Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Mentors and mending

Learning to sew - we all did it and are still doing it. Can you ever learn enough? My friends and I made clothing for troll dolls when we were tweens. We helped each other out. Cutting, sewing, and dressing them was fun. It was never a chore. I was even allowed to use my mother's sewing machine! Later, I took home ec in junior high school because my mother made me. That included sewing an outfit using a pattern, from cutting to wearing. Mrs. Esther Batchelder was the teacher and she was encouraging and tough. But I must have learned a little something. I can still use a pattern and make clothing.

As time went on, I turned to hand embroidery and away from traditional sewing. I would sew with DMC floss nearly every day. My sister, Patsy, was my idol and my mentor when it came to embroidery. She would tell me the name of stitches and I'd look them up, learn them, and incorporate them in my pictures. It was like painting. 

Then came children and making clothing. My SIL and a friend (Jan) both sewed. I was grateful to be able to lean on them. Jan turned me on to Home Sew and all the fun sample packages you could get from them. I learned how to do facings without using extra fabric (a shortcut where you turn the existing fabric under and stitch it directly), put in sleeves, and space out buttonholes. Another friend, Sandy, was a pretty experienced sewer. She did a lot of fancy gathering and pleating, and her work was immaculate. She was a mentor by example.

Clotilde, who sadly passed away in 2011, was a mentor from afar. She had the quintessential sewing catalog. I received hers and the one from Home Sew back before the internet was even a gleam in the ether's eye. I took a class from her locally and we talked for some time about our mutual friends and interests. She made everything seem so simple. She wasn't just a mentor, she was a celebrity in my eyes.

The fabric store where I took her seminar, Fabrics Unique, is where I bought my Bernina and often lots of fabric. Two women who worked there were more than helpful, and don't even know they were my mentors. They made sewing seem normal. Not a lot of friends of mine were sewing. I didn't meet that large community until I worked for Sewing.com!  Susan and Betty were able to point me in the right direction many times. I looked up to them and still do.

So many mentors, most of whom don't even know it. No one lives in a vacuum. Part of the mission of this site is to pass along any sewing information we can. That's why it says "steal this stuff" on the front page of the blog. Pass it on - show a friend how to do a button. It's a start!

Now to the mending thing. I made a blanket for my dog to hop on on our bed. Over the years, it's been through a lot and from time to time, I take it off the bed and add patches. I chose today to do that again and lawdy me, it's starting to look like a quilt made out of the patch fabric - fabric with stones all over it. My dog doesn't care, but I do. The various levels of fading of the rock fabric shows the age and how many times the quilt has been washed. Lucky dog, eh?

Go sew something. It's a gloomy day in VA and I'm going back to the machine. 

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