Friday, May 1, 2015

Remenscising When . . .

When I was about 12 or 13 years old, my mother decided that I should start learning how to sew. My mother was just an average seamstress. I don't know why she thought I should learn, but it turns out that she made a great decision. I remember going with my mom to pick out the dress pattern and material. The pattern wasn't very difficult; one my mom could do and teach me plenty. The pattern was a princess style A-line shift dress with long straight sleeves with a little bit of gathering at the cap. It had a simple round neckline without a collar and it zipped up the back.  The bust area had long double pointed darts in the front and the usual side darts. The length of the dress came to mid knee. The front of the pattern envelope had a couple other versions such as a dress with a round peter pan collar and short sleeves, and another in a sleeveless version. The pattern probably cost about fifty cents.

When we were at the fabric section of Sears & Roebuck, we looked through the pattern books. Did you even know Sears had fabric department at one time? Anyway, she showed me how to find my pattern in the drawer and made me practice a couple of times. Well, until at least she thought I had the master the art of numerical sequences. Finally we choose a pattern and started to look for material. Back then, knit fabrics were basically nonexistent and permanent press (also known as perma press) was the latest technological advancement. Cotton was still king and the most inexpensive material for making a dress. 

In searching out the perfect fabric for my dress, my mom showed me the difference between the many types of cotton fabrics such as thicker fabrics, i.e duck, corduroy, denim and the thinner fabrics like 100% cotton and the newer cotton blends that didn't need to be ironed. My mom gave me examples of what types of clothing I could make from these materials. It was very cost effective back then to sew your own clothing, and in my family with 8 other siblings, this was especially the case.

In the end, I settled on a red orange paisley print, which probably cost only $2.00-$3.00 for the three or so yards of fabric purchased. It was the first time I could remember even seeing a paisley motif. I even remember asking my mom what the print was called. I thought the word "paisley" was cool to say. To this day, I still love paisley prints and always associate the print with this memory.

It wasn't until a few days later that we started working on the dress. I believe it was summertime. My mom taught me how to lay out and pin the pattern, then how to cut it out and what to trace. We did all these things together. I was fascinated and excited. I learned quite a bit up to this point. It didn't matter to me that my mom sewed much of the dress because I had learned so much already. However, she saw that it was still important for me to learn how to use a sewing machine and to learn how to sew a simple seam. So that's what I did. I sewed the easier parts such as the side seams, and the sleeve seam. It was quite awkward that first time using a sewing machine. Do you know how hard it is to coordinate the fabric to go through the machine's presser foot; to keep a straight stitch line and to press on the foot pedal for a continuous even movement? AND do it all at the same time? Well, it's not easy, and eventually my coordination improved with time and more experience.

When that dress was done, I was so proud of it. It was my favorite. I wore it for many family occasions and going to church on Sunday. I don't remember what happened to that dress. Perhaps I just grew out of it and it was given away to a relative or family friend. My younger sister (15 months younger) was bigger and heavier than me so I do know that the dress wasn't passed down to her. Whatever happened to it doesn't really matter, but the memory of that event changed my life forever. I had a passion for sewing and continued to sew. It was only a couple of years later when I surpassed my mother's seamstress skills. Since then I have always had an interest in design, but have never pursued it -- perhaps someday. What I have learned about design has been all self taught. I have still more to learn, but I couldn't have accomplished any of it without my mother, a dress pattern and some simple paisley fabric.

As I had stated, I love paisley and I happen to have a few items in my shop with a paisley motif. Why not check these out and see what other items in the shop might catch your eye as well.

Zipper Pouch in a Handkerchief Paisley Pattern $15.00


Women's Pink and Tan Paisley Evening Clutch Bag $70.00 


Western Clutch Handkerchief Purse with Paisley Motif  $55.00

 

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