Growing up, my grandparents owned a dry cleaning and tailoring business. I can remember summer days, my grandmother in the front part of the store, bifocals balanced on the bridge of her nose, threading a needle, El Chapulín Colorado on the television in the background. The rhythmic hum of the machine wheel, the swoosh of the steam, the smell of the starch, and the chatter of the ladies working, all combine to create a symphony of my earliest childhood memories.
My mom also sewed. She was (and is) quite skilled, though she focuses more on quilts now. Back then, it was repairs here and there, curtains, and clothes. Oh my god, the clothes. In my pre-teen years this was a horror. Because your social standing depended almost entirely on the fact that your clothes had the right labels on them, and Handsewn By Mom was not one of them.
Now, more than two decades later, I’ve been thinking about learning. Been thinking about it for a good seven or eight months. Have had some people supporting the idea, and others telling me I’m crazy and that I don’t have any time and why would I do that? Well, I’m motivated partially by the art of it, partially by the connection I feel to my mom and grandmother through it, but mostly because I am a cheap ass. Let’s face it, Woobies need replacement and repair and why pay someone else to do it when I should be able to do it myself?
So about a month ago, someone in my neighborhood group posted a classified ad putting their Singer machine up for sale for $30. I scooped it up. Granted, it’s still in the back seat of my car. But this past weekend? I took my first sewing lesson.
I took the two hour beginner class at Sew Crafty and this place is SO CUTE! The class familiarized us five students with machines, basic tools, and backstitching. I LOVED IT! Our project that pulled all our newfound knowledge together was a simple clutch (which I made into a diaper holder instead).
My first on-my-own project? Harper’s trick-or-treat basket, a round, puffy felt-ish basket that looks something like this, but that matches her costume better. Yes, I know I can probably find one online. Yes, I am sure there are free patterns out there. Yes, I’m sure they have the exact colors and size I want at a local supermarket. BUT THAT IS NOT THE POINT. It will be my first from-scratch venture in perpetuating an art through another generation of women in my family.