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! 


  1. I think we made sleeveless shell tops but seem to remember many students having trouble with arm facings, and one poor girl who cut right up the middle to generate terrible rage on the part of the teacher. Actually, none of these memories are anything but bad! Maybe that's why I never learned to sew. My mother wouldn't show me anything either, which didn't help.

  2. This brought back wonderful memories…I began sewing in the 5th grade - we constructed a dirndle skirt by "hand" - NO machines!! I can honestly say my hand stitches are still perfect! A few years later I couldn't wait to take Home Economics class and I was anxious every day to get to class. Needless to say, I became a Home Economics/Family and Consumer Science teacher and retired a few years ago! It was a great career - and i also encouraged my students to "wear" what they constructed for extra points (everything from t-shirts to prom dresses were worn). I always feel bad when I hear someone say they never learned how to sew!

  3. I had totally forgotten Miss Blodgett and the horror of the Terrible Green Dress. (Side note: has there ever been anyone whose name was more appropriate?) I don't sew any more. Except repairs. Maybe if I ever have a grandchild!

  4. My mom taught me to sew. I would pay for everything up front (which I realize now is not exactly - normal) and she would reimburse me 50% of the costs if I did everything to her satisfaction. I weigh what I weighed in high school (pretty much) but am now a six. I was a 12 then. Sizes have changed.