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Thread: Who taught you to sew?

  1. #1
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    Who taught you to sew?

    As I was ripping out a seam that I sewed too late last night, I remembered my Grandma and Mom telling me to stop sewing when I got tired or I'd just make mistakes that I had to rip out the next day. (I think I heard "told you so" being whispered in my ear this morning.) I've been sewing since I was 5 and was taught by my Mom and Grandma (my Dad's mother.) I remember spending a week or two at Grandma's every summer and we'd go pattern and material (we never called it "fabric") shopping on the first day and then I'd make the outfit under Grandma's watchful eye. By the time I was in Junior High, I was making all of my own clothes. Who taught you to sew and what tips do you remember and use to this day?

  2. #2
    Senior Member Handcraftsbyjen's Avatar
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    I first learned to sew in Girl Scouts when we made doll clothes for a Goodwill project. Our dolls and their clothes were on display in the local Goodwill store and people voted for the best outfit. Both of my grandmas and my mom also showed me things. They all told me to take my time.

  3. #3
    Super Member sandyl's Avatar
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    I learned to sew in Home Ec class. Too bad they don't have Home Ec any more in schools. That was such a great class, also learned to cook and bake in Home Ec. My mother knew how to sew and did sew alot; but it stressed her out to the max. Perfection seeking. I love sewing.

  4. #4
    Super Member Jan in VA's Avatar
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    I was taught by Miss Sutherland, a little old lady of at least 110 years, in 8th grade home ec. -- a 12 week course. Never finished my blouse, learned how to make horrid hot chocolate from unsweetened bakers chocolate squares (Give me Nesquik any day!), and I think we peeled and cooked potatoes to mash. Beyond that I learned by reading books, patterns, sewing machine manuals, and trial and error. I still don't make clothing for myself, though I sewed some truly lovely dresses for my little girl many years ago.

    Jan in VA
    Jan in VA
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  5. #5
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    I can remember helping my granny treadle. When her legs got tired, she would have me sit on the floor and push the back of treadle with my hands. It was more of a fun thing then helpful because I always got it going too fast and we would get to laughing. My mother also let me use her electric sewing machine growing up and I had a year of home ec. sewing as a teenager.

  6. #6
    Super Member 117becca's Avatar
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    My mom got me involved in 4H when I was 8. I think she was smart because as I got older we would butt heads on just about everything - If she told me it was white, I'd try to convince her it was black just because.....LOL!! I call it Stubborn, First-Born Child Syndrom My mom is truly a wise woman!!
    my name is becca and i'm a quilt-a-holic :-)

  7. #7
    Senior Member Rubesgirl's Avatar
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    My paternal grandmother taught me to sew when I was very young, around age 6 or 7. She hand sewed all the hems in my dresses (yes, when I was a child, girls wore dresses even to play in) and repaired my grandfather's clothes, and she made me learn how to hem handkerchiefs. She had a very fine hand since her father was a ladies' tailor and she learned from him. I learned to sew on a machine in 7th grade Home Ec. My mother also sewed beautifully, but had no patience to teach. She had a treadle sewing machine that we were forbidden to touch as children so, unfortunately, I never learned how to work hands and feet together. I am the last of the line of sewers in my family, since neither of my sisters (now deceased), nor my daughter were interested.
    Wendy in VA

    If I had a dollar for every time I got distracted I wish I had some ice cream.

  8. #8
    Super Member Lori S's Avatar
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    My Mom taught me.. saying "make it or go naked"! so by 8th grade it was a no longer an option for her to make any of my clothing . It was just understood , I was on my own now for making my clothing. Up till that point she would suppliment my efforts with some items she made for me.
    I can still recall begging her to put in an invisable zipper in my prom dress, as I so wanted the dress to be perfect.

  9. #9
    Power Poster MadQuilter's Avatar
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    A neighbor walked me through the basics a long time ago but I'm mostly self-taught. Anything I learned was either from the school of hard knocks (rip-it-rip-it) or I learned A LOT from the assorted forums along my quilting path. Needless to say I am still learning.
    Martina
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  10. #10
    Super Member Peckish's Avatar
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    My mom taught me all the domestic sciences. She taught me how to sew, crochet, hand embroider, and cook, all before I was 10. I did take Home Ec in jr high, but by then I knew more than they taught, so I aced the class. Mom went back to work full-time when I was about 7 or 8, so I helped out by cooking a lot of the family meals. I sewed blouses, dresses, choir outfits. I crocheted lots of afghans and blankets. Now that my mom is retired, she does a lot of embroidery and crocheting in the winter, when her garden is sleeping. And it's my turn, I'm teaching her how to quilt!

    It always amazes me and makes me chuckle when so many of my friends think opening a box of Bisquick or Hamburger Helper is cooking from "scratch".

  11. #11
    Member kd7kyo's Avatar
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    For me it started when i was in Home ec in the 8th grade however it was my aunt who really taught me the ins and out of sewing outfits and then i pick up quilting as a hobby because it look interesting to do. Now it really has become an obbession and if i don't get to quilt then my chi is off for the whole day. =)

  12. #12
    Super Member SouthPStitches's Avatar
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    My Mom taught me the basics; hand sewing with needle and thread, some embroidery stitches. In Junior High, I learned to sew by machine with pattern. Absolutely HATED it. Especially hated putting in zippers. Wouldn't touch one now with a 10 foot pole, would rather go naked and that's saying something. Around 1977 or so, there was an adult enrichment class at our public school. A southern lady was teaching quilting. The rest is history. She taught to hand piece, make your own templates from scratch, etc. No machines or rotary cutters to be found. In fact, think rotary cutters were just coming on the market about that time.

  13. #13
    Senior Member SnowQuilt's Avatar
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    I was taught in Home Ec class in the 7th grade. My mom made most of our clothes. My mother got out her sewing machine and told me I was going to make my own maternity top (I didn't know much about sewing.) when I was pregnant with my son. I hadn't sewn for about 10 years after that. Then I went and bought a sewing machine and started again. I have been sewing off and on for about 20 years now. My mom (before she passed) and my sister sew, so I thought why not. lol

  14. #14
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    My mom was a lousy cook and a poor seamstress, although she did teach me hemming and French knots, 2 skills my grandmother disliked. My home Ec teacher taught me a great deal, over my strenuous objections. Dad was an excellent tailor. During WWII, he brought home a huge amount of Australian wool, which had been used as cauking, and which he got from the shipyard where he worked. After Mom got to wash it (!!!!!), Dad spun, wove and turned it into a fine brown tweed 3 piece suit. When I was ready to learn sewing after my skillful sister moved away, Dad helped a lot.

  15. #15
    Super Member patchsamkim's Avatar
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    My mom tried to teach me to sew, but didn't have the patience and it was frustrating for both of us....but I spent my summers from age 14 up at my aunt and uncles house...would help prune Christmas trees during the mornings, and afternoons were either spent at the beach or learning how to sew from my Aunt Dorothy....who was an excellent seamstress, and also knew a lot of shortcuts that she passed on to me. That was a good thing, but it made it really hard when I went to college, and the teacher there didn't allow shortcuts, which was frustrating and I dropped out of sewing class there.

    I am mostly a self taught quilter....took one afternoon class through our Embroider's guild, was hooked immediately and bought a couple of books and kept learning....and then teaching others.

    Can't imagine my life without quilting...or cooking which my mom was able to do.

  16. #16
    Super Member Dolphyngyrl's Avatar
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    My aunt, my moms sister gave me the quilting bug. They have yet to find a cure.

  17. #17
    Power Poster ckcowl's Avatar
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    i started sewing doll clothes, replacing buttons ect. when i was about 4 with my grandmother. when i was 8 (in 1965) i started sewing in 4-H by the time i was 13 i was making 3 piece suits for my brothers for Easter. I made my own clothes and clothes for my siblings including winter coats until i had my own children to sew for and my siblings wanted (store-bought) clothes- i would make a quilt once in a while when someone was having a baby or getting married- i did not really become serious about quilting until 2002...now it takes an act of congress for me to get around to sewing on a button
    hiding away in my stash where i'm warm, safe and happy

  18. #18
    Super Member Mitch's mom's Avatar
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    8th grade home-ec class. We made a tote bag then a skirt. I can still remember shopping for the pattern. My mom chose one that had a waist band and was cut on the bias (she had a sick sense of humor) I struggled with that darned skirt for 6 weeks. By the time I brought it home the fabric was soiled, wrinkled, and let's not talk about the construction - I got a C minus. She didn't give me a D because I really did try to make it. I threw it in the washing machine and it came out in pieces as if it was never sewn. To this day I have never picked up a clothing pattern. It left such lasting scars I am still afraid to open the washing machine after washing a quilt - I expect them to be in pieces.

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    My mom taught me when I was 8. The first thing I made was a striped sleeveless dress with BOX PLEATS!! What was my mother thinking? I made all my own clothes beginning in junior high all the way through high school. My mom made my wedding dress. After my kids were born I sewed a lot...outfits for both kids, a dress for every holiday for my DD prom dresses, dolls, and other stuffed things, purses, totes, baby blankets etc. I really didn't like quilting and avoided it for years until I discovered the Modern Quilt Guild philosophy and now I am hooked. I have made 7 tops in 3 months 4 of which are quilted and binding sewn on.

  20. #20
    Super Member Neesie's Avatar
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    My mom introduced me to sewing, when I was around 5 or 6. About the same time, my grandmother showed me the basics of crochet. I learned to do more than just the basics, on my own. I studied patterns and made a lot of mistakes but back then, fabric was pretty cheap.

    I took Home Ec., in 8th grade, to be with my friends. Since I already could sew, I was allowed to skip the first year of it and go straight into the second. What I remember most about it, is making a pineapple upside-down cake and that Jello does NOT freeze well (we ran out of fridge space). Sewing was a straight dress, with zipper and darts; mine was a green flower print.
    Neesie


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  21. #21
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    My Mom was a first-class professional level tailor/seamstress. By that, I mean her repertoire consisted of the full circle of anything she was asked to do: ie, wedding gowns? yes, ma'am; do you want the groom's suit as well and the rest of the wedding party? When the answer was "yes", she turned out some of the most beautiful work I have ever seen, my own wedding dress included. HOWEVER...she could NOT teach me much at all. I learned most of what I knew then in Home Ec class and she tried to encourage (berate!) me at home through this. I think her problem was that things came so naturally to her that she just could not teach, even (especially??) her own daughter. However, I DID "get even" with her when she was about 70...I taught HER to quilt! And found myself in the same situation she had been in all those many years ago...didn't even know where to start! But...before she passed away at age 80, she was better than I was, by far! The only thing she told me about quilting was that she didn't realize how hard it was to keep those "little" seams to 1/4"....and gave me a look that said..."but I will!" And...she did. I gave her last three quilts to her grandchildren and they are thrilled to have such a remembrance of her.
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  22. #22
    Member azure68's Avatar
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    My mom was a seamstress, but I never caught on to the sewing. She tried teaching me when I was 12 on her industrial Singer and I got a thread nest underneath the bobbin. I was immediately discouraged. I haven't touched a sewing machine for decades.

    I'm 43 and took a Sewing 101 class 2 months ago at Joann's with a friend of mine. It was then and there I decided I wanted a sewing machine and I was sick of paying a tailor to hem my pants for me. I'm pretty much self taught in crochet, knitting, and soapmaking. So I figure why not self teach myself with sewing. And somewhere along the line, I got bit by the quilting bug. I haven't made my first quilt yet, but it will be soon. I also have the charm packs and jelly rolls sitting on my table, waiting for me.

  23. #23
    Super Member lfw045's Avatar
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    My Mom taught me to sew. I then took 5 years of home economics just to get two new outfits every year! What fun!
    Blessed are they that can laugh at themselves, For they shall never cease to be amused.

    http://quiltsnmore.webs.com

  24. #24
    Junior Member jj1150's Avatar
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    My mother didn't care much for sewing (but did have a sewing machine she couldn't get to work right for her). I took 4-H in 5th & 6th grades and remember my first project being a brown & white check (very small check) scarf, that you had to sew a single seam around the whole square (about an inch in from the end) and then fringe it to the stitching line. And I also had Home Ec in grades after that!!

    jody

  25. #25
    Super Member maryb119's Avatar
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    My grandma was babysitting me and my 2 younger brothers. I kept hitting them so Grandma gave me a scrap of fabric, needle and thread an a button to sew on. It kept me busy for a long time. I even asked for another button. I was about 3 1/2 years old at the time. I don't ever remember not sewing.

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