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Friday, February 1, 2013

When did I start sewing?

There's a new linky in town and it's Emily's Sew Thinky Thursday! Her debut questions are:

When did you start sewing? Tell us a bit about your sewing history. When did you realize you were really hooked?

I'm not sure when I started sewing. I know that I raided my mother's stash of ribbons and lace and made my Toni doll a fancy ball gown, probably at age 10 because I don't remember playing with it much longer than that.

I belong to a generation that was taught to sew in school. Hand sewing and little projects at first. Needle holders. Something that was hemstitched. I can't remember what. In the 6th grade I made the apron I was supposed to wear to my cooking class in the 7th grade.

And I believe that sewing class was also in the 7th grade. They didn't have enough sewing machines to go around, so we mostly sat around waiting for our turn. To keep us busy they taught us to pin the seams, and baste the seams and then, and only then, did we get to actually sit down at a machine and sew a seam. When the year was over I could not stand to even look at the two garments I had made, a blouse and a dress.

I have no idea why I kept sewing, but maybe it was because I knew what I'd been taught in school was not sewing the way it was supposed to be.

I started making my own clothes at 16. And I continued to make clothes for the next 20 or 30 years, until it became a lot cheaper to buy clothes and I found out that I enjoyed buying clothes.

I made my first quilt in the early 70s. I'd never seen a quilt. There was one quilt magazine, QUILTER'S NEWSLETTER and I followed the instructions in that for a quilt as you go quilt. It was a disaster, but my daughter loved it to death anyway. Since quilting was something that was done by hand, quilts took years to make if you had any other kind of life. I'd get bored and put the current project away, and take it out again and work on it some more. All three of the quilts I own from this era took decades to make.

About 3 years ago I pulled out the two quilts that were still being quilted. One was a white whole cloth quilt that I had worked on and off for over 10 years and the other was a quilt I had pieced in the early 90s. I finished the whole cloth quilt and then the pieced one. And about that time I bought a gently used sewing machine after not owning one for several years.

And for some reason, it all took off.

So when did I start sewing? Which kind of sewing? I've quilted on and off since the 70s, but there isn't a whole lot to show for it. I made clothes for decades, and I'm glad I'm not doing that anymore. And I've started making machine made quilts during the last 18 months.


  1. I'm glad to have found your blog-- I wish I knew how to make more clothes for myself! What fun it is to read about our different experiences!

  2. I'm glad you're sewing now! :) Great story! Thanks for linking up!

  3. Good for your for using your machine to finish those quilts :-)

  4. I keep losing my comments. Anyway need to touch because I also had a Toni doll and still have her. She is very well used and her hair is matted from all th sugar water perms. Probably should have her restored. I have been sewing for nearly sixty years. Mom was a great seamstress. I joke that I was the only the only sixth grader to wear Balenciaga suits on Easter, compliments of Mom. Loved them. You are a talented sewer and so contemporary in your work. Thanks for sharing your art and thoughtful and thought provoking comments. God bless, Ruth, Mich.

  5. I too have sewed since a very young age but I started with a Barbie doll and continued to sew my own wardrobe all thru high school. I actually never understood crafts that say "no sew" project... what fun is THAT?