Not that I’m going to reveal my age but back in the day we had to take Home Ec where junior high young ladies were taught how to keep a house, cook, sew, wash laundry, and many other things. Now mind you, this was all year for both 7th and 8th grade. I had a leg up on the sewing piece because my Mother had her own home designing business where she designed and created all the draperies along with two other ladies. My Mother’s mantra at that time was, “If you’re my daughter, you’ll know how to sew.” Therefore, I did.
Mom had a specialized table that was probably 8’ x 8’ with two sewing machines at opposite corners. This was so that two people could sew large pieces of fabric when side hemming the draperies. She also had a cutting table t’die for!!!!!!!!!! She actually built that table herself out of 2x4s, plywood sheets, foam padding, and drapery lining material. It had to be about 108” long and at least 50” wide as well as tall.
My Home Ec teacher, Mrs. Price, was the one that had the patience to teach me how to sew using patterns. I really did enjoy creating a piece of clothing. To this day though, I despise putting a zipper in and hemming.
What you may not know is that we really didn’t have much money then. I can remember using left over drapery material to make skirts and dresses. Back then, you couldn’t wear pants or jeans to school until my senior year in high school. My mother made an entire wardrobe for me when I went to college. Of course, I helped.
The garment that I remember the most from my early sewing days was my sister’s prom dress. This was after my Mother had passed away and I was the legal guardian of my brother and sister. The sleeveless gown was made out of cotton pink eyelet with a pink cotton lining. It needed something so I created a pink cummerbund. This dress did not come with a bolero jacket so I found a pattern to make one for her. To this day neither my sister nor I can find a photo of it. I remember the gown had 6 yards of hem. Holy Moses!
When my children were little I made all their fancy clothes. I hand tailored a jacket for Tony. It was a little black herringbone wool jacket. (I never did take a photo of that one.) Chrissy had lots of dresses, a coat, doll clothes, and night gowns. One of my favorite things to do back then was to make a girls nightgown to match the American Girl nightgown and give as a birthday gifts to Chrissy’s friends. I even made a doll for Chrissy that wore the same dress I had made her.
Instagram was not available back then nor were we laser focused on photos.
Whether by necessity or love of creating we find a passion. Mom always said, “Necessity is the Mother of invention.” I think you can see that is a theme of this post. Today however, sewing is a creative outlet. My Miss Mary bags are created for individuals whom I take a great deal of time considering fabric and style for that person. I think my Mother would love these bags. She’d probably help me design them.