From: Sunny Gloroius Central Oregon
When I was around four or five mom started teaching me how to embroider and knit and iron-pillow cases, lots and lots of pillow cases. When I was around nine a friend was visiting: mom, grandma, and herself decided to knit. I said I wanted to as well. Mom said I couldn't knit because I couldn't cast on. The friend said that is nonsense she knew I could do it, sat right down and showed me what my mom had tried to teach me multiple times. Much to my mother's chagrin I immediately got it and was knitting away with them in minutes. My great grandmother was did alterations (where she got that patience I will never know as it certainly skipped me!) for a living, so sewing was something I had always been intrigued over. Both she and my mother were perfectionists, if it wasn't right it was ripped out and made right, mom did beautiful hand smocking and precise embroidery. Lessons were learned well, and teaching me mom determined was not a good thing and she refused to teach me sewing. Said I would learn in school. Home Ec was not offered until I was a Freshman in High School.
The Home Ec that offered sewing the first semester was full and so I had to take cooking first. I had been cooking so long by then that I coasted thru the first semester, bringing from home recipes to cook. Each group cooked a different part of the meal. Desserts were the only thing in our house that actually had recipes for and those were always family tested favorites, so you know that one I always either volunteered for the dessert group or was voted there which was fine by me for I would have been bored making the main course as well as constantly amazed that there were recipes for those staples.....didn't everyone know how to make potato & mac salad, fried chicken, pot roast, gravy, sour dough and such from memory/scratch? Were there actual recipes written down for those things??????? While this is not a sewing thing, I include it because I was so ready so ripe to sew that when it started finally the second semester I was charging to go!
The first week she did nothing but explain how the machine worked, about fabric, about patterns....oh Lord I didn't think she would ever get the sewing. Second week the teacher had given us pieces of paper with straight lines, curvy lines, spirals and had us sew on the lines with the machine. By the end of that class I had done every sheet twice, ready to sew the first project an a-line skirt with a zipper. This was all suppose to take a week or more as well, you know select the fabric, the thread, the zipper, find the straight of the grain, sew the ends closed on the yardage on the straight of the grain, toss in washer to pre shrink, iron, carefully lay out the pattern, cut it out, sew up sides, put in zipper. By end of second day I was champing to be shown how to put in zipper. The teacher finally figured out that I was going to wreck it for the rest if she didn't get me going on that sewing stuff, so she would line me out then go back to teaching the rest of the class. We did not have tons of money and by my junior and senior year I made a lot of my dresses for school. However the dress code changed then and we were allowed to wear jeans and I never looked back...dresses were rapidly a thing of the past and I don't believe I wore another dress except for special occasions again.
I married at the end of the summer after graduating. My mom had been so traumatized with my whirling the tensions guides around on her singer that she went out and bought me a used white sewing machine, best of all it had zig zag. Thought I was cutting a fat hog with that baby let me tell you! You could even free hand button holes! I soon learned that the best button holes were still best made with mom's old singer and the button hole attachment with the cams!
I was well on the way to being a seamstress, dreams of exceeding all of what Mother Mable (my great grand mom) could ever do. For our first anniversary my husband and I were at the fair where this guy was demo-ing the new TTL Elna. Oh he went on about it being the best, showed us how the pressure foot would lift an extra bit to allow for those thick fabrics...like jeans thought I in my mind.... Of course wanting to impress his new bride he bought it for our anniversary. Oh I was ecstatic! A reality check hit right about then, prices of fabric, patterns, notions had escalated thru the roof, we barely made enough money to cover expenses let alone have leftovers for things like fabric and patterns. I had enough clothes so there was little justification for buying fabric and just sewing.
Over the next four years I had made intricate Western outfits with elaborate yokes on the shirts and matching embellishments on the back and sides of pants in stretchy polyester for my ten years younger sil to wear in competition at her horse shows. I did it for the love of sewing as my mil wouldn't spend the money for it even thou they had the money to do so. I tried sewing garments for others, but quickly learned when they would bring four or five patterns and want the yoke of this one, the sleeves from that one, the bodice of another and so on wanting scarlet red for prom (back then it was all pastels, it was a spring dance and the darker saturated colors just were unacceptable), then after I had morphed all that into something lovely, they wanted to pay me ten to twenty bucks. I was sewing on fifty to sixty dollars worth of fabric alone and they only wanted to pay me ten dollars??????????? When a lady wanted me to make bathrobes out of this quilted fabric and then make matching jammies out of flannel, I did not have a serger so that meant french seams or zig zagging all the seams as well as pinking and even then they would have frayed. She came to get them, hated them, paid me some pittance and stomped off, leaving me in tears.
And back to that Elna, it was not any better than my mom's singer, all those wonderful cams with the fun designs didn't seem to go with anything I was sewing. It did not sew on jeans, needle still broke unless you carefully hand turned the fly wheel oh so slowly. My commercial venture and my machine were so disappointing that I basically swore off of sewing. I had put on weight so it was not even fun to sew for myself any more, everything I made looked like I was a fat person in some awful fat blouse.
By the time my babies arrived, I could buy readymade as cheap or cheaper than I could sew as well as there never seemed any time any more. As well as the worry of babies stepping on pins or worse swallowing them, playing with sharp scissors... Nope I was done with sewing. Every once and a while I would get a wild hair, buy a pattern, fabric, make a blouse and then be unhappy with some element of it. I didn't fit right, I didn't like the button holes, it looked home made.... I wanted a serger so my seams looked like store bought.... but there was just never enough money for that kind of thing.... I put everyone and everything ahead of me. I desperately wanted a new machine called a combo that serged on one end, you turned and it straight stitched on the other end. In the end I just could not justify it. So for thirty years I did little or no sewing. I did not like doing repair sewing and alternating. I learned pretty quickly on that by the time jeans were to the repair stage the fabric was starting to rot and the effort of repairing usually resulted in only a few more times of wearing before they gave out elsewhere. Nope I was done....disenchanted and done. Besides I was such a Tomboy, who had time for all that foo foo stuff???? LOL
I still knit some, crochet some, even occasionally hand embroidered and some crewel. But no sewing! Then about six years ago, nearly seven now I bumped into a friend at a JoAnn's where I was killing time waiting for my car to get tires at the tire store over a block. She was there looking for quilting fabric for a project. It was the end of December and she told me about this store offering a "first Saturday" quilt project. Explained how you just showed up, the lady gave you the material to make a quilt after a one time twenty dollar purchase and at the end of the year you would have a quilt top! My ex sil and I had remained close friends, but we both had been so busy with families and careers that we had drifted apart and not had much together time. I conned her into joining up with me to see how this would go, after all it was just once a month and by golly after all didn't we both deserve some "us" time?
Oh my, I was like an animal dying for water. I soaked up and embraced quilting like you cannot believe. The class had five color schemes you could choose from. It became instantly apparent to me that I could not decide well...I undertook three of the color schemes, they were all so pretty, so different....so exciting. They also sold Bernina's there. The owner was very knowledgeable about them...for sewing...but both her and her staff were sadly lacking in embroidery knowledge/skill. I became nearly obsessed smitten with these new machines. I began a quest to find out more about them. I slowly started prepping husband about major expense.... He went from I cannot see paying that amount for just a machine, to babe, you should have this, you are so excited about it! FYI - ladies it pays to drag hubby around with you when you are researching/looking, they are enough of a gadget person they quickly grasp the merit of the machine....just be careful… you don't promise to digitize them a design of their favorite hobby/plane in your innocent naive rose colored glasses state in an effort to get them to see the need for the accompanying software...rotfl... To this day I suffer reminders of what I promised and did not deliver when friends and family admire what I have made.
I admit to the terror now that this would have a high and difficult learning curve and that I would be eating crow within the first year of getting this machine. Boy was I ever wrong. I was a way like a herd of turtles and have never looked back. I am still working on narrowing my focus down to applying all the ideas that flow thru and I envision. I have to echo all of the ladies that champion this forum. I am afraid I found this area sadly lacking in knowledge or so focused on what their product was that they failed to ignite much of a fire. When you go ALL toward branding of your designs and supplies it is so expensive that this hobby could only be achieved if you had more money than sense to use.
I found mp when I was researching machines with an infoseek search (of course I would google it now). I lurked for a while, but I just am not a bashful person and was soon adding to the forum, not much on embroidery, more on general topics that were so much fun to read and add to....a lot like this one! I learned that there was not just OSED designs out there. I learned that the cat gets skinned in many ways. There are lots of reasonably priced well digitized wonderful designs out there by wonderful designers. Don't get me wrong, I still covet many of the more pricey ones and work to budget in those so I can accommodate my lust for beautiful things.... but it isn’t just OSED now, of course not! LOL Thru MP forum I learned to be brave, to try things I would never have thought about trying and to remember how much I do like to sew and design. Thanks to Shirley I have reawakened my knitting and with many others to inspire and lead me like Roxann, Mizlilly, Chere...even Scottish Anna.... for those of you not mentioned...Sparkle, Lisa, Penny Hal, Patsy....it is not because you have not inspired me it is because I have terrible recall... come on guys we are up to 1001 members! Once again I can’t imagine life without sewing…. I have just taken it to another dimension and am grateful to all of you for continuing to inspire me and pull me along kicking and screaming the whole way to become more. If you didn’t catch that, that was a back handed “thank you” to ALL for being there supporting and encouraging! AND sorry to be so long winded…. And this is JUST the sewing aspect of “me”. BTW I truly expected longer replies from some of you! LOL