When I was 10, my mom let me use grandma's treadle machine. During one of the first sessions I managed to sew right through my finger. I was so scare that I continued to work the treadle and scream bloody murder at the same time. Fortunately, I come from a big family and someone rescued me in short order. What would have happened if it had been an electric machine? More on that another time. ha! ha!
My mom was the best seamstress I ever knew. She could look at a dress in the story window and then draw the pattern and create a masterpiece. I loved wearing her creations. My very favorite expression was "Whoever fits it gets it!" Because my mom represented so much of what I wanted to be, I think a big part of my early interest in sewing came from wanting to be as creative as her.
When I was in junior high, girls were required to take one year of home economics, so I took two. We learned to cook and discussed shaving our legs, etc., but my favorite part was the other semester when we sewed. I hate to admit that my favorite thing was making my outrageously bright yellow and orange tent dress and then twirling on the stage for the fashion show. I did not really want to be on stage for everyone to see as much as I loved the way the dress swirled around me.
One of my sister seemed to have a real knack for sewing. I know we all had to take those home ec classes, but sometimes I think she was as inspired by Mom as I was. Even so, I was extremely jealous of her two-piece swimsuit made of little blue and white checks. She looks so beautiful! When she reads this I know that she will laugh, but she looked like a princess to me.
Growing up, I remember my mom sitting at the sewing machine making clothes late into the night. I do not know where she found the time or energy to do this, but I like to believe that she did it as a stress reliever and an outlet to creativity. With so many girls in the family, I do not know if my mom sewed our wedding dresses and the bridesmaids' dresses out of love or necessity, but I remember all the fittings and mock dresses she made to get everything just right. It was so exciting to be the center of attention (like Cinderella and the mice) and feel like I was wearing one of a kind.