Saturday, February 11, 2012
Learning How to Sew on Saturdays in the Winter
When I was in my preteens my grandmother taught sewing on Saturday mornings during the winter in my mother's fabric shop which was attached to our home. That's where I learned about darts and inseams; marking and pinning patterns and secrets of how to cut the patterns out. I discovered how some materials such as silks and velvets are harder to sew than others like cottons and rayon. While it took me forever to trim a pattern, pin it to the fabric, and cut it out, my grandmother did it in lightning speed. On went the pins and soon, off they came. That's the manner in which she sewed, too. And when she wasn't the instructor, she'd be at her little black Singer sewing machine pumping the foot pedal and turning out one item after another. This instructor never needed a pattern back home in her sewing room. She had the eye for her artform and those of us lucky enough to be in her family, benefited. When you have the eye-the imagination, the creativity is the driving force, not what's been learned in a book or classroom on a winter Saturday.
I haven't sewn in a very long time yet I still wander about fabric stores. There's something about all those bolts of material that ignite a spark. I find myself pulling one bolt off the shelf and matching it with others. There are so many from which to choose in so many colors and designs. I mix-match corduroys with linens and organzas with taffeta. I go from sewing a dress to a coat to a fancy outfit and then I start all over, overlooking the fact I have no fancy event written on my calendar. I check out the buttons-so many buttons. I am amazed at the endless shades of thread or fancy sewing machines that seem to have a brain of their own. I sit at the pattern table and wander through pattern books. Nothing escapes possibility as I sift through those pages.
When all is said and done, I eventually close the books, put the bolts back where they belong and walk out the door without buying a thing. For the time being, that urge to sew has been satisfied-until the next time.