Tuesday, September 7, 2010

In The Trenches - Sewing

I decided recently that I wanted a new hobby.  Blogging used to be my primary hobby.  And, reading.  After a long day at work both were a nice diversion from the daily routine.

Things have changed a lot for me in recent months.  One of those changes is that I work on the blog, blog related things, and reading about the U.S. Economy many hours a week.  I put enough time and energy into it that I now need an occasional break from my hobby.  I know that other bloggers reading this know exactly what I'm talking about.

In considering a new hobby I wanted to achieve a few things:
  • Fun.  Of course, it's not a hobby if it's not fun.
  • At home.  
  • Within my spending money limits.
  • No computers or books involved.
  • A finished product.  So much of what I do is ongoing or daily that I wanted to see and touch something I made.
My very first sewing project was in 5th grade.  Mom bought me a pattern for a pair of easy pants.  She gave me some pink fabric.  I can't imagine what it would have originally been for.  Maybe curtains.  It was my practice pilot project anyway so it didn't matter.

My machine was an antique singer treadle.  Mom wasn't really a seamstress at the time so didn't have an electric machine.  So she pulled out the singer that had plants and papers stacked on top of it. 
With a little effort I treadled my way to my first pair of home made pants.  I loved them and wore them all the time.  The funny part was the fabric was woven just loosely enough that when I ran you could feel the breeze blowing through them.  It was very strange.  That began my off and on sewing.  Somehow Mom got interested as well because I know she was making some of my dresses when I was in 7th grade.  Back at that time it was much cheaper to sew than buy something readi-made.  That's what we called it.  Home made or readi-made.  If you told someone now that you were going to the mall to buy a readi-made dress they would look at you and think you were silly.

As a side note:  Do those of you who lived through the 60's (or earlier) remember your mother putting iron on patches on your jeans?   Do you remember your mother ironing?  My mother was a nurse and I told my daughter the other day how she would starch her nurses hat and plaster it to the refrigerator until it was dry. Then she would iron it into the proper shape and wear it proudly.  Each school had it's own hat and pin so you could recognize where a nurse graduated from by her hat.   Pretty cool?  But, I digress...

As the years passed I have worked on sewing off and on making clothing, Christmas gifts, household decor, stuffed animals, and quilt tops.  Time to now dust off a machine and see what I remember.

Sewing is no longer considered a way to save money.  With the imports from everywhere around the world the cost of materials can often exceed the cost of a finished hand made product.  Aside from that sewing can release the hidden designer in all of us.  No one can design the exact item that you can make.  That's one of the things that make it so fun.  Walk around a fabric store, look at the patterns and the imagination will start to work. 


Barb Friedberg said...

Hi Carol, Yes, I know what you mean ..... blogging can quickly eat up every spare minute. Decorating and sewing are 2 of my hobbies. Yes, it is not a way to save money anymore, except if you buy remnants and make pillows for the home. I love working with my hands, building, making things etc. It's important to get away from doing any one thing all the time.

Anonymous said...

My Mom taught me how to sew and I did it professionally for a bit. I met my husband on match.com and in his profile he wrote how he had recently taught himself how to sew so he could make princess dresses for his daughter. I wrote him immediately! Every year for our kids birthday present they design an outfit and we make it. It can be very challenging!

Carol Schultz said...

Thanks for your comments. Happy to know that others are still putting the pedal to the metal on their sewing machings. :)

When I had to go In The Trenches financially for the first time it was devastating to "give up" my old ways of doing things. But as time passed I realized that I was actually changing things for quality in my life. Now it is a way of life and one that I enjoy.

Practical Parsimony said...

I have been sewing for 60 years. I have sewn for fun, out of boredom, and professionally. Underneath all the reasons I sewed--it's relaxing and fun. Oh, I will be 64 this Saturday, so I am not really ancient...lol.

Carol said...

You started when you were 4? Another woman I know started around that age with doll clothes and went on to be a dressmaker/designer. Never too young to start.