The Reluctant Seamstress

Posted on May 31, 2022

My mother was an excellent seamstress, making most of my clothes during my growing up years. Living on a farm and having very little to spend on extras, Mama made most of my clothes out of feed sacks. She would go to the store with Daddy and pick out pretty pastels, flowered prints, and other designs then stich-up something beautiful. She was also efficient at altering hand-me-downs and adding special touches to make them look unique.

She hoped I would follow in her footsteps, but when I got to high school and still showed no interest in sewing, she took action, telling me if I wanted any summer clothes I had to make them. Not my idea of fun. I took home economics in the 7th grade and hated it. It took me a full semester to make an apron, embroidered pillowcases and a tea towel. Nope, I would rather go to the peanut patch or cotton field with my brothers than sew. But Mama was adamant, so I chose a pattern and fabric for a cute short set. I measured, cut and sewed for days on her old Singer machine then proudly modeled my finished product.

I thought it turned out well, but Mama was aghast. She thought it was awful and was so afraid someone would think she made those clothes that she continued sewing for me clear through high school. A godsend for me.

However, in college, I needed an elective and signed up for HomeEc. Surprisingly, I liked it and was actually good at it, sewing some attractive garments. Anxious to see what Mama thought, I went home for the weekend, wearing a dress that I made. She was stunned. Even shocked at the craftsmanship and kept asking, “Did you really make that dress?” Yes, I did and many thereafter.

Like my mother, I became an accomplished seamstress, making my children’s clothes as well as my own, along with costumes, quilts and more. But unlike Mama, I never demanded my kids make their own clothes. I already knew the tactic they would try. After all, I used it first!

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