This morning, I went with Sam to Hancock Fabrics so he could get some fabric to make a winter hood. He had found a pattern online, which we had to reproduce with measurements to fit him. As we produced our pattern, he was asking me questions about how I learned to sew.
I remembered my first solo sewing attempt. I was seven or eight years old. Mom had bought some calico printed material to make me a jumper, or perhaps some shorts. I don't remember the purpose for which she intended the fabric. Like many of us, Mom got the fabric home, and it sat for awhile. She was busy... you know- four kids, husband, toddlers, laundry, feeding people and cleaning up after them...the usual stuff that sidetracks people from doing their sewing projects.
I grew impatient, as Mom had promised she would teach me to make some doll clothes. One day, I took Mom's fabric stash back to my bedroom, and laid a piece out. I traced carefully around my doll's waist and legs... and cut out a pair of doll pants. Belatedly realizing I needed a front and a back for pants, I traced the doll outline a second time. I hacked the outlines from the fabric.
Mom was busy, but she absently knotted the thread on the hand needle for me when I asked... never questioning why.
I sewed up the little pants... not putting right sides together so my stitches showed, or the print was INSIDE the pants.
I didn't think to try them on the doll, but went back to hacking the fabric into raggedy pant shaped bits. Mom even tied another knot in the thread for me, as I recall. (Still too distracted to ask what I was doing with this threaded needle!)
I eventually got the pants sewn together. Of course, they were about 1/3 the size I needed them to be to fit my doll. So I tried again to cut them out larger- still following your basic doll sprawled outline.
I don't know how long I persisted before I finally asked Mom what I was doing wrong.
I'm not sure if she laughed... or cried. I had butchered several yards of fabric- what wasn't cut entirely to bits was mangled enough she would never be able to make a human sized garment from it. She did sit right down and show me where my pattern had gone wrong, and draw me up a pattern for a real pair of pants, in doll sizing. Mom showed me how to fit the pieces together, and let me sew them right up. She showed me how to make the casing for the elastic waist, and how to hem. And... I got to keep all the butchered fabric to practice on, but was warned to NEVER EVER get into the sewing stuff without permission.
Sam and I are about to try the pattern we made out on a cheap bit of muslin before cutting into his expensive wool fabric. I also picked up an application to Hancocks while I was there.
Thanks for reading!
And Thanks for teaching me to sew, Mom!