Monday, October 22, 2007

How I began to sew

Among my relatives and family, it is always fun to hear of how they began to sew, and how young (or old!) they were, and who it was that taught them. In my case however, it wasn't my mother who taught me. In fact, she doesn't sew at all. Grandma (her mother) was rather low on patience with Mama when Mama was still at home. Despite not knowing how to sew, my mother has many other wonderful qualities, especially spiritually, in which I look up to her and admire in her.

When Erin and I were young (11 and 9 maybe?), she wanted us to learn, and Erin being the oldest, she had a homeschooling mother teacher her at her home through a sewing camp. I picked up a little interest in it but only because Erin was learning. So in exchange for Mama watching this lady's youngest daughter, I was able to attend 4 sewing classes. Through those, I learned how to thread the machine (it took me probably a half hour or more to be able to thread it from start to finish!) to use a simple stitch, and the "back-stitch." From there, I made a drawstring bag, and a pair of shorts from those classes. Don't faint; this was before we learned about modesty! =)

It was years later when I was around 12 or so, that because of the American Girl doll dresses in the catalog were so expensive and "Kirsten" was wearing her dresses out, I decided to pull out the old Kenmore machine of Mama's, and make some elastic-waisted skirts for her. It took several skirts for me to realize that I need more fabric than what her waist measured, in order for it to fit.

Once that concept sunk in, from there, I began making doll dresses and clothes for my dolls and my sister's dolls. When I went to sewing clothes for people, I found it to be SO easy since all the seams were so much larger than the dolls. However I have never found making doll clothes difficult at all, just because that is what I started on.

In fact, some of you may remember way before Erin and I started "A Joyful Handmaiden" of making modest apparel for women and girls, I had a small but thriving business of sell doll dresses! I even made up a small catalog and sent out a new one to customers anywhere from 2 to 4 times a year.

Just a couples weeks ago I pulled out my old patterns and my large bin of fabric scraps to make some for the doll that belongs to my sister Molly, and to sell some on ebay; I hope to list them in a couple weeks. In fact, Molly's birthday is this Sunday, and I am working on a surprise dress for her (thanks to some dear friends who are loaning me some American Girl dress patterns for girls!) so that she can match her doll, and so stay tuned for pictures later this week.

Edit: Wow, I rambled on quite a bit. It must be the longest post I've written yet! ::grins::


Coeur d'Court said...

I wondered how you learned to sew! Wow, you have an interesting story, especially considering you didn't learn from your mom. I've always been impressed by your seamstress abilities -- especially now that I find out it used to take you a half hour to thread a machine! Great post!

Elisabeth said...

Neat! I first learned handsewing from my mom around 9 years of age. In the next couple years I took some classes for sewing, and my grandma helped me with learning to quilt. So between all that and guidance from mom, I learned the basics. I still can't sew very well though. :P

Cheri said...

Hi Courtney, it was nice to hear from you! Thanks for dropping a note. =)

Elisabeth, that is wonderful that you've been able to learn to quilt! That is something that I have yet to learn. Someday... =)

Anonymous said...

What a great story! I had sewing lessons at 5, but I didn't really learn anything... at least not anything that I remembered!! I am just kind of slowly teaching myself to sew now, and I had a quick question to ask you... I am sewing a nightgown and it says that you need interfacing, but I don't have any and it will most likely be awhile before I get to the fabric store again... plus I don't really like the look and feel of things with interfacing in them... can you do without it altogether? Thank you!!