Lesson One - Wendy B.

         I don’t remember a particular article of clothing from my girlhood, except for bits and pieces. I don't, but I think I should, because I do remember my mother and I going through my clothes to see what I had outgrown; I hated to give away certain favorite pieces. I remember the brown coat and leggings I was wearing waiting for the bus to Kindergarten when I fell and ended up having to miss school that day to go home and get first aid.

          I remember that my mother was good at darning socks and mending clothes, but she was not a garment sewer or a quilter.  The first sewing machine I ever saw was a treadle that belonged to my Aunt Anna. When I was 8 years old, my much older sister came home with a portable Singer machine in a blue/gray leather case. I watched her cut out a pattern and sew the pieces together. I had been to a nearby fabric store before, and I went there on my own shortly afterward.  I bought a pattern for shorts and some yellow fabric—something like kettlecloth. I did not understand grain lines or their directions, but I pinned that pattern to the fabric on the floor of my bedroom and cut out those shorts. I know I sewed them together, but I don’t remember if they fit—I do NOT remember ever wearing them. I’m not sure how much more I learned from my sister, but I did take sewing classes at school in 7th, 8th & 9th grades.

          I remember making an A-line dress in 7th grade. It was a peach colored calico print. It had a keyhole opening at the back of the neck, and we learned how to make a wrapped thread loop that hooked over the button on the other side.  We learned how to face the armholes and hand tack the facing down. None of my classmates really liked the dress, but I was proud that mine came out well. Hemming was never my favorite thing.  Not the hand sewing, but the trying on and standing still while someone pinned up the hem.  Mom and my sister always went up hill and then had to straighten it. I made most of my clothes in high school, but never advanced as far as making suits, though I did make a couple of formals. I wish I had had a serger after a few years, since I was determined to finish all my seams in my garments, and the other methods were very tedious. This was what made me stop sewing clothes. Alas, I'm not even sure sergers were available to the consumer yet. I still don't own one.