Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Learning to Sew

Do you remember when you learned to sew?  I think the first time I was allowed to use a sewing machine was when I was about seven and visiting my grandmother for a week.  She "helped" me sew a dress from white cotton printed with red and blue stars.  I'm sure I only sewed the long, straight seams and Grandma did everything else, but I was still proud of that dress! 

As I mentioned in my last post, I brought home quite a few old dress patterns that I found at my mother's house last year.  One pattern I didn't find, but sought out with the help of Google, was the one I used to sew a dress for my eighth grade home economics course.  As I recall, we girls (only girls -- the boys took "shop") were instructed to purchase a How-to-Sew pattern chosen from a short list of teacher-approved patterns, along with the fabric of our choice and required notions.  I chose this pattern, the sleeveless version, and I selected a cotton pique printed with flowers and strawberries.

It took us most of the semester to finish our dresses to Miss Blodgett's satisfaction.  I still remember having to rip out my offending armhole facings more than once and re-sew them properly.  Finally, we all finished our dresses, but part of our grade depended on actually wearing the dresses to school and modeling them in a fashion show!  By that point, most of us were sick of our dresses, but we had to comply.  I think that was the only time I ever wore mine! 

Looking back, now I wonder how on earth Miss Blodgett maintained her sanity while helping more than two dozen thirteen-year-old girls learn to sew! 

Monday, March 23, 2015

In Your Easter Bonnet

Will you have a new outfit for Easter this year? Was a new outfit an exciting part of your childhood Easters?

While visiting my parents last year, I found a treasure trove of patterns (now vintage!) that my mother had saved after sewing clothes for me throughout my childhood. One of my all-time favorites was this dress with coordinating coat, which I wore for Easter when I was 12 or 13. Mama made the coat in a pink and white floral, and the dress and coat collar in solid pink, both from linen-like fabric. The coat had covered buttons with fabric loops, which must have required a lot of extra time!  I wore it with pink slingback flats (and possibly white gloves -- were we still wearing gloves in the mid-1960s?) and felt very special and elegant.

To go WAY back, here I am in my Easter finery at age three and a half. Mama didn't make this dress -- my baby sister was 11 days old that Easter, so she was a little busy!  I have to wonder how much attention I paid in Sunday School, wearing that stiff petticoat, hat, gloves, and no-doubt-new shoes.

I continued the tradition, sewing for my children, especially their Sunday and special occasion outfits.  I was into smocking back then, and here are their Easter outfits in the late 1980s.  Our son looked adorable in smocked outfits until he was four, when he insisted he wanted to wear a suit for Easter!

And now there's another generation to sew for! Here's an Easter dress I made for my oldest grandchild a few years ago. I have sewed a few things for her and my grandson, but I haven't yet sewn anything for my youngest grandchild.  I HAVE knitted her a few things, but she's two now, so I need to get back to my sewing machine!