Whenever liZ and I go anywhere to teach a class we always begin with a little introduction of who we are and why we sew. And while those stories are really extreme opposites, I still love the fact that sewing and creating is an underlying theme.
And since most of us will never meet in person (but I hope we do!) we thought we would share our sewing stories with you…and the reasons why we feel so passionate about sewing.
Why do you sew?
I grew up with very crafty and creative women. I actually never remember my Grandma Lova without knitting needles in her hand and her knitting bag that folded up like an accordion. They were precious things to her. She knit sweaters for each of the grandkids, afghans and so many many projects for charity. Earlier in her life she also sewed—intricate doll clothes, dresses for my mom and aunt and fluffy tied quilts made out of sheets for all of our beds to keep us warm in cold Chicago winters.
My mom was the same way, although she had many projects of choice. She cross-stitched, she sewed, she crocheted and she crafted. She made wreaths for Christmas, ornaments for the trees and many a handmade Clown Halloween costume.
So, sometimes I feel like creating is in my blood. And it’s what I saw and did as a child. My dad was in sales and traveled often when we were young, so during the summers my parents would pile us all in an oldsmobile and we would go on vacations driving around the midwest while my dad traveled for work. My mom (being the smart mom she was) would bring cross-stitch or crafty projects with us to keep my sister and I busy in the car. I remember cross-stitching tiny Christmas ornaments by a hotel pool and making cross-stitched bookmarks that we could give away as gifts all summer long.
My Grandma Lova gave me my first sewing machine for my 12th birthday, just about the time I entered into 7th grade home ec. class. And I love that sewing machine. Instead of making the “normal” pillow that everyone else made in beginning sewing class, I made it a heart shape with a cross-stitched button on panel on the front with real working buttons and button holes. It was my thing….and I love it.
(LiZ and I both say we probably wouldn’t have been friends in 7th grade….you’ll find out why tomorrow!)
So, in 8th grade my home ec. teacher let me come in her room for a more advanced class and let me sew whatever I wanted. I sewed eyelet skirts and puffy-sleeved blouses (ahhh…the 80’s 😉 and all sorts of projects that I could get my hands on. I made my own costumes for Halloween in high school and love all things sewing.
One of my biggest regrets in life is that I didn’t continue to take sewing classes in high school and college—but I didn’t view sewing as a “cool thing” and I guess I wanted to fit in more. If only Project Runway were on tv in those days….
I went on through college and got a teaching certificate. I taught Early Childhood Education until my oldest was born. From there I went to teaching part time until I found out I was expecting a second time two years later. And then I decided that it was time to stay home—a job that I had been looking forward to all my life.
But as much as I treasured being home with my kids (and I did!)–the transition was rough. I had gone from a classroom of little and big people who desperately depended on me–to a place where all I felt I did was wash dishes, change diapers, and do laundry. Rinsing and repeating each of those tasks every.single.day. And I felt like I was missing a piece of me.
Soon after that I read a quote from “The Mother’s Almanac” that said, “Do something every day that can’t be undone.” And a light bulb went off. Every time I made a meal the dishes were undone, every time I did a load of laundry–it was undone. I felt my whole life was full of important things….but none of them stayed “done.” And I knew I needed to find my “something” that couldn’t be undone.
So, I borrowed a sewing machine (from liZ’s basement) and I started sewing again. I sewed ragged baby quilts galore, I sewed burp rags and tiny skirts and baby quilts and everything baby I could. And as I look back on how pitiful the workmanship of those projects were….I found something as I began sewing again. I found my creative spark.
And now almost 12 years later….I am still sewing. Mostly because it is a part of me. A creative space that needs to be filled. My “something” that can’t be undone.