Thursday, May 29, 2008


I'm actually using my sewing machine for the first time today in I don't know how long. I'm making some super simple pillows for the window bench in my studio. These are actually going to be for the cats to sit and shed on. No, they are not spoiled or anything.

I used to love love love to sew. I learned how in 7th grade home economics class. Young people today do not know what a home economics class is, but back in the late 60's every girl took home economics in jr high school-middle school as it is known today-and every boy took shop class. Mandatory.
We learned simple sewing and cooking-I still remember making cinnamon toast in the oven and my group forgot to turn it over half way so it was toasty on one side and soft mushy on the other. You had to eat what you cooked, too.
After learning the basics of sewing and ripping out a lot of seams, I figured out that mom would let me sew my clothes so I saw it as a good way to get more clothes-clothes and style being all important when you are in jr high school. We couldn't wear pants to school until i was in 9th grade, so I made lots of dresses. I remember one in particular, it was a tent dress, which was in style back then-really it was! A tent dress looks exactly like it sounds, a dress that starts out normal sized at the top and then just gets bigger and bigger towards the bottom, kind of like you are wearing a big letter A.
From this early start, I sewed clothes for years and years, saving all the scraps of course. You had to save the scraps after you cut out whatever you were making. You never knew when you might need a piece of olive green polyester fabric! I ended up with a lot of scraps!
Speaking of polyester, does anyone remember stretch and sew? Stretchy fabrics were kind of new back then so stretch and sew was the revolutionary way to make your own tee shirts and stretchy elastic waist polyester pants. Not that I would have worn stretchy elastic waist polyester pants!
I made lots of little dresses for Jennifer when she was young, Joseph wasn't quite as much fun to sew for, pants and shirts are kind of boring, but he had his fair share of home sewn clothes. He got to where he hated going to the fabric store, we were there at least once a week if not more. I do remember him finding some very brightly colored tropical fish fabric and specifically asking me to make him a shirt out of it. Back then it really was cheaper to sew your own clothes, not so anymore with fabric upwards of 9.00 a yard.
When I first started making things to sell they were all produced on my 1930's singer that I bought at a junk shop for 25.00 when I was 17, complete with a very retro wood sewing cabinet, all for 25.00. I sewed on that very very heavy black metal machine for years and nothing compares with the good old singers. I made very elaborate cloth dolls and sold them at a local gift shop until I got tired of dolls and the gift shop, and started making holiday things to sell at an annual holiday boutique each year. I'm amazed at some of the things I used to make and how much time they took and how little I charged for them!
Then, I got into handbags a few years back when handmade bags started becoming popular, and sold lots and lots of those.
I just kind of lost interest one day in sewing and would rather do other things these days, but I still love fabric-the prints, the colors, the smell, everything about fabric. I just don't like to play with it anymore.


Jim & Heather on "Meerkat" said...

I'm sewing today too - or will be after I go on the all day hunt for non-sticky velcro... could be something I find in La Paz, or maybe not. To find velcro, I look on the cruiser store listing, find fabric stores then go walk all over town. Nothing else to do though!! Need to make more sunshades for the boat. I do use the surfboard purse you made me a lot! Have fun.

sarah said...

Do you remember driving up to Oaji (is that the right's been so long since I have seen that word on a sign) a million years ago with the kids up to Laina in the old mercedes...We got to the shopping area (which of course had a fabric store) and Joseph wouldn't get out of the car...He said..."my hate fabric stores!" We laughed so hard because we weren't even sure how he knew there was a fabric store in the center.