Saturday, October 2, 2010

A little more Her-story...

As I promised yesterday, I'm going to give you a little more background on how I came to be what I am today: A Creative Beast!

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A Seamstress is Born...
When I was a wee thing, my maternal grandmother taught me how to sew by hand. I learned a basic running stitch, the back stitch and the chain stitch. With these stitches I began to make my own dolls and their clothes...

 
Darling dolls I made decades ago and keep - they are dear to my heart!

My grandmother also taught me how to knit. I learned the knit stitch and the purl stitch and I learned to decrease stitches, (though I only learned how to decrease in one direction!) and I learned how to cast off. However, it would be nearly two decades before I learned how to increase stitches, decrease in other directions or do cable stitches or yarn-overs! More on that later...

 
little sweaters knit for my larger doll...

When I was "graduating" from elementary school to Junior High (that's what we used to call it back in those days, now it's called "Middle School"), my mother decided I should learn how to use a sewing machine, so she bought me one and had my grandmother teach me how to use it...which turned out to be a dreadful experience. My own mother also sews, but for some reason she did not feel she could teach me how to use the sewing machine she gave me.

You see, my grandmother was a "perfectionist", though I didn't know anything about it at the time, and it often seemed that I couldn't do anything right in her eyes. I would get frustrated and cry trying to learn how to use a sewing machine - to be fair, she insisted on teaching me using her very old treadle machine, which may not have been the best machine for a youngster to learn with. Looking back, I marvel that I continued to sew on a machine at all after those lessons!

I've been sewing with my trusty Kenmore machine for over 30 years!

The first thing I made with my dear trusty Kenmore was a simple tube dress with a smocked top of yellow gingham and I've made a great many things since then which include some award winning garments in my final semester at LA Trade Technical College studying Fashion Design and Pattern Drafting....

Though I do not have the best memories of learning how to use a sewing machine, I am always grateful that I learned this amazing and often needful skill.  It appears sewing is a skill that was done by many of the women in my family for many generations. My maternal great-grandmother also sewed and it seems that I had inherited her trait to be able to cut and sew a garment without a pattern, which I used to do constantly, before my time at Trade Tech. Sometimes these 'experiments' didn't turn out very well, and after a string of 'mistakes', I stopped sewing altogether for over two years...

More on my journey of becoming a Fashion Designer tomorrow!

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I've been thinking a great deal about things that are passed down through generations: treasures, memories, skills...sometimes negative thought patterns can be passed down too, sadly. But, I've also thought about the things that can be passed down to us by people that are not family members...

What skills have been passed down in your family? I would love to hear about the legacy of skills you've received through your family tree =-)

1 comment:

Louise said...

I also learned to sew when I was young from my mother. She is a fantastic seamstress. I was never that interested though, and followed my father into music. Everyone in my family is musical. My mother sings, my father plays the piano, as do my 2 brothers, and my sister played the violin and danced. I am a guitarist, and the only 1 in the family to use my music as my work.

It's great to stop and think about how we got to be where we are in life!