My mom passed away ten days ago. She was the beginning of my sewing journey, and really the beginning my path of creativity, craftiness, and handiness around the house. I don't actually remember learning to sew. I was an only child for the first 8 1/2 years of my life and that afforded me time to just co-exist with mom while she was in her sewing room. She made all my clothes in kindergarten, sewed Halloween costumes, worked at a sewing machine shop, and ran a craft business for years. And I had the front seat for all of it.
My very first sewing machine was the 1980 Romper Room Sew Easy -- "the sewing machine made especially for the very young -- that really sews!" I loved the yarn and foam sewing projects that I made. Eventually, I graduated to using mom's sewing machine, the same early 80's Viking that I sew on today. I don't actually remember learning how, but I'm so grateful for the skill that has always come as second nature to me. In addition to other small projects, I made a lot of scrunchies in the late 80's/early 90's which were sold at my mom's craft fair booths.
Mom made one quilt. It was on my bed as a kid. She didn't understand why people cut up perfectly good fabric just to sew it back together again.
She spend her creative time on other types of projects. Her craft business with her mother was primarily lined picnic baskets for years.
In one of my last conversations with my mom I asked her to tell me the story of how she learned to sew.
She was 5 or 6 years old and found her great grandmother's sewing machine in her parents' garage. It was a treadle machine. She "opened it up, put the thread in, and just started sewing." That machine is still in my mom's house.
The sewing machine is a straight stitch only machine. She sewed baby doll clothes from patterns as a kid. In school she took sewing and cooking classes. Her first sewing project in school was an A-line skirt. She made it out of purple wool. It was required that her project have facing, pockets, and a zipper. She learned how to make facings and waistbands.
As a teen her dad bought her a sewing machine. Up until age 12 she "had a crummy machine." Her dad bought her all the fabric she wanted. In high school she sewed elaborate prom dresses and eventually she sewed her own wedding dress. She's pictured with her parents in that dress above.
Mom was always joyful about creating. I carry that joy with me when I'm at the sewing machine or figuring out how to make some new crafty thing work out.