My Sewing Roots

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.

I shared more about my mom in a recent Instagram post and you can read Margie's obituary.

22 thoughts on “My Sewing Roots

  1. Joanne Girardin

    Thank you for sharing amazing story about your amazing Mom. I am same. I was the only girl, so don’t remember not knowing how to sew, knit, crocheting, embroider, cross stitch. Thank you again for your story.

  2. ShirleyC

    Sarah, I'm so sorry about your mom. I know how hard that can be. My mom taught me to sew at a young age making doll clothes. Then she encouraged me to take Home Economics in high school, and that filtered on to college.
    Prayers for you and your family. I enjoyed reading about your mom.

  3. Ellyn

    I'm so glad your mom left you these memories of her creativity and your own. Sending hugs to you my friend.

  4. Kathie Banks

    Sending you and your family Prayers and Hugs. My grandmother inspired my sewing journey. To this day I cherish her through the skill she fostered in me. Let every stitch in your sewing life honor your mom.

  5. Catherine

    Sarah, So sorry for your loss, my thoughts are with you and all of your family. Thank you for sharing the pictures and memories of your mom.

  6. Kathleen McCormick

    I am so sorry to hear about your mom. You have great memories and am grateful for hearing about her and your beginnings.

  7. Alice Segura

    Your story is precious. My mom taught me to sew too. I lost mama 7 years ago and losing her left a hole in my heart. I hope you feel better soon. It hurts.

  8. Janie

    I was revisiting your blog because I used your ombre quilt pattern and love to hear about how others developed their interest in sewing. I was so sorry to read about the loss of your mother. My mother passed away about 18 months ago. She had lost the ability to sew, but we spent many happy hours just talking and brainstorming about my current projects and reflecting on her previous ones. Now that we no longer have our visits, I've found out just how much that added to the enjoyment of my projects. It's like there is a little piece missing in each quilt now. My sympathies to you.


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