Have you ever sewn clothes for yourself or your family to wear?
Do you still sew? So often when the conversation turns to sewing I hear the comment, “Oh! I can’t even sew on a button.” I suspect it is a generational thing: anyone brought up in the 1940’s needed to sew if they wanted a new outfit because there just wasn’t the choice of cheap-and-cheerful ready-made garments that hang in our store today. And in those days most schools offered “needlework” taught by a “Domestic Science” teacher. When I was eleven the girls in my class used treadle sewing-machines to make themselves dirndle skirts with elasticated waists. I WORE mine but on reflection, I wonder how many girls actually finished making theirs? My Mother – herself a qualified Domestic Science teacher – always ensured that my garments were completed. What’s more, the following year at school I had to make a blouse, so my Mother bought two lengths of fabric, one in salmon pink and the other in light turquoise which picked up the main colours on my skirt. One blouse I made at school and the other I made at home. The year after that the needlework project was “a pair of pyjamas” and Mum found me the prettiest cotton seersucker fabric. Our needlework teacher was also the deputy head and she spent more time out of the classroom than in it. I am totally amazed that we girls just got on with it during her absences, helping each other with sewing machine problems etc. This teacher was very strict and had a nasty habit of creeping up silently on her creep soled shoes, so perhaps it was fear of her that kept us in line. Years later I discovered that she had been Mum’s supervisor on her Teaching Practice and from what Mum told me it was clear that the old dragon had not improved with age!
So, last week I signed up for a sewing class on “shirring” with Zoe at Kayes Textiles. I have always wanted a sundress with a shirred elastic bodice and had never sewn with shirring elastic so now was my chance. It is so heartening to find that Kayes sewing sessions are very popular. Despite the current trends for buying cheap off-the-peg fashion there are still those who prefer to sew their own.