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Teach Yourself to Sew

Who influenced or taught you the most when you started sewing?

Threads issue #156 (August/September 2011) is now available.

Sewing is a learned talent. None of us were born with sewing skills. We learned in a variety of ways—in school, from a friend or relative, from classes, and now from videos and other teach-yourself methods. In the latest issue of Threads (#156, August/September 2011), we asked our contributing authors (Kenneth D. King, Katherine Tilton, Mary Ray, and Norma Bucko) to tell us how they got started sewing. Each of these extremely talented individuals was inspired to sew because of someone else’s influence. Their responses are fascinating and quite varied.

I was young when my mother first taught me to sew. She used to spend lots of time sewing and frequently made clothes for herself and for my younger sister and I, as well as home accessories. It would stand to reason that as a curious kid I would ask to learn to sew just like her. 

Following my request to learn, my mother turned sewing into a special event. It started with an outing to the local fabric store. The shop was nothing fancy by my standards today, but was spectacular to my child’s eye. I looked through all of the pattern books and selected the perfect pattern. I suspect Mom worked hard to direct me toward something with simple lines that I would have success with. Next I selected the fabric—a long, laborious event. I’m certain I looked at every fabric bolt several times before making a decision—again I’m sure my mother helped to guide me, but she did so with care and patience, because I totally felt the decision had been all mine.

I don’t recall the final garment, but I do recall the hours of instruction that went into it. I learned to cut properly, mark successfully, and finally how to sew using her black, one-stitch Singer. I was hooked! By the time I took sewing in Junior High years later (required for all girls—no boys allowed), I was fairly adept at making just about anything. I thought my quality was flawless, although looking back, I suspect it wasn’t quite that perfect. It’s all in the eyes of the beholder—and in my youthful eyes, my garments were nothing short of works of art. I am truly grateful for such a solid sewing foundation. I have found tremendous enjoyment in sewing all my life and know that my early years had a lot to do with my growing and continued pleasure. Of course, working at Threads certainly helps to keep that passion alive!

Tell us who influenced or taught you the most when you started sewing? Were you a kid or an adult when you caught the “bug”?


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  1. rkr4cds1 | | #1

    Thank You,mostly Mom - and Grandma. As the older daughter of two, with 5 brothers on both sides of us, Mom sewed just about everything but our underwear from before the time I was born during WW2 through the late 50s. She even made a suit or 2 for Dad, complete with the 'proper bespoke' elements. She could do anything.
    Once every year or so, Grandma stayed for a week or two and helped with the annual batch of PJs and whatever else needed sewing, separately from babysitting while another sibling was being added to the growing family of 7 kids. They even sewed or knit or quilted the hot pads used for cooking and canning the countless quarts of food that we consumed during the winter, not down-on-the-farm, but in suburban Chicago.
    I still sew—personally and in my business, as they taught me - "It has to look as good on the inside as it does on the outside!"

  2. Okiegramma | | #2

    I had a teacher in a one-room country schoolhouse in South Dakota, mid 1950's, believe it or not! She taught me sewing techniques as a part of the curriculum. I won a blue ribbon in the South Dakota State Fair as a 1st grader. I also had a basic understanding of sewing from my mother, a farm wife who make almost all of our clothing. I have had a 40 year career as a bridal designer

  3. User avater
    kvenkat | | #3

    Well, like a lot of you, my grandmother got me started, or she tried to. She was the only one in the family who did any kind of sewing. I was about 10 or 12 years old and not that interested at the time. I must not have learned very much because in 8th grade Home Ec class, I got a "D" in the sewing segment. But sfter I finished college, I finally developed the interest in learning to sew. Not long after, people started asking me to make stuff for them and I bagan to make a few things for sale. I've been learning ever since. Even though I am mostly self-taught, I still have to give Grandma credit for trying!

  4. Suze60 | | #4

    I started out hand sewing clothes from scraps for my Barbie doll back in the 60's. I must have done some machine sewing on my mom's classic Necchi machine before I took freshman Home Ec but it was really in high school that I started sewing my own clothing. Then I honed my skills by sewing Vogue Patterns. Still the best IMO. My mom took a tailoring class and taught me when I wanted to make a Chesterfield coat. Whew! That's more work than I'm interested in now!

  5. DeQueen73 | | #5

    I learned to sew watching my grandmother on her Singer treadle machine. I sewed on it too, though most of the time my early sewing came from laying my Barbies (and GI Joes) on the piece of fabric and making my own patterns and sewing them by hand. I sewed on the treadle at my home as well, until my mom got a new electric one for Christmas one year (this was in the '60's) from her boss at Western Auto.

  6. alaskapsych | | #6

    It is the same for me too, my mom taught me to sew. My mother and I had a very difficult relationship, but sewing is one place where we could come together. Besides, I was willing to do the parts she disliked just to be with her. She didn't like laying out a pattern or cutting it out. She also found the finishing hand work tedious, so I did those things. We made clothes for the both of us with me laying out and cutting out, she did the assembly and I finished the garments with any necessary hand work and pressing. But when she wasn't around, I did the entire piece. I did have a brief six weeks of home ec in which I learned what I already knew, but later on I took a Kwik Sew sewing class which probably honed my skills a bit.

    I did quit sewing about 10 years ago, not having made anything other than the occasional repair. My sewing machine was sorely neglected and when I recently moved, I made the decision to throw it out. But out of the clear blue, my daughters gave me a very nice sewing machine as a belated birthday, mother's day gift about a month ago and I am having the time of my life. And I have been remembering the good times with my mom.

  7. FrancesC | | #7

    I took sewing in school starting in grade 5 & continuing to grade 9 but it was just the basics. After I started working, I decided that I wanted a sewing machine & once I had it, I just bought patterns & followed the instructions. So, basically, I taught myself. I've been sewing for more than 50 years now so I've learned quite a bit & I guess I'm still learning. However, I've also become less adventurous because I no longer have the mental & physical energy to do the things I used to do. I have to keep sewing for myself, though, because I have a worsening case of scoliosis & finding clothes that fit would be impossible. Also, I've become accustomed to having just what I want & that would hard to give up. So, the answer is Me.

  8. miracle worker | | #8

    My mom was the one that sort of knew something about sewing.
    She made my clothes when I was very little.
    On my 9th birthday I got this beautiful doll with a black and white stripped bathing suit. IT WAS A BARBIE DOLL!
    I would gaze at the glorious clothes in the tiny catalog that came with the doll. I ask mom if I could buy some and she told me they were too expense. Why don't you make your BARBIE! some outfits.
    This was the beginning of my adventure into the world of sewing. Mom was into this great hunt for the perfect doll dress also. She knew I would be taking off with this process if I liked it. Liked it! I loved it, the freedom to get any color, with any trim you wanted! Yeah, That was back in the sixty's. Yes, I took off with this sewing thing. I not only made great dresses for my BARBIE, but for me and my sisters. By the time I was 12 I had paying customers :), no babysitting for me.
    I took Home Ec in junior highschool, ended up making my prom dress and two dress for the teacher.
    I always wanted to go to design school, so I did in my adult years at night.
    Yes, my mom helped me read and follow the patterns, but I was the one whom taught me. I love the creative freedown.
    Working on husbands trench coat now.

  9. Carollight | | #9

    My mother was and still is an accomplished seamstress. She made her own patterns using the pages of the Kansas City Star for pattern paper. My two sisters and I had dresses with matching underpants made from printed flour sacking (now I have dated myself...who remembers when flour was packaged in brightly patterned cloth sacks?). Following her example, I was interested in sewing from a very early age. At five, I attempted my own pattern-making: I drew an outline of a dress around a doll - sleeves and all in one piece. My choice of a sewing area was the screened porch of our apartment building; sitting on the hard floor in front of a revolving fan blowing air across a bowl of ice cubes. I spent a great deal of time handstitching and re-stitching the sides of the dress. When I was called in for lunch, I carefully smoothed my creation flat on the floor with needle, thread, and thimble nearby and reluctantly went inside. Unfortunately I did not have a very amicable relationship with an eight-year-old girl in the building--she destroyed what I was sure would be the most desired doll dress in the world. To say the least, I was devastated and cried all day. But, my mother helped me to make another pattern and I finished the dress. I think that experience has helped me to develop the determination to let nothing interfere with the completion of a sewing project. And of course, my mother's love of sewing is what influenced me to become a fiber artist.

  10. User avater
    molliefran | | #10

    Ninth grade home economics teacher, Joyce Hribeck, Tyler, Texas. I believe that it was her first teaching job, 1959-1060. My friends and I still talk about how she taught us to sew. WE also learned to set a perfect table. The semester project was my favorite: white cotton eyelash fabric sundress with lined bodice and spaghetti straps. She came to our homes for a family dinner visit. Can you imagine making all of those home visits? Mother bought us a Singer Slant-o-matic machine and the rest is history. My sister still has the old Singer machine. We drag it out for heavy duty sewing and perfect buttonholes with the Singer attachment in the pink box.

  11. User avater
    ginnylynn | | #11

    Desire, need and circumstance were my teachers!

    One time as a very young woman I was looking for an outfit for a special occasion and I had something very specific in mind - which meant, of course, that it couldn't be found anywhere! So I bought a pattern (Butterick 4189 - c1986), the perfect fabrics and notions (a fine wool, a luxurious tapestry and elegant gold buttons), and a sewing machine (a Singer that only had about 6 or so different stitch functions), and just made it myself.

    I still have to laugh at how fearless I was, and how lucky I was that it didn't turn into a huge disaster. I made a couple more menswear garments using a combination of pin tracing existing garments and fabric draping on the men themselves and then never sewed another stitch until about 3 years ago.

    Once again I wanted something no one had for sale - curtains this time. I made 3 sets of self-designed curtains, decided I needed a more modern sewing machine, bought a pants pattern and was so pleased with myself that I haven't looked back since.

    I'm still fearless, but I know enough now to expect the odd disaster.

  12. peej2 | | #12

    My mother. She sewed matching dresses for us. I used to say the only one who had it worse than me was my younger sister Teresa. There were four girls and it looked like we wore the same dresses for years!
    My mother sewed clothes for our Barbie dolls andknitted them sweaters. All while raising six children born within nine years.
    If I could only be half the person she is, I would be happy. I love you mom!

  13. User avater
    curleyque | | #13

    The summer I was 10 years old, I had a Brownie leader that taught us the basics of sewing. We each made a simple little sleeveless shift. From that point on, my mother - a wonderful seamstress, took over. I remember her making my sister and I Barbie doll clothes for Christmas, as well as making our Easter and Christmas outfits. I know it was hard for mom to give up her precious machine for my use, and I'm sure I tried her patience numerous times - but she taught me patience and perseverence. I learned from mom that unsewing is a part of the process and if I wanted my projects to look good, pressing couldn't be overlooked. Although mom doesn't sew anymore - her love of sewing lives on. Thanks Mom!

  14. bkryatty | | #14

    Four inseparable influences for me - and, no surprise - they are all the same as everyone else here: my mom who was very free creatively and let me be happy with my finished product no matter how imperfect it probably was, and who, along with my dad, firmly believe that you could do anything yourself as long as the instructions had clear pictures. Thank God there was no Time/Life or Singer series on brain surgery!

    My gramma who taught me the importance of really nice finishing. I still think of her every time I hear the crunch of scissors cutting fabric resting on a table top.

    My Home Ec teacher, Lynn Couch, who taught me (and 27 other girls in my class - not to mention the other four 28 girl classes she had) how to use a sewing machine and who was always encouraging.

    My beloved red-haired bubble-cut Barbie doll. I started sewing at age 12 making clothes for her. I used a couple of simple Simplicity patterns. I've been sewing for her off and on ever since. It's not the same doll (my little sister got her and an extensive wardrobe), and her clothes are way classier, and I use a sewing machine and I sew more than doll clothes - in fact everything - but dressing Barbie got me started.

  15. 416 | | #15

    My Home Economic teacher taught me the basics of sewing when we had to make an apron before we could learn to cook. I became an expert at taking seams out but it taught me how to make them straight and curved. My mother was a dressmaker and my father was a tailor. Our home Singer was quite busy so my sewing machine at school was my best friend.

  16. User avater
    rockycolo | | #16

    I learned to sew at the age of 12 simply because that was what girls did back then. But, it wasn't until I discovered the Make It Yourself With Wool contest in the 60's, sponsored by the American Sheep Industry, that I was hooked.
    The contest's emphasis on fine sewing and a well-constructed wool garment encouraged me to learn new techniques and try design challenges that were a stretch for my level of sewing.
    I enjoy sewing more today than ever before and hope to continue learning and sewing for a long time to come.

  17. Soucieville | | #17

    My Mother. Mom was a very good seamstress, she grew up during the depression and could not afford new or fancy clothes. She saw something she liked and she then made it. She saved for a peice of material and when she bought it she knew exactly what she was going to make from it and did a fantastic job. When she came up to an item that challenged her, she took a class at one of the local high schools. I still have a swing coat that she made in 1941. My sisters and I fought over who would wear a baseball style jacket she made in 1946. The elbows on the sleeves gave up and Mom put a red patch on them that matched the cuffs and the yoke. We couldn't bear to just throw it out when it could no longer be repaired and we burned it when burning the leaves one fall. (This was a few years ago and it was then legal to burn leaves outdoors.) Mom felt that the trim on my wedding dress, a dress I made from white velvet, and veil needed "something" and bought a ton of the trim I had bought for the dress. She hand stitched the trim onto the dress and the veil, a l-o-n-g veil. (I "discovered" that if you press velvet with a patterned towel, the pattern transfers to the velvet ! Mom calmed me down on the phone, I was in Bangor, Maine and Mom was in Framingham, MA. Then told me how to fix it.) She cut out all four dresses and made two of the bridesmaids dresses. My Mother-in-law made the other two. All the bridsmaids wore the dresses at least once after the wedding.
    Mom developed severe osteoporosis and started to make her own t-shirts and pants and was still making them until about five years ago. Mom just turned 90 on July 12th. Alzhiemers has taken much of her abbilities from her, but untill recently, I could ask Mom any question about sewing and crochet and know I was getting the best advise.

  18. catisnapping | | #18

    I took sewing classes for four years in high school. My teacher was an older woman. I can't say I was fond of her; she wasn't very cheerful or friendly. However, she knew her stuff and was a no nonsense teacher who taught us well. She always expected the senior to sew either a suit (jacket and skirt back then) or a coat. I was looking forward to that project, and learning the finer points of sewing. Alas, she retired and we got a new teacher just as I reached my senior year. She was young, not terribly experienced, and not terribly friendly. Instead of the coat I was hoping to learn how to sew, we were required to knit or crochet a whole outfit. I crocheted something, which turned out ok, but I don't think I ever wore it. Kinda dorky for a teenager to wear back then. Oddly, my teacher said it turned out a lot better than she was expecting it would, based on the picture. Left handed compliment. Alas, just as I was reaching the point where I could sew clothes that didn't look homemade, I lost interest. Wish I'd stuck with it. Maybe now that I'm older I may get back into it. Maybe I'll learn to sew that coat... At least I've been able to do lots of mending and Halloween costumes and curtains over the years. Sewing is a truly useful skill.

  19. nobodysgrandma | | #19

    When someone asks me "how did you learn to sew," my reply is "How did you not learn to sew." My mother was the perfectionist. I remember watching her cut out a red gingham, two-piece housedress at the kitchen table when I could barely see over the table. Each tme she put the scissors down, I'd try to snatch them up and cut something out of the scraps. I was fascinated by that smell of the drawer in the sewing table: machine oil, beeswax, bobbins, needles and pins and chalk. My brother and I would try to cop a ride on the treadle as she sewed. She would just push us off with a foot. Mom would always demonstrate what technique she was using: blind stitch, basting, easing, continuous lap, etc. "Now that's not the way I taught you to do it," she'd say whenever I took a short cut. I got serious about garment sewing so I'd have something new to wear to school. Sewing when everybody else was out having fun in the summer. I had the originality bug and still do.

  20. sfaddies | | #20

    When I was little my Grandma would buy grownup clothes and remake them for me to wear so I was dressed to the nines for kindergarten. When I was 12 my Mom decided to teach me to sew. We got a pattern that called for an invisible zipper. After my Mom decided she just couldn't do the zipper she took a break. Within 5 minutes I took zipper to her completely inserted. When she looked at what I had done she knew there was nothing she knew that she needed to teach me and I finished the dress by myself in about an hour. So my grandma inspired me and my Mom cut me loose which was also inspiring. Basically I am self taught and make quite a few of my own designs.

  21. User avater
    RevDi | | #21

    I had two influences:

    The first was a summer school teacher. In the good old days, when school districts had money, you could go to summer school for fun. I took sewing when I was nine, and I had a wonderful teacher who showed us how to make a one-piece facing for sleeveless dresses and tops. She also taught us to cut through pattern notches and instead clip slightly into the seam allowance, saving time and making a much more accurate mark. I learned that pattern instructions weren't set in stone; that you could find and use workarounds and sometimes they were better than the original instructions.

    The second was my great-aunt, who sewed for a living most of her life. She taught me how to match plaids and work with napped fabric. She explained to me what those funny little "grain" arrows on the pattern pieces were for. She taught me how to make tailor tacks, and I still prefer them. She taught me an easier way to put in zippers. But most of all, she gave me the confidence to tackle any project I put my mind to, and consequently I sewed things I probably wouldn't have tried if I had known better.

    I figured out how to make a lined and piped slipcover without a pattern. I tailored a man's sportcoat. I made several wedding gowns and formals. I made my own jeans thanks to Calvin Klein's pattern for Vogue. I made my husband's dress and sport shirts. I made silk neckties. I made my children's clothes from the time they were born until they went to middle school. Everything came out beautifully.

    Now I've started quilting - a new adventure. I enjoy piecing the tops, and I'm just starting to work on actual quilting. I learned how not to hand quilt by entering a small quilt I made for my youngest grandson in the local fair. I've done a couple of "stitch and ditch" quilts. I'd like to do some more intricate quilting, but lack of space is a real hindrance. But I have fun, and if the recipient is important, or picky, I send the quilt out to be finished by a professional. If not, I stitch in the ditch and try to be a little more daring with each one I do, space permitting.

  22. DrivesSewMachBest | | #22

    My mother started me driving a sewing machine at about age 9 which would have been way back in about 1962.

  23. User avater
    dovebar | | #23

    Who influenced me most? My home economics teacher! My mother had no interest at all in sewing and thought it was a 'waste' of time. Both my grandmothers sewed and gave me some direction,however, it was my diligent home economics teacher that had the most influence on me as she patiently guided me through my first skirt and then dress! From there on I ran with the "ball." I loved it and taught myself forward to make my wardrobe, then my daughters cloths, my window coverings and then home and holiday decorations. I also enjoy various types of needlework, which I also taught myself.

  24. gennevi | | #24

    My mother sewed dresses for herself, my sister and I. When I was born, she had a row of fluffy 1950's frocks ready for her little Jennielynn. She was not a teacher though but her equipment was there and I learned from watching. I must have been about four when I sewed the needle through my finger which is still slightly mishapen. She also bought us lots of dolls, paperdolls and coloring supplies. I was drawing my own paperdoll clothes before school age. When I was older, she provided me with a treadle machine because she did not like me to mess up the timing on her Singer. I started making doll things from scraps and later her friends gave me their discarded clothing which I altered or remade for myself. I can only imagine what they must have looked like. I was known for being wierd in elementary school. In eighth grade, I failed my sewing class because the teacher said my mother made the project and she would not grade it giving me an incomplete. Ignorant woman! I still feel the injustice.

  25. forbarb | | #25

    forbarb knows her MOM gave her the help to learn and use the knowledgein everything. I cannot say it enough. She sewed for us and did alterations for Tall and Big Shops when we got out of school.
    I have used my talent to share at church and love teaching anyone to sew.
    My granddaughter will definetly go to Martha Pullens School for kids when she turns 8.
    We both can't wait, more bonding I love it!!!

  26. celticstitcher | | #26

    My Gran taught me to sew, knit and crochet, then my ex MIL encouraged me and bought me my first sewing machine for my 21st birthday. Both ladies taught me with patience and love and I now have skills that I will treasure for life - and I still use the sewing machine 20+ years later :-)

  27. planner56 | | #27

    Mom, while not a sewer, did mending & such. She presented me with a needle & thread at age 6 to sew a button on a strip of fabric with two holes in it for a troll doll. That was my first project and I have not stopped since. Both Grandmothers were sewers who mentored me along, but one grandmother's friend, a life time tailor who had made everything from doll clothes to wedding dresses and men's suits took me under her wing one summer when I turned 12. It was one of my most memorable summers sitting on an airy porch in St. Pete either sewing or watching her work on a men's jacket. She taught me how to judge material quantity needed, how to lay out items on solids, strips and patterns & match everything. She always said if you don't enjoy the process you shouldn't be sewing. I progressed through high school and made all of my clothes for college and beyond to my daughters clothes and finally in 2005 her silk wedding dress.
    Sewing and photography has been my retreat and love for years.

  28. cre8girl | | #28

    Many people influenced me because I love to learn new sewing ideas, but 3 stand out. First my grandma Pauline who had sewn professionally (including Triangle Shirtwaist Factory but was not working on fateful day). She lived with us when I was young and was my best friend. She sewed all day and I watched. Then Dorothy Tunney taught me and my sister. But the greatest influence was Mrs. Payne, my high school sewing teacher. I was allowed to sew for school plays during class and eventually earned a school letter. My best friend, Sue continues to inspire me.

  29. NiamhLyonhart | | #29

    I've really enjoyed reading these. I feel like people in my generation learn from online tutorials and DIY books. I learned from my grandmother when I was 5. She used to make all of her own clothes, and I thought that was just the coolest thing. I wanted to be able to make things. I know she had to have had a lot of patience with me, because I can't imagine my five year old attention span was easy to work with. I learned to sew on her old Necchi, which she still has. She taught me the basics, and I've taught myself the rest through trial and error. I'm a self employed fashion designer and I make womens wear.

  30. User avater
    GinnieI | | #30

    In my teenage years, I met my husband, and although we didn't marry for several years, his mom was probably the one who most influenced me. She was/is the most patient woman. She had a 2nd sewing machine set up in the corner of her dining area, with a knee pedal instead of a foot pedal (I actually wish the machines made today were set up that way), and I'd bring fabric & pattern to work on. As I did each step, I'd go out to the living room and show her my work. Usually the seam ripper came out next, until it was perfected (OK, accepted) by her.
    If I hadn't been pushed to excel, I don't think I'd have the desire today, to learn more & want that professional look. That was 30+ years ago, and I'm still learning new things (even signed up for a beginning sewing class at the junior college this semester). I also teach sewing and quilting. So figure that one out. You can ALWAYS learn if you're listening.

  31. shanninen | | #31

    Well, my father decided that my mom should learn how to sew, so he went out and bought her a sewing machine (A Singer touch and sew). My mom took a few lessons, but then I decided that I wanted to learn. My mother and I struggled with a wrap dress, then I just took off from there. This was about 1966 and I was only 12 at the time. From there I learned more in home ec. classes and there was an friend of the family that lived in our neighborhood who taught me the rest. She was one of these types that knitted and sewed and was very accomplished. If she decided one day that she thought she would like to make a slip cover for a chair, she just did it! She taught me tailoring techniques that I still remember such as pad stitching, for example. I had come upon this in a pattern and had no idea what it was. Well after many years of being away from sewing I have my own sewing room now and a new Bernina (actually used) machine. My body has changed so I'm struggling with fitting commercial patterns. I just love to back at it, have subscribed to Threads magazine and have sewn two garments, one I like and one I'm not sure of yet. Will keep on with this hobby for sure. So thankful to Mrs. O'Brien for helping me on all my sewing projects from the past.

  32. Alexus1325 | | #32

    Before I'd bought my own sewing machine at age 22 with my university money (I'm 27 now), I'd made a grand total of 3 middle-school home-ec projects and a pair of simple pants on my mom's old Singer. Mom wasn't very crafty and only sewed Hallowe'en costumes for my brother and I, but I was OBSESSED as a child with making things. Then, in high school, sewing was a really geeky thing to do, and only maybe 10 people in my age group took HS home-ec classes. I was uncool as it was, so I didn't need the added ridicule.
    So who really taught me to sew? Myself! It was my drive, my desire, that has led to the incremental improvement in my skills. I was really tired of not having the freedom to make the things I wanted, and step #1: buy a sewing machine. I bought a fancy Janome with triple dials and 24 stitches, and I really do use more than 2!!! Not in that first year, and not in the second, but slowly, oh so slowly, I found the resources and the fortitude to learn more and more challenging techniques and make use of the weird attachments and higher letters on the stitch dial :P

  33. love-to-sew | | #33

    My Mother taught me to sew at an early age. She was a beautiful seamstress and did it all on a Singer treadle sewing machine. Considering my Mother had an eighth grade education, she was very artistic and quite intelligent.

    We would go shopping and see what the fashion trends were for the coming season, go to the "yard goods" department and select fabrics for a few garments. She taught me how to determine the quality of each fabric: content, weight, suitability to design, drape etc. She would picture in her mind the style for the garment and choose fabric according to her personal visualization and with her personal technique turn it into something out of Vogue magazine.

    Mother never bought patterns, she took measurements and then applied them to newspaper to create the pattern. I was the envy of all my friends. I loved my wardrobe, it was always well made and a perfect fit.
    She taught me about putting a gusset in slacks, and underarms to provide ease in wear.

    I carried on the tradition and in high school made clothes for my youngest sister, 10 years younger than myself. I drew on my Mother's instincts for fashion and fabric. I still sew and my Daughters and Grandchildren, now all grown, still ask me if I can make them something special. It is my life pleasure, as was my Mother's, to sew.

    She continues to inspire me to this day. She lived to the age of 92 and continued to sew on her treadle sewing machine until her vision started to fail at the age of 90.

    The knowledge and skills I learned from her made me the seamstress I am today.

    Thanks Mother!

  34. JanaBO60 | | #34

    When my parents were alcoholics, Mom was never around and Dad was oblivious. Consequently my little sister and I went around with either rags, hand me downs or nothing at all, depending on the season. I was in jr high and high school when my Aunt started doing sewing for my baby sister and was showing me how to read patterns, basic stitches and such. In high school I took home economics and was sewing all my clothes. At the age of 20 I sewed my own wedding dress and my Aunt sewed my bridesmaid dresses. Bless her heart. She died at the ripe young age of 101. She was a beautiful person.

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