Friday, February 1, 2013

My Stitches

There's a new linky out there and I thought I would jump on the bandwagon and participate. It's called  Sew Thinky Thursday over at Mommy's Nap Time. Each week she'll have a sewing related question for you to answer about your life. This week's question is:

When did you start sewing? Tell us a bit about your sewing history. When did you realize you were really hooked? 

So, I thought I would answer about my sewing history. It all began long, long ago...Actually I think it really started when I was 14 and since that was more than 40 years ago, it HAS been a while! I took a Home Ec class at a backwoods sort-of country school and everyone was sewing away without much in the way of instruction when we moved there. I just jumped in with everyone else and started my first project--a dress with set-in sleeves and a zipper!

Of course, we had to provide our own materials and our family didn't have much in the way of money, but my mom DID have some old feed sacks that my grandmother had saved from the feed for their chickens (if only I knew then about feed sacks what I know now!) With some guidance and help from my mom, I made that first dress and it turned out well enough that I actually wore it and was proud of it. I would love to have a picture of it now!

My Children--all wearing homemade clothes
It didn't take me long to realize that in a family of hand-me-down clothing, if I could make my own, I would actually have NEW clothes to wear! So I saved up my babysitting money, bought fabric and started sewing in earnest. I eventually even saved up and bought my own used sewing machine. I made many of my clothes as a teenager and continued sewing for years, especially once I had children. I found that they could have really nice clothes (and even be "matchy-matchy") for much less if I made them myself.

However, kids grow up and homemade clothes aren't so cool, so I stopped doing much sewing and found other interests. I never had done any real quilting, other than some simple pieced, tied quilts for the kids, but it was something I was always intrigued by, especially since I had a friend who was an incredible quilter and made some awesome stuff.

Fast forward to the past ten or so years. I decided I wanted to try my hand at quilting and I found a book with patterns for some hot pads. I thought it would be good to start with something simple. I don't know what the book was or where it is, but these were NOT simple to make. I remember them as being tedious and time-consuming, using templates and scissors (at that time, I didn't know any better!) We use these hot pads fairly regularly (pardon the "used" appearance), so I liked how they turned out, but I decided that quilting was just too much work and put my sewing machine away.

Then about seven years ago, my father-in-law had a heart attack, from which he subsequently died. When he went into the hospital, we brought my mother-in-law home to live with us. Marzee was 87 years old and had dementia and needed a caregiver--me! At some point, I began retreating to the basement for some personal time, but realized I needed something to do. I picked up a 2007 Quilting Block and Pattern-a-Day Calendar at the bookstore and thought that the instructions looked fairly easy, so I brought it home and got to work. 
This was more how I envisioned quilting should be! I made the Heavenly Stars quilt and it was a great learning experience--I learned how to quilt in a way that was easy and fun and I was HOOKED!

I've made many, many more quilts since that first project and I've even gotten a used longarm machine so that I can experience creating a quilt from start to finish.


  1. i love your story - so glad you are quilting!!

  2. Thanks for sharing! Love that you were sewing your own clothes!

  3. Hope you enjoy quilting on your long-arm - a whole new world awaits!

  4. Such a great story. Thanks for linking up - I hope you'll join us again next week!

  5. I did my sewing story too. It looks like a fun linky party. But I actually found you at Sew Many Ways.

    I made my first quilt in the cardboard template and pencil and running stitch by hand days. It isn't that I didn't know any better. It was that rotary cutters and mats hadn't been invented yet. And that was probably true for you too if that is the way the book you bought taught. Isn't it a lot more fun now? I do everything by machine now and I bet you do too.

  6. Ooh, a long arm, that's a big deal! I just started quilting about a month ago, so a long arm machine might as well be the space shuttle to me. :) I love that picture of your kids - so adorable in their mommy-sewn clothes!

  7. So cool that you made those clothes. Growing up, I would have been mortified if anyone knew my mom made my clothes (she didn't), or we thrifted them (we did). Today, it's awesome. Gotta love it.