Friday, 1 February 2013

Sew Thinky Thursday

Sometimes, my problem is that I think too much! I over-analyse and have a tendency towards detailed introspection. So I don’t really need any encouragement.

But this linky party over at Mommy’s Nap Time looked like fun and didn’t involve adding more stitching projects to my list! Thanks Sarah (Sew Sweetness) and Elizabeth (Don’t Call Me Betsy) for leading me to Emily’s blog.

This is Emily’s first linky party and her questions are fairly simple:
When did you start sewing? Tell us a bit about your sewing history.
When did you realize you were really hooked?

I started sewing as a child. My mum sewed our clothes – now I realise that was from necessity not desire. She actually doesn't like sewing all that much! I owned a little sewing machine that did chain stitching – I wonder what became of it? I don’t remember ever making anything but quite happily spent hours just feeding bits of fabric through the machine and watching those little stitches develop!

I was given a handcraft kit that included sewing cards and I loved sewing those. Look closely, you can see the much used holes!
childhood sewing cards
Why yes, I still have them! Doesn’t every late-middle-aged woman have her favourite things from childhood? LOL

Somewhere along the way I was also given two types of fabric embroideries – one on a gauzy type of fabric, the other on what looks like lawn. Looking at them now I can see that the only stitch I knew was running stitch – no wonder I never I got around to embroidering them!  childhood pieces
We had sewing in primary school; I was an awkward, uncoordinated leftie and couldn't reach the high standard expected! All I learnt was to hate hand sewing! (I’m getting over that now)

I remember one Christmas my mum decided my sister and I should embroider cross stitch patterns on the edge of checked fabric to make placemats for my aunty. She then scared me by telling me that aunty’s sister-in-law was a sewing teacher and would inspect the back! No instruction was given and my cross stitching, as well as my hemming, was an awful mess. I don’t think aunty ever received those placemats!

The high school I attended didn’t have “domestic science” so, fortunately, there was no torture of sewing in those years!

When I turned seventeen, and was in my last year of high school, my grandmother retired from work. She had made curtains and soft furnishings for a living. Now I know how difficult that is, I wish I could tell her how much I admire her! Anyway, when Nanna retired, she bought my sister and I a Singer sewing machine each and she taught me how to use it by using “the book of the words” (the instruction manual). My first garment was a very full, lined skirt, complete with waistband and zipper, which I loved!

A few years later, I decided to take “garment assembly” classes one evening a week at the local technical college. Garment assembly was one part of the no-longer-available fashion course. I attended those classes for three, maybe four years, and made a lot of clothes. But I was always disappointed with the finished articles. They were beautifully made from expensive fabrics but they just didn’t look as good on my large frame as they did on the skinny models on the pattern sleeves! I put my sewing machine away in disgust and despair!

Anyway, along came DD, and my sewing machine got little use. Children grow out of their clothes so quickly and it was cheaper to buy them. Besides, I had a sister-in-law and a good friend who had daughters a bit older than mine who gave me out-grown clothes. MY machine was used mostly for repairs, especially to WM’s trousers that always seemed to come apart at the crotch!

I did, however, get involved in embroidery and cross stitch as a way to relax and create in the hot summer months (there was a time when I didn’t knit in summer – are you shocked?) I bought kits then moved on to buying patterns and threads. This picture shows the first cross stitch I did which  wasn’t from a kit!
Christmas church
Fast forward to DD’s high school days and the machine got some use again but it didn’t last long.

Fast forward again a few more years. DD is now married. She has a three-week-old son. We go to a craft show, help make blocks for quilts for Haiti on brand new machines, and she's hooked! I’m reminded how much I used to love sewing!

I told this story just a couple of weeks ago on this post, so I’ll be brief here. We bought fabric to make a quilt – actually we bought enough fabric to make two quilts but it wasn’t until a year later when, at another craft show, we met Elizabeth Wallace of Aussie Patches and signed up for her monthly all-day Sit and Sew session that we really fell in love with quilting.

I was hooked enough to replace that old Singer with a Janome Memory Craft 6600 (a machine designed with quilters in mind, therefore having a wider throat space). I also joined a community quilting group that makes quilts for donation.
Janome MC6600P
Being in “forced” retirement, I usually get into my sewing room several days a week, even though our summer temperatures are over 90°F!

And now, I think I’ve rattled on enough – you can check out more “thoughts” about sewing over at Emily’s linky party!


  1. Hi Lynne,
    That's quite a story to the beginnings of your sewing life. I too was a leftie until being encouraged to use my right hand. I'm glad you just kept going and kept passing the hurdles. Good on you. I love the cross stitch too and the embroidery.
    Cheers, Anita.

  2. What a great story! It really shows that sometimes it takes a few tries at a hobby to really get hooked! Thanks for linking up! :)

  3. It's funny how similar stories can be from across the world. My mom made our clothes because, my Grandmother used to make men's suits. She was quite the seamstress.

    Thanks for sharing.

  4. I loved the 'story ' of your sewing life! I also began with those sewing cards but I do not have mine. Neither I nor my Mom are savers...

  5. Hi Lynne -

    Loved your story - thanks for sharing

  6. I loved those sewing cards when I was a kid. I had almost forgotten about them...
    I also really like your church crosstitch. :)

  7. I enjoyed reading your sewing history. I do wish I had some of my things I embroidered when I was young. I think it is great that you still have some of those things. thanks for sharing.

  8. I'm glad you 'saw the light' eventually, Lynne. It sounds like you are a natural, inspite of the discouragement you received. I love that snow scene you cross stitched! Beautiful work! Finally, I'm amazed that you still have that stitching card (I remember these too LOL we must be old).

  9. It's amazing how a little "instruction" can lead us to hate something we love! Good teachers are not that easy to find. I had the sewing cards too and spent many hours lacing and unlacing them. I don't have mine any longer though :)

  10. Hi Lynne, it's my first time to your blog and I really enjoyed your story. I used to cross-stitch too and wouldn't show my work because people would dare to criticize the back. Really isn't that just so stupid?

    So glad you enjoy quilting. (And blogging!)


Hi. Thanks for dropping in. I look forward to reading your comment.
I like to answer comments; if you are "no-reply blogger" I will try my best to get back to you on your blog! I'm not on FaceBook so I can't contact you there!