Saturday, January 12, 2008

Simple Stitches

I got the hang of sewing with my grandmother Gagee teaching me on her big black treadle machine. Years later, for two summers around fifth and sixth grades, I took lessons at a sewing machine store. The Christmas in between, my Mom and Dad bought me a Singer sewing machine. It could do straight and zig zag stitches. It was a less deluxe model than what the store had us learning on. At the time, I was both thrilled to have my own machine and disappointed that it didn’t have all those nifty bells and whistles. Turns out, my folks chose the perfect machine. I haven’t stopped using it for the past nearly four decades! I’ve sewn clothes, accessories, purses, pillows, table linens and wall hangings, along with countless mending jobs.

Today, I sat down to do some mending at the machine and felt myself hungry to take on some projects. In recent years we’ve shifted over to reusable shopping bags. We started out with string bags, which Chuck likes to say are bigger on the inside than outside, but they don’t stand up and therefore aren’t as easy to pack up and transport. So we’ve tried some branded reusable bags from different stores. The best seem to be shaped like a traditional brown grocery bag, made of a sturdy fabric, with strong handles. The ones with a plastic insert that fits the bottom of the bag are the best of all. So I think I see a few new bags, made from some snazzy material from my fabric stash, on the horizon.

If you’re looking for some fiber arts, sewing or craft inspiration, check out Folks make stuff (from homely to fabulous) and then post photos and tutorials of how they did it. If the site seems too huge and unwieldy, try the’s Best of 2007 section. Enjoy!


dancingmorganmouse said...

Memories, my mum taught me to sew on an ancient Singer. Too well. When I started Home Ed classes at High School I got points marked down for not tacking - My opinion was who pins & tacks - pfft. My teacher's opinion was people who wanted to get top marks did.
I didn't take Home Ed when it became optional.

Pink Granite said...

Hi DMM -
Arrrrggghhh! I hate teachers who insist that students all start at the same point: their point, for their convenience and ease!
And pinning was such a brilliant advance over tacking (which I'm guessing is the same as basting)!

Home Ed here is known as Home Economics, but is not taught as widely as it once was. It's a shame because there are so many useful skills that folks could use on a daily basis.
- Lee