Tuesday, November 28, 2006

"Circling Back To Sewing" - from Time Magazine

“The coolest new accessories for the style savvy may be a pincushion and a pair of pinking shears.” This the first sentence in an article that was published yesterday in Time magazine (online). But we already knew that sewing was making a comeback didn’t we?

Recently I had three young women (in their twenties) ask me if I would help them learn to sew. Of course I said yes! It is so exciting to me that a generation that didn’t have the same exposure to sewing as I did now wants to learn to sew.

I grew up in a time when most mothers and grandmothers sewed and passed along that knowledge to their daughters. Well neither my mother nor my grandmother sewed. They both owned sewing machines but I don’t recall either of them using them except when necessary (i.e. mending).

But let me tell you – they did teach me to embroider! For some reason it was a skill that was thought to be valuable and I spent many evenings embroidering kitchen tea towels. (It was important that the back of the item was as attractive as the front.) I learned to do a cross stitch, and a running stitch, and a French knots, and a multitude of other stitches that I can no longer recall.

Anyway, I digress. I was introduced to sewing at the age of eight and discovered that I really liked it. Thank goodness someone was willing to give up a Saturday afternoon to show a child how to sew; otherwise I may never have discovered that I enjoy it.

What I'm getting at is that I never learned the “proper” way to sew. I learned from the instruction sheets that are included in the sewing patterns. It never occurred to me to find a book on sewing from the library or bookstore.

Because I had no one to guide me, I was free to learn to do things the way that worked for me, which wasn’t necessarily the “right” way. I used to think that was a negative, but maybe it wasn’t. I was fearless in what I attempted to sew and never had anyone tell me to rip out stitches and redo them until they were perfect.

Perhaps one of the reasons I am so eager to teach others to sew is because I did not have a sewing mentor when I was learning. I want to pass along the joy in sewing that I discovered so many years ago. I want to encourage others that it’s okay to make mistakes. That it’s okay to not have perfect seam finishes. That it’s okay to not follow the rules. That it’s okay to enjoy sewing.

By now I realize that I’ll never be the best sewer in the world. But I don’t have to be to still enjoy the experience of sewing.

And I am privileged to have the opportunity to pass along a skill to the next generation! Pin It


  1. wow,, what a powerful post, my grandmother and mom sewed, I resisted it for years and at 25 and tiptoeing into the sewing world, thanks for you views, I enjoyed reading it

  2. Masouma Rose3:08 PM

    I'm happy that you are teaching your skills and the ability to recover from mistakes. I have always felt that the latter quality is more important that 'getting it right the first time."

    Masouma Rose

  3. Sharon ~ even those of us who were taught by a grandmother or mother were encouraged to use the sewing instructions. It was years before I realized that I could use a book to learn "different" techniques. I think it is a journey for everyone whether they learned at someone's knee or are self-taught! Great post, BTW!

  4. When I was reading your post I thought that I was reading my own words. I share with you the exact same story, also your statments about passing this knoledge to the younger generations. Thank you.



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