I went from my D-minus “only due to diligent effort” status, (meaning I flunked my sewing class), to Beginner under the tutelage of my mother-in-law. From her I learned how to place a zipper, use tailor markings and the care and keeping of a sewing machine. All good stuff. She helped me master the basics. Shortly thereafter, her son was transferred and we moved many miles away.
Our new home situated me right next door to a woman who was to become a life long friend. She had grown up in the deep south and had learned to sew at the age of five. She would sit on her grandmother’s lap at the sewing machine and her grandmother would operate the treadle cuz my friend was not yet big enough to reach the treadle and my friend guided the material under her grandmother’s instruction. She made her own patterns, knew the art of French sewing and on and on.
When we moved in I had just given birth to my second child. After the chaos of settling in to a new home and new family member simmered down, I began sewing again. My neighbor was a life saver! It was from her that I began to learn the finer points of sewing.
My husband’s Aunt lived an hour’s drive from us. Aunt Katie knew I enjoyed sewing and she was an avid bargain hunter. One day she happened upon 3 to 4 yards of velvet drapery fabric that she obtained for next to nothing. The material was a rich green color. Aunt Katie gave me the material. I decided to make a dress for my two year old from it. I showed the material to my neighbor as well as a pattern I had bought. My neighbor admonished me to be careful with the material due to the nap of the material. I said, “huh??” My neighbor promptly took the material and the pattern away from me. She told me she would cut the pattern for me. Long story short, she ended up sewing the dress (a jumper-style) and made a blouse trimmed in the same velvet to complete the ensemble. The entire outfit was quite charming and I dressed my daughter in it for a portrait sitting at the local photography studio. Later, my neighbor showed me the ins and outs of sewing with velvet. She was right; I did not have enough knowledge to use that fabric at that time.
A few years later we were transferred again, but this time I had enough sewing knowledge as to be comfortable on my own. I was able to sew many of my children’s clothes, mine and even a few things for my husband. I’m not “super-seamstress”, but I do ok. Most of all, I still enjoy sewing and learn something new all the time. I keep a notebook on stuff I sew now. Wish I had caught on to the notebook thing earlier tho’.
And if wishes were horses, beggars would ride. Even the simple stuff is never easy!!