 1997 and, if it had not been for Intro to Sewing, then Advanced, I would not have learned to sew. My mother sewed exquisite clothing for me and my dolls when I was young, but my brother came along just as I was old enough to graduate to a sewing machine. My public school experience gave me the foundation and confidence to work on-campus in the theatre costume shop at Berry College and later pursue a career in costume construction. I am now a stay-at-home mom without as much time as I would like to ply my craft, but I look forward to passing my knowledge to my children. Unfortunately, we now live in an area where ALL Arts have been stricken from the curriculum. It is truly a sad time for the perceived "frivolities" of education and a great loss for our children.

On a lighter note, I'd like to thank Barbie for teaching me the concept of darts before I even knew what they were called!
Posted: 4:30 pm on January 2nd

amybww amybww writes: As the Chair of a Fashion Design Program at California College of the Arts in the San Francisco, CA, I am increasingly surprised by the number of students dreaming of entering the fashion design field without having sewn a garment. It is amazing how a love for "fashion" has not grown from a love of crafting garments of textiles or drawing a million outfits for so many young students. The disconnect between "imagining/designing" of clothing and the creating/crafting/building of the idealized garments is concerning to those of us who are to train the future creators. I learned to sew from both grandmothers, a very skilled neighbor as well as Home Ec classes that were mandatory in California until the late 1970's. Students entering college today are less prepared to discover their passions and then follow their dreams. They have been educated to preform to tests to raise "API" scores in a narrowed offering of subjects - not everyone can or should find their future job in fields attached specifically to the STAR subject tests. The Whole Brain needs to be encouraged! Any schools who are teaching sewing skills, please keep encouraging this track and send your students to art schools where they can be educated further to refine their eye and excel in the fashion industry.
Posted: 2:35 pm on January 2nd

DukeRenaud DukeRenaud writes: Home Economics was one of the most important studies in the
seventies. It brought many mothers and daughters together. sharing similar interests in sewing, cooking and basic life skills. I continued to sew throughout my life and taught my daughter at five years old to make Barbie clothes, as she grew up it gave her the creative desire she shows now. She designed fashions in High School, went to Ryrson U for two years in the fashion design program and went on to Concordia to evolve her designing desires and brought forth her creativity in 3D design. She will always love her sewing and has taught classes at Concordia as an assistant to her professor. She continually designs fashions for her family and friends.From a simple sewing lesson evolved her love for designing over the years.It also gives us time to discuss ideas and perhaps start our own business together down the road.
Posted: 12:01 pm on January 2nd

JanF JanF writes: Oh dear - I recognise the scenario that you are all describing! I have just retired from teaching in a UK school - ages 11 - 18, and all my teaching career has been centred on what used to be called Home Ec. And then Textile Design Technology. I have loved it most of the time- and feel the loss of student contact since retirement- so much so that I have gone to the local University to do student support.
I hope it is of some comfort to those of you that are parents, that in some areas of USA(according to these posts) that some Education Authorities are still supporting the acquisition of important life skills. Whilst acknowledging that some teachers are better at moving with the times and also with fashions in Creative Arts, it still depends on how willing or forward thinking the school "Heads or Governors" are ( sorry- I don't know what you call your schools' management teams).
I do so hope that things continue to improve for those students and their parents who wish to develop their skills in this area. However, I must point out that all teachers of "Home Economics" do not like this title - I for one hated it- particularly as in my case I never taught anything to do with food- but other staff used to think that because I could sew I could also cook! I can cook but never had any tuition myself in readiness for teaching it- I wasn't interested- I loved Textiles!!
Surprising how many "educated" members of staff couldn't or wouldn't understand the difference. I have lost count of the number of times a fellow professional would not realise how condescending their comments could be!
My own personal view is that while people themselves still call a creative subject by the titles that include"Home" in it- you condemn yourselves to being thought of as just " domestic" and therefore somehow not as important as a more " academic" field of study. I know it's just a name - but try being on the receiving end!
I realise that a lot of your readers enjoy using textile and food skills together with their own artistic flair, to enrich their surroundings, their leisure time and to help with financial strains- indeed this has been my life to date and long may it continue. I do think that within the school curriculum I would encourage your readers to see working with textiles- in it's many varied forms, as a means of developing creative, independent skills and decision making, alongside the more traditional life skills but not defined by the very same.
Posted: 7:17 am on January 2nd

MamaT13 MamaT13 writes: Threads is one of my favorite magazines,...I have archived practically every issue, much to my husband's chagrin...but refer to the wonderful articles many times over. I even used it in my sewing classroom of 36 years,...to inspire and to showcase fine details,...even though I often taught high schoolers who had NO background to build upon, I wanted them to see where their sewing could take them. And in the latter years, they had no Mom or GrandMom at home to help with their sewing. At Open House in the fall, many parents would ask if I ever taught adults, since they now saw the need for it...If only there had been time/funds...

For the last 10 years, I had one semester where all three blocks were sewing...Best time of my life!...BUT, as I retired this past summer...due to budget cuts, and freezing positions...they chose NOT to continue the sewing classes...only have a half time position for Parenting, and NO sewing this year...I had three full classes signed up...and they were all placed into other classes they had not selected...I was heartbroken...

I have always seen Home Economics as the Living Science...we showed them through our lessons, and hands-on projects, how all the other subjects were relevant to their real life...We collaborated with other subjects on mutual projects and it also showed others what we did,...not just stitching and stewing...good public relations and sustained the program.

Yes, I had a student make her wedding gown in high school in my third year of teaching...white Quiana nylon,...a fitted sheath style with a small train...beautiful and impressive...Others have made their prom gowns in class and after school...when they could not afford it otherwise...financially and ready-to-wear did not fit.

We NEVER made all the same thing at the same time...sometimes it would have been easier to manage...but I felt that was not the best for my students who had different needs and skill sets to build upon.

I was truly dismayed at the tone of the article in your magazine...I do not refute the value of a home where Mom and others can teach/reinforce sewing skills...but that is not available to many today. And while our subject is so broad that some teachers are more adept at other areas, you did a disservice to those who are building programs against odds that we have no control over...With today's economic situation, we have a greater need than ever before in my lifetime.

I have always had requests to sew for others...and had to turn down many while working full-time...When I retired and word got out...I have been inundated with requests for specialty sewing...and still turn down many...There is a market for what we do...and it should be encouraged, not overlooked. I sewed almost non-stop for 6 months...took a break during December for the family...but have already booked four wedding gowns during January...

Please continue to support the professionals who use your magazine to keep on the cutting edge, but try to support those who are trying to pass on our "lost art" to the future generation...I think it will be a sad day if we don't step in and turn this around before it is too late...It takes years to build something and only one weak decision to undo it all.


Posted: 1:20 am on January 2nd

LillyPut LillyPut writes: I am a middle school art teacher who has added a sewing project to all of my art sections because I believe in providing students with a wide variety of creative experiences incorporating as many types of medium as possible. Because of budget cuts our public schools are not able to offer sewing, cooking, etc. types of classes, and the arts/music classes are constantly on the chopping block. All of these wonderful classes offer unique experiences for problem solving, creativity, cooperative learning, and community service. Approximately 750 middle school students share the six sewing machines in my classroom. I have been applying for grants to add sewing machines & supplies, but most grant applications don't see sewing as a unique inventive solution to education.
Boys and girls give up their lunchtimes, make appointments to come in before & after school, etc. to use the sewing machines. Parents donate fabric and thread to keep us up & running. Students readily incorporate their new learning skills into other areas of their education. I write about the reading, math, & problem solving skills these experiences help students learn. My room is tiny with students working on the floor & in the hallway, but each day we create beautiful new worlds from every scrap of fabric or piece of thread we can get our hands on. I know the value of these classes & projects. The students stand in line to use the machines learning patience, help each other, come up with interesting solutions, & achieve success.
Posted: 3:35 am on January 1st

suzs47 suzs47 writes: I am a public school FACS teacher and my first love is sewing. I could certainly use some help in developing rationale for adding this program in my school. As a taxpayer and parent my first priority is to prepare my students for future careers through the classes that I teach and to do this in such a way that agrees with the local tax payers and congress which provides funding for my programs. I teach at the high school level and many years ago we prepared our students to be good conumers. The tide has changed and that makes it hard to argue the point. Currently our school district is focusing on preparing students for college (that includes technical school). We are pressured to develop programs in math and science to compete on the global market. I would certainly welcome dialogue to support including sewing in public schools. This past summer our district demolished the foods room in the middle school to make room for a science lab. It is a very hard sell. It would be different if there were jobs in our area in the sewing industry but that isn't the case.
Posted: 11:06 pm on December 31st

russellgibson russellgibson writes: Ms Shinning Star,,you will,the first thing to do is to
get a machine that has a DVD that shows you how to operate
there sewing machine Once you get famalier with the ins and
outs of that machine you will be on your way... just start with straight lines (stitches) machines start at around $75.00 have some fun start sewing .....next thing you know you will be doing cuffs....
Posted: 5:38 pm on December 31st

ShiningStar ShiningStar writes: I still haven't learn to sew. I was in middle school in the mid-eighties. The city schools required us to get a taste of most electives business, foreign langauge, home ec and woodworking.

Woodworking was my favorite. I had a great teacher. Once a student had problems in math. The teacher stopped the whole class to teach us math because our math teacher wasn't very good. The home ec teacher was just o.k she taught us how to make caramel popcorn and candlewicking(the craft with the knots). But that was it.

We moved two counties in the late eighties and the first county had amazing classes like world geography. The next school was worse than any city school I have attended. The teachers were more like babysitters.. The home ec teacher only paid attention the the students who already knew how to sew. She had us cook frozen food that was already seasoned and gave us all a D.

The typing, driving, business, and marketing teachers all refused to teach. Some said we wouldn't be able to get good jobs like our parents and would have service sector jobs. So, why bother teaching us anything seemed to be their feeling.

I did have a good consumer math teacher. I learned so much. This is another underrated class. It is mainly for kids who are not great in math but it's important for life.

I am slowing learning all the crafts and hopefully art and languages I didn't get to learn in school. Sewing and embroidery are next on the list.
Posted: 4:03 pm on December 31st

Luie Luie writes: Those who still have Family Consumer Science which still focus on the basics are lucky! I hate the fact that many school districts don't see the importance in teaching students basic living skills that can be used throughout their life span. So many high school have gone into the college prep mode that the basic don't matter to them anymore. If you ask the students though, they wish more cooking and sewing and basic living skills were taught to them. If they decide to go to college they will learn what they need to know in college. AT least that is what I hear from the teens in our high school in Cheyenne, Wyoming. I think we have lost what education is all about. I thought it was about preparing them to be well rounded adults who could be productive in society regardless if they go to college or not. I beleive that sewing and cooking are key elements to begin successful adults who can fend for themselves.
Posted: 3:02 pm on December 31st

Ribbqah08 Ribbqah08 writes: After 20 years as the most recent Home Ec./F&CS teacher, our school closed the department in 2007. I went to another high school in 2010 and the graphic arts department offered Fashion Design on the computer. The girls like the designing portion - but no one, including their teacher, know how to sew. It is a little sad ....

Sewing teaches more than construction techniques - problem solving, math and measurement skills, reading & visualizing what you are reading, et cetera.

Most school systems do think all students will go to college - yet most adults still need child dev/ family living information, nutrition & cooking, and interior design (look at the most popular network/shows)....


Posted: 1:25 pm on December 31st

fullbobbin fullbobbin writes: Having been a sewist for close to 50 years (yikes!)I have seen the skill fall by the wayside. I learned to sew when I was 10 years old from my Mom and later in my seventh grade Home Ec class all those years ago in Middle Island, NY
As I witnessed the absence of sewing in the local schools as my children passed thru, I began to teach sewing to eager young seamstresses who had no family member to take them under their wing or had missed the opportunity to experience it in their school.
I became a sewing instructor for the county's department of mental health and worked in a day program offering the creative skills to adults going through a tough time in their lives...it brought them much needed therapy to gain confidence and a sense of worth. Upon retiring, I continued to offer sewing classes and workshops to children and adults (men and women!)in a sewing center I opened in a nearby town. My greatest reward is to see the grin of satisfaction on the faces of all my students who had never been offered the chance to learn... Many times I was able to erase the memories of the "dreaded Home Ec class" and open the door to a whole new world of creative possibilities when taught in a relaxed atmosphere.
I design and sew childrens wear primarily with a few dolls, handbags and aprons thrown in... I love what I do and only hope that the education departments make room in the budget for what is a most important part of learning in one's life.

Posted: 12:18 pm on December 31st

MiMi24 MiMi24 writes: My first sewing was done on a treadle sewing machine when I was about 3-4 making the quilting lines on potholders. When I was in first grade, Mama got an electric Singer and I made a shirt.

During my teen years I began making all of my clothing and even sewing for the public. I majored in Home Economics and taught it for 37 years--loving nearly every minute of it. The sewing units were always my favorite ones. The students--girls and boys--were so proud of their accomplishments. Boys liked the mechanical aspects of sewing and were not intimidated by the machines. Lots of the students have done well with their sewing abilities--prom dresses, wedding ensembles, home decor, and just fun things.

Many of the schools in my area--Arkansas and Louisiana--are phasing out the classes because of finances and the lack of teachers. A problem that I faced before retiring was that the students were required to purchase their fabric and most thought it should be given to them. We just didn't have funds to purchase for 100 students each year. It also became difficult to find good-quality garment fabric at reasonable prices at the nearby stores.

I hope there will be a revival of sewing. It has brought me so much pleasure through the years. I am now working more on quilts and less on garments though.
Posted: 11:44 am on December 31st

Bruin1973 Bruin1973 writes: Someone remembered sewing clothes for her Terri Lee doll. I wanted a Terri Lee in the worse way but never had one. My last doll (Christmas of 1945)was a baby doll that I still have. Her beautiful wardrobe was made by my step-mother, who never sewed anything else that I can recall. I taught myself to sew, plus had a half-year in junior high. My mother had sewn everything and anything, but died when I was very young. Of the four females in our family, two liked to sew (and became good at it) and two hated it and can't sew on a button. While my step-mother could not create the individual clothes I wanted, she did go to the trouble to let me pick out patterns and fabric and have then made by seamtresses. From 1985-1993 I traveled in my job and frequented the best fabric shops in all the big cities. I had a marvelous dressmaker and so much fun I still can't part with those gorgeous clothes, even though few still fit.
Posted: 11:20 am on December 31st

mommyval mommyval writes: I doubt that my junior high still teaches it, but when I was in Junior high we were allowed 3 electives. Mine were sewing, cooking and woodworking one year, and sewing2 quilting and metal shop the second year.

My mom was a pretty decent seamstress too, but she was afraid to teach me. Now I teach 4-h and sew professionally. I never thought I would see the day when my own sewing skills would pass my mother's, but since I am the type to change patterns, and experiment with fabrics, that day has come.

All 3 of my kids, girls and boys, are learning how to sew, with and without patterns. I hope some day they will be even better than I am!

Valarie
Posted: 11:08 am on December 31st

JenDavid JenDavid writes: I currently teach an 8th grade family and consumer class in DFW (Dallas,Ft. Worth) area. Up until this year the class taught short units of cooking/nutrition, child development,conflict resolution, goal setting, money management/budgeting, career investigation/assessment, and sewing/clothing construction/laundry. Hands down the two most loved by students, both male and female, were sewing and cooking. The best part of my job is watching the pride the students have in their accomplishments and the level of team work they display helping each other.

This year the state has seen fit to change my class to career exploration and assessment only. My main focus with students is to get a 4 yr. high school plan in place geared toward college. While I understand the need for helping students see the rewards of attending college I also realize college is not for everyone. Many students will do well for themselves in the countless jobs supplied in the trades which do not require a 4 yr. degree. I also understand 8th graders are not going to keep to their 4 year plan because many have no idea what they want to do and this will continue through the second year of college as many students change their majors.

I long for a return to basic hands on classes that teach students life lessons and not just reading, math, science and history. Are there any sewers out there who are not constantly problem solving while sewing? How about cooks, mechanics, etc.? I think teaching problem solving should be our first goal in education and I can not think of another area that does it better than sewing. Sewing also utilizes creativity, provides pride, teaches consumerism and has the added bonus of getting to wear or use the item made.


Posted: 10:59 am on December 31st

russellgibson russellgibson writes: I am an adult male. that sews alittle....What might
inspire boys to sew is if in schools the sewing teacher
was a man teacher also..Because sewing is a true treat in life..it excites me to see a fine sewer....I love woman
that sew...ciao
Posted: 10:46 am on December 31st

russellgibson russellgibson writes: I am an adult male. that sews alittle....What might
inspire boys to sew is if in schools the sewing teacher
was a man teacher also..Because sewing is a true treat in life..it excites me to see a fine sewer....I love woman
that sew...ciao
Posted: 10:46 am on December 31st

russellgibson russellgibson writes: I am an adult male. that sews alittle....What might
inspire boys to sew is if in schools the sewing teacher
was a man teacher also..Because sewing is a true treat in life..it excites me to see a fine sewer....I love woman
that sew...ciao
Posted: 10:46 am on December 31st

NKCSDteacher NKCSDteacher writes: Like many others, I learned to sew at home and in 4H.
We owned a dry goods store and carried fabric so I grew up thinking most people sewed. I never had a sewing class in school. In fact, it was not taught in our school. After teaching for 31 years, I took the Praxis to be certified in Family and Consumer Science, the new fancy name for home ec, I have the opportunity to substitute teach in numerous sewing classes. In our school district, three of the four high schools have full sewing classes,but one has little enrollment for the teacher herself has only taken a sewing class through a sewing machine company and, therefore, lacks the skill to assist the students gain competency. At the other schools once each student had his/her own machine on which to sew. Now students must share machines-a less desirable situation. In these economic times, perhaps interest in sewing will increase and school districts will respond. Finding competent teachers will remain a problem for sewing is not in the curriculum of some universities in this state.
Posted: 9:44 am on December 31st

sewlady70 sewlady70 writes: Most of the schools around here (Ohio) do NOT have any sewing or home ec. classes. What I learned in the late 50's from my sewing teacher has been invaluable! I love to sew but unfortunately most of my family does not sew. One daughter did in high school but sews very little now. The other two bring me their mending! The girls in the office where I once worked couldn't even hem or sew on a button. I did take a short course in cooking but didn't like it; however, the teacher was quite good so I think both skills are really needed more than ever. I sewed at first to save money but now sew for pleasure. But with the high cost of living now, I would think more people would be interested in sewing, at least to make crafts or simple projects as gifts, etc. I live in the "quilting" belt more or less but I haven't tackled that yet but have sewn practically everything else, from my own wedding gown to christening gowns to hemming a funeral pall! Bring back this skill to the schools.
Posted: 9:27 am on December 31st

LucyJane LucyJane writes: I learned to sew by my mother's knee. I made doll clothes for my Terry Lee doll and thought they were wonderful but were probably gastly. My mother never said a negative thing.
I did take a sewing class at Singer Sewing Machine Company
one summer vacation during elementary school.
I went to a very progressive school (back in the 50's) and my sewing and cooking continued. In high school I was light years ahead of everyone else. As a matter of fact the dress that I made in class my mother wore to my brother's wedding. I have continued to sew because it was a necessity especially because I had five children. Something always needed attention. Today I have a serger and a good machine.
If you can read you can sew.

My greatest achievement was teaching a young lady who had a full scolarchip to Vassar how to sew. She sewed and mended
for her "rich" schoolmates and socked the $$$ and today is a Phd.

I amazed at how many young women who don't even know how to sew a button on!
Posted: 9:03 am on December 31st

Threadsfan Threadsfan writes: When I was in high school in the 1950's I took sewing from a marvelous instructor, Miss Good at Washburn High School in Minneapolis, Mn. A tough but wonderful teacher.
I have continued to love sewing all my life and been involved in many sewing and quilting groups over the years.
I have met many wonderful and talented women and shared not only sewing but longtime friendships.
Now, I occasionally teach some beginning classes in Sewing and "Knowing Your Sewing Machine".
The comment I continue to hear from younger women is their interest and desire to learn! I can't imagine my life without a sewing machine (or two), my stash and continuing to learn and share my sewing knowledge.
Nancy Hailey
Posted: 8:58 am on December 31st

linc1029 linc1029 writes: I learned how to sew when I was in elementary school, also. Both my mother and great aunt taught me. By the time I got the junior high school it was not required to take home ec. Besides, my sewing skills were more than that of a beginner by then and my mother was afraid that I would do everything differently from the home ec teacher, she wouldn't like that, and I would fail the class. (even though my method was better)
As a middle school teacher I have witnessed programs shutting down around our district (Miami, Florida). Usually what happens is the current home ec (FACS) teacher moves away or retires and then the school is hard pressed to find a repacement. This is what happened at my current school. We lost shop and graphic arts the same way. This just made it easier on the district, because of budget cuts, to eliminate the programs altogether.
Fortunatly, our music teacher is very good at writing grants. I had expressed to her my desire to bring sewing back into our school. She wrote a grant for her program which included costume construction. With that I was able to purchase 6 new sewing machines and some supplies. I offered the afterschool program to my own students first. I was surprised at the response by my students. The first class meeting I had about 12 in attendance. The word got out and by the next time I had about 15 students attending, both boys and girls. They all seemed to enjoy themselves and were very proud of themselves when they finished their first project (tote bags).
Sewing does seem to be becoming a lost art. I hope that the little bit I am doing at my school will help bring out an awareness of how important this life skill is to all students. Who knows what future famous designer I may have in my midst of afterschool students.
Posted: 8:21 am on December 31st

Moonbeams Moonbeams writes: I am a substitute teacher in a school system that doesn't appreciate sewing or cooking. There are two middle schools. One has always been a waste of time. The second middle school is a wonderful thing to behold. Instead of insisting the first school set up the same curriculum, there is talk that there will be no sewing/cooking next year. In fact, they combined the sewing/cooking classes in the one middle school and actually have classes during the same time!

The talk is to get rid of it since "no one learns much" anyway. And they say they need the large classroom.

My mother, who was a seamstress, taught me when I was a little girl. Unfortunately, I didn't "conform" to the sewing teacher's class and was always getting scolded for not cutting things out "the correct way." But today, I'm still sewing. I sew for dolls now and have a website for it.

I will be sorry to see sewing go. Parents don't, as a rule, know how to do it. They don't care if their children learn. My daughter-in-law doesn't know how. I'm teaching my 2 grandchildren, ages 6 and 8.

So, enough. I'm 61 and I'm a dinosaur, I guess. Bless those people in Threads who continue to provide such a great service.

Pat
petitemoonbeams.com





Posted: 8:19 am on December 31st

DeboIng DeboIng writes: Home Economics was mandatory when I was growing up in Durham, North Carolina. We all complained about having to attend but it was fascinating. I saw a whole side of home making that wasn't present at my own home. I learned the basics of cooking, mostly what not to do and also how to sew. That little bit of introduction to sewing has held my interest throughout my entire life. The intro to cooking also sent me down the French Chef path to Julia Child. My poor family had to eat French Fluffy Omelets while I tried to become the next Julia.

Sewing and Home Making should be part of the lessons that our schools provide.
Posted: 8:15 am on December 31st

momsurfing momsurfing writes: i learned how to sew from my mom when i was in elementary school where i was also a member of 4-H. by the time i was in jr. high i was already sewing for people in my neighborhood. home ec was required in my high school with sewing a half year and cooking a half year. we were given a whole semester to make a lined jacket and skirt. i had mine done in a week......moving on to the town my husband and i eventually settled in.......the school had a home ec program but they have eliminated it completely. no sewing, no cooking....but they still have what they call a 'life skills' class which teaches the girls nothing. the boys still have some sort of carpentry/drafting taught to them and a few girls do sign up.......i think it's sad that they've eliminated home ec. i tire of hearing parents and kids say there's nothing to do. my answer is always is there nothing to do? or do you or your kids not know how to do anything? my son even taught himself to sew and learned by watching me. i'm not saying he's good but at least he can fix something or sew on a button.
Posted: 7:28 am on December 31st

momsurfing momsurfing writes: i learned how to sew from my mom when i was in elementary school where i was also a member of 4-H. by the time i was in jr. high i was already sewing for people in my neighborhood. home ec was required in my high school with sewing a half year and cooking a half year. we were given a whole semester to make a lined jacket and skirt. i had mine done in a week......moving on to the town my husband and i eventually settled in.......the school had a home ec program but they have eliminated it completely. no sewing, no cooking....but they still have what they call a 'life skills' class which teaches the girls nothing. the boys still have some sort of carpentry/drafting taught to them and a few girls do sign up.......i think it's sad that they've eliminated home ec. i tire of hearing parents and kids say there's nothing to do. my answer is always is there nothing to do? or do you or your kids not know how to do anything? my son even taught himself to sew and learned by watching me. i'm not saying he's good but at least he can fix something or sew on a button.
Posted: 7:28 am on December 31st

RevDi RevDi writes: Yes, but not until high school, and it's called "Fashion Design." It's an elective, which means not everyone can fit it into their schedule. My daughter never got to take the class because she was on a college prep track and even with an extra period there was no room. My foster granddaughters didn't have room either - one because she was making up missing credits and the other because she was college prep.
I long for the days when "Home Ec" - i.e. cooking and sewing - were required classes, at least for one year somewhere in the educational system. So does my daughter with two Master's Degrees! She laughingly says she can't cook anything that doesn't come in a box, and her sewing machine breaks in self-defense every time she looks at it.
We bought our foster granddaughters sewing machines for Christmas last year, and I wish I'd had more time to teach them sewing before their mother took them back home. They loved playing with fabric and putting pieces together to see what they could make. I hope they'll continue.
Posted: 12:53 am on December 31st

gandmfausel gandmfausel writes: By the grace of God, I still teach Family & Consumer Science. I say that because all around me school districts have dropped the program. I teach in a private school, K-12, no religious affiliation. Students showed interest, I had been subbing, my daughter was enrolled as a student, I just happened to be in the right place at the right time. That was 4 years ago, last year my position was cut to part-time as were teachers of art & foreign language. We sew, knit, quilt, embroider, needlepoint, and felt. We also, make jewelry, cook, and redesign rooms in our department annex (a Cape Cod style single family home, once used to house visiting administrators) Male & female, 6th -12th grades. I am blessed. I am thankful for everyday. Everybody loves it, even though I make them work and maintain high standards. It is an elective. In our high academic setting, it is a welcome respite from sitting at their desk for another 45 min. period.
Posted: 12:36 am on December 31st

PearlH PearlH writes: We have over 350 high schools and junior highs in Utah and over 300 of these schools still having sewing programs. Sewing is taught in the 7th grade mandated course - both girls and boys take this course - 35,000 a year. There are 8th grade sewing classes, Clothing I/II and Designer Sewing classes for students 9-12 grades. The student organization FCCLA(used to be FHA)has mulitiple sewing competitive events that student compete in at the school, region, state and national levels. The sewing projects these students are creating are fabulous. We also still have the
"Make it with Wool" contest in Utah. I just review the top three winners entries. Take confidence that sewing is alive and well in the school in Utah and in our 4-H programs.
I work as an administrator over Family and Consumer Sciences (Home Economics)programs in public education and have been an Extension agent.
One more note. Quilts are a big draw for some of our programs in the schools. Many of our high schools have quilting machines and they are busy all the time.
I do know that some states no longer have clothing and textiles as a requirement to teach Family and Consumer Sciences and if you cannot sew, you usually choose to close that part of your program.
Yes, clothing construction, textiles and sewing experiences are still alive in our school systems.

Posted: 11:51 pm on December 30th

sewing_teacher sewing_teacher writes: I have been a Home Economics/Family and Consumer Science teacher for 43 years and am depressed when I see so many schools not recognizing the value of these classes. We teach life skills along side the academic skills of math and science, communication skills like reading and interperting directions. I am so glad to see more school systems beginning to recognize the personal need to care for ones self and often find enjoyment in a hobby or use the skills for employment. Several of my former students have become chefs, interior decorators, preschool teachers and some are now teaching in my field. I have been richly rewarded as a teacher, no not with money but by seeing my students become sucessful in life. Please help nuture the crusade to include these classes in Middle School & High School.
Posted: 11:16 pm on December 30th

sharkycharming sharkycharming writes: I went to a small Catholic all-girls' high school in the 1990s. They had a home ec department, but only the non-college prep students were allowed to take it. I guess they thought girls who went to college wouldn't need to learn how to cook and sew. I was very disappointed because I really wanted to learn how to sew, but I wasn't exactly going to stop taking AP English in order to take home ec. All these years later, I took my first sewing class at age 36 and I fell in love with it. I wish I had been given the opportunity to adopt this hobby sooner. I doubt the public schools in my area (Baltimore City) have sewing classes; they barely have math.
Posted: 6:26 pm on December 28th

Bethechange Bethechange writes: I teach Home Ec in BC. Sewing is taught in most schools in this area. Through our association of Home Ec teachers, I've met fabulous sewing teachers from all over our province. We're passionate and dedicated to our craft, our students and our programs. We're constantly renewing our course content to keep them relevant and up-to-date. Why wouldn't we? It's what we love to do!

It's fantastic to see a student find a skill they didn't know they'd be good at, and to see them use their hands and their creativity to make something useful and beautiful for perhaps the first time.

Each year one or two of my students go on to pursue a career in Fashion Design, but what's more significant is that each year more than 100 eighth graders get introduced to a practical life skill, an enjoyable hobby, and a wonderful form of creative expression.

Posted: 11:11 am on December 24th

LuvThreadsMagazine LuvThreadsMagazine writes: At my junior high, they started making everyone take sewing and cooking, as well as woodshop and drafting. It was ALL beneficial. Other than art classes, very few things were hands-on learning.

The stigma of gender-specific activities has lessened or in some places vanished.

Teaching design and repurposing of garments and fabrics would be both practical and timely.

Textile arts are another means of expressing creativity, and should be encouraged at home, as well as at school.

Schools could teach the making of quilt squares, and the efforts could be donated. That would be teaching many lessons at once.
Posted: 5:48 pm on December 23rd

Cherlyn Cherlyn writes: Sewing wasn't a reguirement when I went through hgih school; however, my mother taught to to sew beginning at age 12. By the time I reached high school, I knew more than most of the girls in the class.

I think sewing is making a come back due to shows like "Project Runway." For years, I have watched quilting take over in my area. The nice fabric store gradually became a quilting only with some home decor fabrics. They took oout their patterns nearly 10 years ago.

Now, people around here want fabric that is quality, but it means driving a distance to acquire anything of quality for clothing. Fabric prices have gone up just like everything else, so don't let the sticker price shock you!

This spring, I am teaching sewing to a small number of students in my school. They want to learn. Since we can get quilting fabric, we'll start off with a customize pillowcase. Teaches straight stitching and corners. I want them to take a basic tee shirt and design their own look. The come back with sewing has to include getting away from the pattern envelop and allowing creativity! That is what the kids want to learn while learning the basics.

Our new all inclusive high school will be teaching design and sewing. Schools are bringing it back because the kids have asked to be taught.

I wish there was a better selection of fabrics and patterns in my area that didn't require an hour or two drive to find it. I would like for kids to see the difference in quality of textiles. They need to know that that cheap top is not such a good purchase due to the poor quality of fabric. Sometimes feeling the difference coupled with seeing goes a long way!
Posted: 5:18 pm on December 23rd

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