Who first taught you to sew?

comments (43) June 16th, 2009     

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_nikki_ Nicole Smith, contributor
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From crafty mothers and helpful books to inspiring home-ec teachers and how-to videos, where did you first learn how to sew?

posted in: Sewstylish conversation

Comments (43)

mormorlcj writes: My grandmother was a wonderful seamstress and she made nearly all of my clothes on her Singer treadle machine until I was around 8 years old and her health failed. She taught me the very basics of hand sewing, and under her guidance I made some doll clothes and the top of a small patchwork quilt. However, despite her patient coaching, I was never able to master the use of a thimble. Nor, I freely admit, was I ever truly able to understand why I, (or anyone else, for that matter), would have any reason to master the use of a thimble. Unfortunately, I think she felt personably responsible for this glaring gap in my sewing skill set and assumed my progression as a seamstress was doomed.

I had the "bug", though, and by the time I was around 10 I very much wanted a sewing machine. So, I started saving my babysitting money, and after 220-plus hours of babysitting my cousins, I saved enough to buy a basic Singer machine. From that point on, I was almost entirely self-taught, and definitely learned by the process of trial and error.

I continued sewing for myself, friends, and my children until about 15 years ago, when life just seemed to get too hectic. But, I'm happy to say that I am starting to sew again! Not that my life isn't still hectic, but after five grandsons in the last 10 years, I now have a granddaughter and I can't wait to start sewing up a storm for her!
Posted: 11:22 pm on July 22nd
themadtailor writes: My mother taught me the basics, which she learned from her mother, back in the days when a sewing machine was included with your necessary household appliances.

She had me practice straight lines by having me hem sheets--oh, how I hated that! I'm one of ten children, so mom made our clothes as much out of necessity as creativity.

I got my first machine shortly after I was married in 1968, which I used on the kitchen table. My husband teasingly told everyone that he never got dinner on time again after my projects took over the kitchen!

After making clothes for friends and relatives for free, my mother-in-law said I should be making some money at this, so I put a tiny ad in our local paper, and the calls started to come! I've had my home-based business since 1980, specializing in bridal and formalwear, but I do just about everything. My business now takes up about 1000 square feet of my home!

I can't imagine doing anything else. I always appreciate having a skill that allowed me to be at home with my children and still contribute to the family income.
Posted: 9:10 pm on July 22nd
Chrisclothworks writes: I remember making doll clothes and doing embroidery starting at about 5. I have no idea where I got fabric or learned the stitches. My mother couldn't sew a stitch and neither could either of my grandmothers. When I was 9 I went to visit my two aunts for summer vacation and they decided I needed to really learn how to sew. I made a plaid pleated skirt. Both aunts went to Catholic schools all their lives and learned to love plaid and pleats. One aunt taught me the machine and the other taught me how to sew hems with a catch stitch. She was left handed and I was right handed. To this day I sew by hand in a left handed direction with my right hand. It's quite a sight to watch. They decided that putting in a zipper and making a buttonhole might be too difficult and velcro had just been invented, so my plaid skirt was closed with velcro. I was so proud of that skirt. After several washings the velcro wore out and I had to teach myself how to put in a zipper and a buttonhole. I did have a machine. My grandfather had decided in about 1948 that my mother, his daughter, and his wife should all have sewing machines. They each got a featherweight for Christmas. I used my mother's (the first time it had ever been out of its box) to put in that zipper and do the buttonhole. This was in 1958. I was on my way! When I was in the 7th grade I took a home ec class. The first project was a gathered skirt. The second project was a blouse to go with the skirt. It had a jewel neck, buttoned down the back, had dolman sleeves with gussets under the arms. My skirt was lavender and the blouse a lavender print. I took every sewing class I could after that and made all of my own clothes. I did costumes for the school plays and took tailoring in my senior year. In that class I made a burgundy velvet cocktail dress with a matching jacket. The top of the dress was made from pink satin back crepe and I used that to line the jacket. I had to do a double welt bound buttonhole. It was perfect - but on the wrong side of the jacket. I also had to make a covered button. I couldn't use the snap together kind. I used a little white plastic ring and covered that with the velvet and made a thread shank. I got an A+ on this project even though the buttonhole was on the wrong side. I also started my own sewing business when I was a junior. I made vests for all the boys and had two girls for whom I made all of their clothes. Then I started doing wedding dresses as my friends got married and alterations. It was quite a profitable business, but it got to where I hated it. I had no time to sew for myself anymore. I closed that business when I was 21 and have been sewing for myself and my family ever since. I tried to teach my daughter to sew. She is very creative, but prefers to work in ceramics. However, my grandson who is 9 likes to sew with me.
My left handed aunt is still alive, but has given up sewing. The last thing she made was a plaid pleated skirt. Love you Auntie Cathie.
Posted: 12:47 am on July 20th
FabricArtistJan writes: When I was really young around 6 or so I went to my aunt's house. She made two tops for my little sister and I. She used no pattern and both tops fit well. It took her less than an hour or so. I was absolutly hooked! I tried to sew doll clothes till I was 11. I was staying at my married sister's house and she taught me how to sew clothes for myself. I have been sewing since then. I am now in my 50's and have found a resurgance in my sewing interest. I spend all my extra time at one of my 3 machines, an old Singer 774, a serger, and a Pfaff 2134 embroidery/sewing machine. What a joy to be able to have the time and the equipment to do whatever I wish. Truly Blessed!
Posted: 10:01 am on July 5th
Jae6 writes: My Aunt Kate taught me to sew when I was 10 years old. That was a long time ago now and I have enjoyed sewing ever since. Wheneveer I would get into trouble with anything she would aleays show me how to fix it. She has been gone for several years now, but she was the best. Her sewing looks like a professional did it and I hope that people say the same about mine, because I always wanted to make her proud of my work.
Posted: 10:47 am on July 3rd
SouthernStyle writes: I taught myself actually, with snippets of help from my grandmother and aunts. The beginning went like this. I loved long hair as a child--mine was kept very short and was very curly. One day I was attempting to make some long hair from a towel and a headband. My grandmother walked into the bathroom and fell out laughing as she watched me switch my head from side to side singing, Tina Turner's, Proud Mary (I was 5 at the time). Grandma must have felt bad because she later came into my room holding a ball of black yarn, suggesting I use it to make my "long hair". Well, I was in heaven! The more I worked with it the more I realized I needed it to "flow" a little more. To solve this problem I found a needle and some black thread and proceeded to sew through each long piece of yarn, connecting one then another to the others. By afternoon nap time I was sleeping soundly with my new long hair flowing over my face; I had attached the sewn yarn using thread to my old headband. I wore this hairpiece every chance I could. From that first sewing lesson I realized I could hem doll dresses, cut off sleeves from blouses where the arms were too short, make "evening skirts" to perform in – still love Tina. With two daughters and a desire to dress them in well fitting clothes on a budget, I bought my first sewing machine, a used Bernina--just gave this to my youngest daughter this year. I've since made my first pair of couture pants - divine! About two years ago I discovered, while attempting to look up my father’s lineage, that his mother was a seamstress at New York’s Bergdorf Goodman- she made wedding gowns. How cool is that!
Posted: 2:28 pm on July 2nd
bubbie writes: When I was a young girl, my mother would buy me clothes. If the pants fit the waist, the legs were enormous. If the pants fit the legs, I couldn't zip up if I tried! Nothing fir across the back, as I am broad in the back.
Finally my mother gave up in desperation, and said if I didn't learn how to sew, I would go naked the rest of my life.
My mother made beautiful tailored suits for herself, and took the time to teach me to sew.
50 years later, I am a seamstress. I make all my own clothes, as my body is still..........different, shall we say!
I will admit to having bought a computer drafting program, for myself, as I have very little time to fool with fitting myself.
THANKS MOM!!!!!!!!
Posted: 2:13 pm on July 2nd
Oraya writes: I never remember "learning" how to sew...but thanks to my Mother it just happened by osmosis! I cannot rememeber any great or grand FIRST project but doll clothes became Barbie clothes and small bits and pieces that were practical and usefull (aprons, kitchen gear, simple skirts etc.) But when I arrived in middle school at the age of 11 - time for the first 'home economics' classes - I was the only one in the class who was on a first-name basis with a needle and thread AND a sewing machine! The chosen class project was a clown which involoved sewing a stretch material to make the 'sock' that held a block of wood and a styrofoam ball (base for the body & head - a Simplicity pattern that still sleeps quietly in my pattern boxes!) then the body was formed by simple rectangles sewn together for arms and legs gathered in to hold felt feet and hands mounted onto clothes pegs....so simple, but to great effect. I worked away quietly in my corner churning out clown after clown, harlequins, jesters... while the teacher tried to show the others how to thread a sewing machine....and calling the ambulance when one boy managed to sew over his finger (about the only excitement there was that year for me!!) The year came to an end with a large inventory of these clowns; multiple batches of muffins, cakes and various other baking projects, and a growing realisation that I was extremely fortunate to have a Mother and Grandmother who had taken the time and energy to help me learn at a very early age these 'mundane' but extremely usefull skills. Time rolled on and simple skirts became more complex ones, blouses, shirts evening dresses, 17th century costumes....my wonderful 'heavy as a boat- anchor' second-hand Elna that my Mom could barely afford but scrimped and saved to buy for me hummed away quietly through winter coats and more projects than I could probably count now. Almost 30 years later and half-way around the world - the old Elna traded on for a wonderful Bernina bought where we now live in Switzerland...curtains, bed sheets...and on and on.
My now 82 year-old mother came for a visit at Christmas and while I was altering a blouse for her, she reminded of something I had completely forgotten about that year in middle school. The teacher got wind that there was going to be a 'surprise' inspection by the school board...and horrer of horrers there was nothing in the glass display case outside the classroom to show what had been achieved that year to date...Only one of the other students had completed their 'clown' project...what to do? She called my Mom at home (without me knowing!) and asked her how many clowns had I completed....requested them all (I think there ten) and the display cabinet was magically filled in time for the inspection! THANKS MOM!
Posted: 6:36 am on July 2nd
partytime_pam writes: Part II: I forgot to add that my grandmother worked in San Francisco's Chinatown in the garment industry. On Saturdays we would go get her at one of the many sewing factories where they paid "piece meal". My dad would take us to pick her up after her shift with all those Chinese ladies sewing at the industrial machines whirring loudly. They would say in Chinese, "Are those your grandchildren? How cute they are!" when we ran up to her to see her. The machines were so noisy! It was truly a cultural experience! Everyone in my family says I got my sewing abilities from my grandmother. I take that as a huge compliment since she made so many things for us as children. She was an amazing woman, raising 9 kids on a single income with no college education. I miss her terribly!
Posted: 3:08 am on July 2nd
partytime_pam writes: My mom taught me to sew when I was about 8 years old. We cut out a dress together and she would give me instructions on what to do one step at a time. She would be in the living room doing something while I was at the sewing machine. On her direction, I would sew what she told me to sew, bring her the what I had done, she would tell me what to do next, I would sew it, bring it back to her and we went back and forth like that until she had to show me something at the machine or I was done. She would often buy a dress for either me or my sister and then she would MAKE a dress just like it for the sister that didn't get the purchased dress. So we ended up having "sister" dresses! She made many outfits for us growing up in the 60's.

I went on to take many tailoring and advanced sewing classes as an adult but will always cherish my memories learning from my mom.
Posted: 2:48 am on July 2nd
clematislover writes: One of my first memories is sitting at my Mom's feet, watching her make her Singer treadle sewing machine go. My Mom taught me to sew clothes for my dolls when I was quite young. She taught me to knit when I was around 8 years old. I remember knitting a yellow bikini for my Barbie doll. I had to figure out how to make it fit, by trial and error. I thought it was silly to make a pair of slippers, in 7th grade Home Economics, out of 2 wash cloths. I was far above that skill level by then. I made most of my own clothes in Jr. and Senior High. I continued that practice once I got to college. I never did try to make a pair of jeans, though. I've worked my way through sewing clothes for myself ( all my maternity clothes), my husband and my sons when they were younger than 4 yrs. old. I've sew a tent, sleeping bags and other camping gear, as well as down outerwear. I no longer make clothing for anyone, other than some mending, occasionally. I currently alter bridal gowns and formals as a part-time job. I sew art quilts in my spare time. I can't ever see myself without a functioning sewing machine in my home.
Posted: 8:45 pm on June 30th
thecraftylady writes: I have never known a time when my mother was not sewing. Having 5 children on a single income in the 70's was not easy, but mum sewed for us girls. The only problem was...mum is not a teacher. So, when I was 10 my best friend and I took private lessons from a retired dressmaker in town. This was a sacrafice at the time, as money was always tight in our household. Yet, mum knew what a blessing it is to be able to create your own fashions, re-decorate on a budget, or just do the everyday mending that comes from having a family. As I've gotten older, I've come to understand that mum sewed because she had to, but I sew because I love to. I have never let a difficult project stand in my way; I will always try something at least once. I found out from my grandmother that my Great-grandmother and sisters had a couture shop in Chicago, in the early part of the 20th century. Evidently I come by my love of fabric naturally. I have at different times sewed for others, but my greatest achievments have been when I sew for my children and grandchildren. Watching my granddaughter delight in a new project that Grandma made is wonderful. I hope I never develop an ailment that keeps me from sewing. I have started quilting...being 40-something I thought I should at least try it...we'll see how it goes. None of my daughters show an interest in the sewing (but they sure like mum to sew for them!), but my granddaughter (who's 6) likes to sit right by me and hand me the pins.
Posted: 4:17 pm on June 30th
416 writes: My sewing experience started many years ago when I was about eight years old. My mother was a dressmaker and my father was a tailor. We had one Singer pedal sewing machine to use. Momma would sew for 'her girls' and Daddy would sew for 'his boys'. The sewing machine was never idle. Momma taught the girls how to sew, embroider, and crochet so we could keep busy when the Singer was in use. When I was 12 years old, I learned how to make an apron. I was proud to receive an "A" from my Home Ec teacher. I finished making my apron and helped the others in the classroom. I am a senior now and I have used my sewing skills to teach children and adults. When I see shortcut instructions in THREADS magazine, I save them. I never know when I may be asked to volunteer my sewing skills sgain.
Posted: 3:59 pm on June 30th
BeckySchnakenberg writes: I started sewing for my dolls about age six. My aunt Jane let me use her scrap bag and helped me get started. But, really I have green blood! At the age of eight I joined 4-H and made my first dress as a beginner in a Sewing I project. I used "Chicken Linnen". That is I used four feed sacks to make a full circle sun dress and cried buckets because my 4-H leader (my mother) would not let me finish it in one day. She taught me how to sew on her precious Singer Feather Weight machine. After my 11 years as a 4-H member, I went to Mizzou and majored in Home Economics. After being chosen as an International Four-H Youth Exchangee (IFYE) to Argentina, I became an Extension Home Economist and later was moved to the State 4-H Office. After my marriage, I was a 4-H sewing leader for 25 years and taught countless young seamstress in 4-H projects and also in my Home Economics classes.

I still love to sew; but have not been sewing fashion garments. I have learned to quilt. Need I say any more?
I'm hooked!!!
Posted: 11:46 am on June 30th
JuanitaS writes: World War II scarcity made me want to dress up people in clothing not available in our small town. So, I was still loving to cut out paper dolls and their clothes, dime store stuff, when my father asked Mom...isn't Juanita too old to be doing this? She let me use her Singer treadle sewing machine, using lined paper. After much use, I overloaded the shaft with paper, and Dad had to clean it out. We made our own sheets out of muslin, ordered from catalog. Grandmother told me she and Mom made their own blouses, buttonholes by hand; she taught me how to mend socks. Mom's friend started business...taking apart men's suits, recutting from lady's pattern, making beautiful suits for sale.Now, I'm retired, do portrait sketching, jewelrymaking and will buy dressform, learn patternmaking from Armstrong book, to complete what I started years ago...fashion illustration. Out of the box thinking from art, I decided draping fabric around dress form, was like sculpture, but less work. JuanitaS
Posted: 9:30 am on June 30th
lxlaube writes: Before I went to kindergarten my maternal grandmother taught me how to hand sew, quilt, embroider, knit and crochet. My first garments were for a Shirley Temple doll and by the age of 10, I was making my own clothes. My grandmother and I would go through the Alden's catalogue and when we found a dress that I liked, she taught me the basics of pattern making and we would recreate the garment. I would go to the high end department stores in the city and look at the ready made garments to figure out how they were constructed and then incorporate what I thought the techniques were into my own garments. Sales clerks were always kind to me and encouraged me to ask questions. In 8th grade I saved babysitting money to buy a real Vogue designer pattern for my Easter outfit. I loved that pattern and hated to cut it apart and alter it to fit my minute body! After all, it cost a whopping $5 when other patterns were $.50 and $.75.

When I taught high school home economics in a low income environment, I was able to solicit local donations to buy supplies for my students and expand to night courses where we taught women to make slipcovers and draperies. By my third year teaching some of the boys began to take sewing so that they could learn to make some clothes for themselves. All one needed was a desire to sew and I found a way to provide pattern, fabric and notions. To this day fashion sewing continues to be a passion and I teach sewing to anyone who asks. I refurbish machines from yard sales and thrift stores and my student leaves with her own machine.

Sewing for me is a creative outlet, a therapist and an expression of love. The love was first experienced through my grandmother and I continue throughout my life to hopefully infect others with the same passion.
Posted: 9:04 am on June 30th
traceylyn writes: The first sewing memories I have are of standing at the sewing machine watching my mother struggle to sew. She hated it. Her mother was a seamstress for a department store in a big city and as a widow supported my mother and her brother during WWII by sewing all day and at home at night. On this occassion I was so small I had to stand on tiptoe to see over the top of the machine, fascinated as the machine needle went up and down. The first instant that my mother left the machine I climbed to her place and began the machine. It was a Kenmore with a knee control that I worked with my foot. It had been purchased at the Chicago Worlds Fair in the 1930's by my great grandmother who also hated to sew. The next memory I have is my mother putting my thumb into her mouth to pull out the broked needle with her teeth. I wouldn't stop, I loved sewing then and still do today. I am a licensed dressmaker and began with weddings in the early 1970's. Today most of my work is in period clothing and I will help anyone who wants to learn to sew. My mother would tell me while I was a teen, "You marry a man who can affort to buy you your clothes." It was beyond her that I could want to sew. She is gone now, but I think of her every day I sit down to my machine to sew.
Posted: 8:37 am on June 30th
loonlakelady writes: My grandmother, who sewed all my clothes when I was little, taught me to sew on her Singer treadle machine. I still have her machine and am hoping my 2 boys will give me a grandaughter or 2 to pass it all along to. And her machine still works great!
Posted: 8:20 am on June 30th
vbennett writes: Both my mother and grandmother taught me to sew. My mother, who is left handed, would show me one way and my grandmother, who was right handed would show me what looked to be another way. I adjusted when necessary and had my own hybrid way of doing things. Since both of them had different areas of expertise, I got the best of both worlds. I still get calls from my mother telling me about the latest presser foot for my machine or a new fabric line that is out!
Posted: 8:14 am on June 30th
dot2dot writes: My mother taught me to sew as a small child. I remember she taught me to lay my baby doll down on an old newspaper and we would trace around the doll. I then would cut the paper pattern out and lay it on a small scrape of material, pin and then cut it out. She taught me to thread a needle and then showed me how to put the material together to make my doll a new dress. She did this all before I turned the age of 5 when she died suddenly. I will never forget what she taught me and instilled the pride of making something of my very own and that someone else didn't own one just like it. Today I find solace in my sewing room where I can escape to create.
Posted: 6:34 am on June 30th
Baggaroos writes: My grandmother was my biggest influence. When she came to this country from Poland, she got work in a garment factory. They sewed butcher's aprons, chef hats, doctor's smocks and of all things, prison uniforms. Her fingers were caloused from working with the very heaHy linen and canvas fabrics. She taught me how to sew on her old treadle machine when I was about 8 years old. She would bring home scraps of fabric from the garment factory, and we would piece them together to make coverlets. The first sewing machine that my mom owned, was a little Singer hand crank machine, purchased from the Salvation Army. It was all we could afford. Yep, you turned the wheel with your right hand, and held your fabric with the left. After World War II, we were finally able to afford an electric sewing machine. I always loved sewing. It gives you such a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction. I'm 71 years old now, and still sewing up a storm. I read sewing patterns like some people read the newspapers for news! Thanks Mom and Grandma!
Posted: 11:47 pm on June 29th
personalexpressions writes: In 1963 I was in the Army and had been sent to SHAPE Headquarters in Paris, France. Before I left the US one of my sergeants had told me I could not wear civilian clothes in Europe, that I'd have to go everywhere in uniform. I had taken all my clothes home to my mom and arrived in Paris with only my uniforms and my pajamas. I then learned the sergeant had been teasing me and that it was the other way around. I HAD to wear civilian clothes on the economy. I had nothing to wear! The British military women loaned me enough clothing to get by until I could get my clothes shipped. BUT....my mother had given them to a friend who was my size but 6 inches shorter since she felt I would think them out of date when I returned to the US a couple of years later. I literally had NO clothes! Nor did I make enough money to buy ($75.00 a month).

My roomate was French Air Force and was of the era where middle class French girls had to do an hour's worth of needlework every day. She made everything except stockings. There was a sewing machine in our dayroom and Bernadette gave me the best advice I have ever heard about learning to sew. She said that I should spend twice as much as I could afford on my fabric because I would then take my time, read directions, ask questions, and rip out mistakes to redo. Cheap fabric would end up in the garbage and I would learn nothing. I've not looked back since.
Posted: 11:39 pm on June 29th
sewquilter writes: My mother tried to teach me early on, but I was not interested. She had me take a sewing class right after college and I made top and skirt outfit. I also made a sleeveless dress. They both came out pretty reasonable. I quit sewing for a few years, then when I got married, I picked it up again. (I was taught how to make clothes again by a sewing teacher who does not live from me here in Louisiana. I still call her from time to time for sewing advice.) I am now making clothes, quilts, home decor and embroidering on my machine. I remember my mother who was an excellent seamstress. She made all her clothes, my sister's and my wedding dress. I still love that dress to this day.
Posted: 10:09 pm on June 29th
SusieO writes: My Mom couldn't sew a button on a shirt! I learned to sew in high school home-ec class, I was 14. My teacher was Ms. Isabelle Swan and we, of course, called her "Old Lady Swan". She was so tough! I hated her then for it, but because of her absolute insistance on everything being perfect, I learned how to sew very well. I have earned a lot of money over the years, and when I had my sewing business several years ago. I have been sewing now for about 40 years and still love it. By the way, my first item was a little jumpsuit for my baby brother(1 year old at the time). I bet I ripped that thing out at least 10 times to make it perfect. He passed away a couple of years ago, and this was a nice memory. He always was who I thought of first, even when I was in high school.
Posted: 10:07 pm on June 29th
violet_fairies writes: My mother first taught me to sew when I was young. She would let me sew on scraps like a lot of others. I think my first project was also an apron. She also taught me to embroider at a fairly young age. I made blocks with baby animals that I turned into a quilt for my baby (30 years ago!). When I was in junior high and had to take home ec I had already been making more complex things than the simple blouse in 7th grade and an A-line skirt w/ a zipper in 8th grade. I joined 4-H in 4th grade and took sewing projects every year.

My mother made a lot of my clothes when I was younger from her old clothes (especially coats.) I still have old buttons that she removed from worn out garments. I still thank my mother every time I do something creative, even though she's been gone for 21 years now.
Posted: 9:25 pm on June 29th
sewright4you writes: My mother sewed all of her life, but at age 9 she enrolled me in the Singer Sewing Center's Beginning to Sew Class. It was in a workroom over the Singer sales floor. I remembered that I made a maxi skirt, pleasant blouse and a long vest that tied with a bow under the bust. It was so 1967! I remembered after that sewing doll clothes and sewing for myself since I was a chubby kid. Mom was always there giving me hints and showing me the proper way. This skill help me in college when the costume designer told me to make horizontal pleated pants for a Peter Pan pirate and I was able to do it. My mother died in 1984, but I will always remember that she had cut out her mother of the bride dress and still had not sewed it together when my aunt came into town with 4 days until the wedding. She got so mad at me because I did not let her sew my wedding dress( a friend from college did it). I also knew that she would be hemming my dress as I walked down the aisle. Now as I sew, repair and design clothing and home decor for my many customers I think of her when I have to rip something out. Most of the time it is because I did not do it the easy way she showed me. I have taught 4 of my 5 children to sew. When my 16 yr old son's costume had a rip in the pants this past weekend, he found the sewing machine back stage and sewed it up himself.
My 21 yr daughter called me the middle of May so excited because she had bought 2 sewing machines at the thrift store for 15.00! Both of them were heavy metal machines from the 60's.
It thrills my heart to see this spark of confidence and creativity in my children. Mom would be so proud!
Posted: 8:27 pm on June 29th
CharlieBear writes: My mother taught for Singer in the late 40's,early 50's after inspecting steel during WW2. She taught me to sew when I was in grade school. My first machine project was a shirt for my father. To start I had to take one of his old shirts apart. After all you have to learn to make a pattern first.
She thought I would learn everything from a dress shirt. Collars, cuffs, yolk, different seams and points, and even stays. Ofcourse, I also learned a lot about taking out seams without damaging the fabric. It was a major project, I not only learned techniques, to love sewing, but also to treasure the time spent with my mother. It was a great summer!!
Posted: 8:15 pm on June 29th
BarbF writes: My Mom and Grandmother both sewed. I "helped" grandma with her tredle machine by moving the tredle. Mom always gave me scraps of fabrics to play with and I made clothes for my dolls. When mom got her new Singer sewing machine, she taught me how to use it. In fourth and fifth grade I started sewing my own clothes and by high school did prom dresses for others, but mom still made my prom and dance dresses, lol. Now I own a fabric shop and have been teaching sewing for more than 30 years!
Posted: 7:43 pm on June 29th
mjfiorini writes: My mother sewed all of my life, mostly out of necessity. When I was about 9 years old, she thought it was time that I learned how to sew...an apron of all things! Well, I thought that was the most stupid idea she ever had. Why would I want an apron – I didn't want to learn to cook either!!! She gave the idea up in frustration. Well, now, as it turns out, 53 years later, sewing remains my first passion! I learned so much from my mother over the years, once I got in my teen years; she was such a careful and meticulous seamstress. She is now 88 years old, has failing eyesight and laments the fact that she isn't able to do the sewing she once could. I often thank her for having patience with me and for waiting patiently for me to be ready to learn this wonderful craft.

I turned around and taught my 3 sons how to use the sewing machine. When my youngest son and his wife purchased their first sewing machine, they argued over who would get to use it first! He won and made a blanket for their soon to arrive first child.

Posted: 7:36 pm on June 29th
Lise_W writes: I am another one who learned the basics in 7th grade in home economics (spring 1972). My mother sewed for us out of economic necessity. I had learned to iron when I was 10, and took care of all my own ironing from that point on, but I did not have the patience or the interest in sewing and needlework at that age.

My sewing relly picked up after I started square dancing and needed dresses with coordinated shirts for my partner. I took a beginning quilting class in 1984 and a tailoring class in 1985 through a continuing education program.

I started doing tent stitch needlepoint in the mid 70s when I was in high school and gradually added an assortment of other types of needlework to teh repetoire.
Posted: 6:35 pm on June 29th
djstoreroom writes: It was definitely during home economics lessons! After I stopped the lessons, I stopped sewing until my daughter was born in 2006... I wanted to sew something for her and has continued sewing till this day..
Posted: 6:03 am on June 27th
dlipsky writes: I first started with stamped cross stitch at the age of 5 (I still have the first one I made-so many years ago). My mom showed me how to make a stitch and I did the rest on my own.
As I got older (7 years old) I made Barbie doll clothes from rags that we had. At the age of 12 I took a Singer summer sewing class at the local mall. Over the years I taught myself how to do other things. I now teach after school sewing at my daughter's school (for the past 10 years)
Posted: 10:58 pm on June 22nd
gracie_girl writes: My Mom taught me not to run over the pins as she sewed for five daughters and herself [plus ties for Dad]...I loved to see the garments come together as she worked at her Singer sewing machine...her precise seams amazed me, and I remember watching the process with great interest.
Posted: 3:55 pm on June 22nd
peggyv writes: All girls had to take home economics in eighth grade and we had to sew a jumper. I didn't know anyone who sewed and I didn't get much support. I took so long to make that jumper that I got a "D" for it.
When I was in my twenties I took sewing classes at a fabric store and learned how to sew properly. My teachers encouraged us to sew more difficult garments and I'm so grateful to them.
Posted: 9:14 am on June 19th
different1 writes: Actually I taught myself using a pattern for a maternity top to cover my big belly with my first son. That was fifty one years ago. I smile to myself now for the one mistake I did make. There have been many quilts and gifts I've made over that length of time.
Posted: 12:41 pm on June 18th
sissym writes: my aunt bernice and my grandmaw taught me to sew.id watch my aunt sew on the old singer..you know the kind you peddled?? and i wanted to learn.. so i made my first pair of bell-bottomed pants on that old treddle sewing machine.then a shirt to go with.
awwww those were the days!! lol...
Posted: 8:00 am on June 18th
NitaDee writes: My Mother taught me all the basics of sewing. I started out sitting in piles of scraps with my brothers and sisters making yo yo's by hand for the many quilts and throws she made. My sister and I moved on to making aprons, then skirts. By the time we were in high school we were making most of our own clothes. I love all crafts but sewing is my favorite and I have my mother to thank for introducing me to this wonderful craft. Thanks Mom!!
Posted: 10:54 pm on June 17th
allnewandbrilliant writes: My Mother and my Aunt Frances both gave me confidence to pursue sewing for myself when I was a teen. I even completed a few projects for friends who paid me for the clothes they asked me to sew for them.
Posted: 10:35 pm on June 17th
ladygadava writes: My mother began to teach me to do crafts at a very young age. She did not let you say the word bored. She taught me a little sewing - not much since I was not learning that well. I took Home-ec one year in high school, still no success with learning (I could barely make a pillow). Years later, I now make clothes and figured out how things go together. Sewing is the one hobby I love to really do today even though I have many other crafts I can do. I am still not a pro, but getting better with every project I do. I hope to next get a dress form that is my size.
Posted: 10:07 am on June 17th
SewPix writes: I actually taught myself. I watched my mother sew occasionally but she didn't have the patience to teach me. In Jr High I needed my cheerleading skirt sewn. I studied and read the pattern over and over.... then when I thought I understood enough... I WENT for it! I've gained many skills since then, but that's how it all started... ;D
Posted: 11:03 pm on June 16th
LittleRachel writes: My mom taught me. I had a needle in hand at the age of 4 making little sachets out of tiny bars of soap and scraps of fabric. I was learning the machine at 6...now I am an addict. It is my favorite hobby. Nothing gets my juices flowing like a new project. Although, I hated it when I was a teenager and went shopping with my mom. When I saw an outfit she would always say..."you could make that!" and that was her excuse for not buying it for me. Now, when I see some outfit with a hefty price tag I just decide that "I can make that!" I love it! Thanks Mom!
Posted: 10:10 pm on June 16th
LauraMcFall writes: My Mother, Evelyn Sanford! Her most dreaded words, "Take it out and do it over." are the source of my success as a seamstress! I have taken the basic skills she taught me at a very young age (like 5 or 7?) throughout high school to unimagined heights... and I learn MORE every day! Thanks Mom - you are the greatest!
Posted: 9:08 pm on June 16th
southernsara writes: My mother tried to teach me when I was a little girl, but I'm only now developing the patience it takes. Well, I'm beginning to develop it, anyway! She is still the first person I ask if I need help.
Posted: 4:35 pm on June 16th
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