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Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Learning To Sew

Last week I was organizing old photo albums and scrap books and stumbled upon my collection of sewing samples from when I earned my Girl Scout Sewing Badge in the mid-1970s. The pages were yellowed and the sewing was crude - and all by hand. 

I learned to sew from my mother, who could make and alter anything...and I mean anything. And they all looked beautiful and perfect. It's no wonder I didn't take sewing seriously until I was in my early 30s - nothing I did could compare with what my mom made! She mostly sewed and altered clothing - two things I have very little interest in. But what I learned from my mother was to make things that look both nice and well-made. My mother was all about quality; and to quote my brother, "Mom was not store-bought." 

My mother was born on a farm in rural Michigan in 1925. And as you can see from the picture, she had a keen sense of fashion at an early age. Up until the day she died (at age 85), I think she wore jeans only once. I don't think she ever sported anything remotely close to a sweatshirt. And her friends never influenced her style.

One of the things I tell my sewing sisters (and occasional sewing brother) is to do what you like and to develop your own style. So when they ask me what I think about their fabric choices or design styles, I usually answer, "Well, do you like it?" I do voice some opinions if they seem conflicted, but I don't offer advice when they are looking for approval. If they did what I liked, they'd become me. 

So the first important lesson is to find your style and be proud of it. Come up with some words that describe you, then find fabric and patterns to match that. When you do, you'll love to sew!

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