I know a few artistic, stylish women who have been sewing their whole lives. This is not I. They started sewing as a child and by the time they were in high school they could have pulled off the Pretty In Pink sew your own dress scene on the day of the prom.
I started sewing a couple years after I got married because I wanted to have curtains in a rental home that had odd shaped windows due to being a big old urban house chopped up into three apartments.
To this day, I still live in an old house with big odd shaped windows that still has me making my own curtains. But beyond that, anything other than a straight stitch, a zipper or an appliqué requires a trip to YouTube for a state-of-the-art sewing lesson.
This is why I am teaching my oldest daughter to sew now. So she can have that Pretty in Pink moment if she wants it. And in a lot of ways, I’m learning right along with her.
My oldest daughter, who is now officially 7, was surprisingly over the moon excited when I told her I was shopping for a new sewing machine and I nonchalantly told her that if it happened, she could have my old machine. Really, I was genuinely surprised by how excited she was. We were standing in the fabric store and her eyes lit up.
“Really, really, I can have your old sewing machine!?!” she kept saying in amazing disbelief at the offer I made her. Then the ideas started spinning in her head and she started picking up bundles of fat quarter fabrics planning for projects.
She had mastered hand sewing projects, from buttons to pillows to purses. So I was fairly confident she was ready for this offer. But I had no idea how touched she would be at my offer to give her my old machine, and how much the time spent learning to use it, with me, would mean to her.
I did buy a sewing machine that day, a Janome, which is a large a step up from my basic Singer that was a gift by mom, when I needed a little number to sew a straight line on some curtains back in 2001. I’m still looking for the time to learn how to really use all the great things on my new machine. Because you see, I’ve been so busy teaching my daughter to sew on my old machine, that my new one is collecting dust.
But when a girl as sweet as her, insists on making a quilt for her baby sister, for a present on her second birthday – I say absolutely, let the new one collect dust.
The quilt is small, made of nine 6″x6″ squares – a clutch quilt for cuddling or wrapping up a doll. But my oldest girl, with a little guidance on the front end, measured, cut and arranged the squares all by herself. The project was a great first lesson on how the machine works, how fast to sew and so on. It was also great to spend time with her, just sewing.
Recently when she looked over my shoulder and spotted a blog I was reading over at Soulemama, where her young daughter was ironing and sewing her own banner for the chicken house, my girl was mesmerized by the level of entrusted responsibility she saw in those little hands. Next I’m fairly certain I’ll be adding the job of ironing to her sewing lessons.
This oldest daughter of mine is also now designing t-shirts for her dolls, using a kit she got for her birthday. So yes, I do think it’s safe to say she is well on her way to being able to pull off a Pretty in Pink move. I look forward to seeing it, along with all her creations along the way.
Have you ever made an on-the-fly offer to one of your kids that surprised you how much they grabbed hold of the idea, and how much it meant to them?