Monday, January 12, 2009

My Sewing Back Story (in bullet points)

(Well, I couldn't get the bullet thing to work but you get the idea.) Here ya' go Lindsay!
Pre-sewing years
My mom sewed clothes for the four of us kids (two boys, two girls) like a mad woman. Just about everything we wore, and she wore, came from her sewing machine!
Sometime around 3rd/4th grade
I remember making my first dress that I LOVED! It was a sleeveless a-line dress in white pique with navy epaulets and gold buttons. I don’t remember anything about actually making it.
4th/5th grade
My mom and a friend taught a 4-H sewing class to my sister, me, and maybe 2 other girls. My first garment entered into the fair was a cotton knit (boy that dates me – it was cotton because lycra wasn’t around yet!) halter bikini. I remember the judges being rather embarrassed, and giggling when there were supposed to examine how it fit me. They basically looked at a seam finish and said, “Ah, okay that’s good.”
Jr. High-HS
I sewed as many clothes as I could and prided myself on wearing items that I knew no one else would have. (The complete opposite of my – at the time – painfully shy personality.) Never took a sewing class.
I LOVED this outfit! I made an exact copy of the red dress, with matching panties so that the undies wouldn't show. I remember this style be called a sizzler - the style where a dress is so short you had to wear something underneath to cover up the undies! Doesn't anyone else remember that?

The classic baby-doll dress/top.

(the original "Big Honkin' Pants" mine were just like the red, wide-bell pair.)


Started out with a minor in Home Ec. – textiles until I found out that I’d have to attend an extra semester to meet the Home Ec. Requirements. Took my first formal sewing class of which I remember three things: 1. My mom said, watch out, now you’re going to have to learn how to sew the “real” way, 2. Two classmates (twin sisters) whose mom was a home ec. teacher asked me to sew the gathers in their projects because they couldn’t get them to look right, 3. The instructor said the rule was to make the buttonholes in the same thread color as the button. I was making a red and white nightgown where the red heart buttons would be on the white front panel. I didn’t want people to notice the buttonholes, just the buttons so I made the buttonholes in white. The instructor never mentioned it.
First Years of Teaching
I have an income! I can actually afford to buy clothes instead of make them! What a concept! I take advantage of it for awhile.
The Minneapolis Years (80’s-90’s)
I started working at Northwest Fabrics – such a fun time we had! Eventually started a custom bridal sewing business part-time. Was a member and eventually president of the Professional Sewing Association (PSA, which I understand from Sharon is no longer around). Attended many Sewing Expo workshops with Patti Palmer, Kathleen Spike, Bobbi Carr, Margaret Islander and discovered a whole new way of sewing. Took pattern drafting and alteration classes from Laverne Bell, and the MCAD (Mpls. College of Art and Design), and beading from Kenneth King. (Have you seen the movie “Raising Arizona”? In my sewing life, these were “the garden years”.)
My favorite bow blouse.

The best summer play dress ever!

I confess, the outfit I made from this pattern was exactly like the floral outfit except in shades of rose/pink, and I wore it proudly :)

Mid 90’s
Move back to Cleveland to get master’s degree.
Gradually get back into my sewing routine – cut it out on Thurs. and Fri., sew all weekend, wear the new clothes that week. Until, I met my husband. Skreeeeeech my sewing life has to make room for a social life. Then my sewing life has to make room for kids, and some strange body that I have no interest in dealing with.
2005 Discover PR
Was shopping for a new machine, got the info I wanted and forgot about it. Am still sewing but nothing like what I was used to.
2007 RE-Discover PR
My sewing renaissance begins!

Happy Sewing to all!
fyi - time to post about 2-1/2 hours. Yikes, The homework will never get done tonight!


Vicki said...

This was really interesting. You have had some great sewing experiences. And some of those patterns bring back lots of memories...ick!

The Slapdash Sewist said...

I love that you illustrated it with patterns! I wish I could do that with my sewing, but I wouldn't know where to start researching it... Thanks for sharing!

Lindsay T said...

Simplicity 5063: Either I made this pattern or my grandmother did, but I loved this dress. Yes, I remember those super-short dresses where you had to wear cute little coverup panties underneath.

Summerset said...

Great post! I love reading these backstories.

Sew Passionista said...

This was fun to read and brought back memories of mini skirts worn as a teacher and I just don't know what I was thinking!

Chris said...

Great post! I remember those pants, I made a pair in wide wale navy cord. We called them elephant pants because of huge legs. And talk about low-riders, I had to wear a bodysuit with it to keep it decent!
Thanks for sharing.

a little sewing on the side said...

Oh how wonderful that you could show us all those patterns. And yes I remember that sizzler dress! Holy cow- I sewed and wore one of those when I was 14 or so. I canNOT beleive my mother let me out of the house. Sheesh, naive I was!!

Julia said...

I remember almost all of those styles. I had hot pants, but not a sizzler. Cute.

Tanya said...

Awesome sewing story. I'm so happy that I had a Mother who sewed.

Sew Passionista said...

Dana, I'vr left you an award on my blog. I like visiting yours and seeing what you've been up to.

Alexandra said...

I like the patterns to illustrate your story.
I nominated you for the Kreativ Blogger award.

laura said...

Wow, this post took me way back! When I was in the 7th grade my mother made me outfits with 'sizzle' pants! And yet when I mention this to people of my age (49 ouch!) they don't know what I'm talking about. And I totally envy your sewing history.