I posted earlier that one of my hobbies is silk ribbon embroidery — it’s fancy! But I also just plain sew — with a sewing machine. Growing up, my mother made all of our clothes-even for my brothers. When I was around nine, I insisted that she teach me how to sew so that I could use that foot pedal on her sewing machine. It looked like it was as much fun as driving. Despite fits and starts the first couple of years, I became a decent (although my mother said ‘lazy’) seamstress. My very disciplined mother was horrified that I rarely used pins, and ‘guesstimated’ where to cut fabric. I started making most of my clothes and thought that was pretty neat until I got in high school. All the cool kids wore brand-name clothes and I decided to use my baby-sitting money to buy clothes instead of wearing my ‘dowdy’ home-made creations.
In adulthood, I again longed for a sewing machine (so easy to just fix a ripped seam instead of paying at the cleaners or doing it by hand). I got a basic Singer sewing machine and I was in business. At first, I stuck to simple things (curtains, pillow covers), but after having kids I wanted to make handmade Halloween costumes instead of buying run-of-the-mill Superman outfits at Walmart. I made clown suits, poodle-skirts, Dracula capes, bumble-bees, and more. My biggest project was my son’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle costume (he was Leonardo). It was 48 pattern pieces! It had a stuffed shell and a stuffed ‘head’ whose ‘mouth’ encompassed “Leo’s” whole head. Rounding out the look were gloves and booties.
He did win the 2nd grade costume contest, but the next year I went the simple route. All 3 kids were M&M candies. Basically a pillow in the front and a pillow in the back joined at the shoulders with a big ‘M’ stitched on the front.
As a grandma, I’ve continued the tradition with little girls’ Easter dresses (above), and Halloween dresses (Alice in Wonderland and Queen of Hearts). On my last effort, I literally burned out the old Singer. It had lasted 35 years, was quite heavy, and leaking oil and metal filings. It went to the dumpster graveyard and was replaced by a sleek new model with all plastic parts. Lightweight and totally automatic (it practically sews for you). Amazing.