Reflections: Sew Grateful Day Two

As I reflect on sewing through my past - both my mother and grandmothers were early examples of sewing and craftiness.  Decades before Pinterest or even the internet, I remember my mother sewing Easter outfits for herself, teaching a friend and me to sew little purses, making a beautiful felt advent calendar that I think my brothers and I would probably fight over even to this day, and creating fun Halloween costumes.  She even whipped up a few skirts for my mission trip to Mexico in high school.  This was in addition to beautiful cross-stitch pieces and crochet projects.  I don't think of my mom as sewing a ton, but she was certainly good at every project she made and set an example of creativity and enjoying time making hand-made items.  She is also the one who taught me the basics of sewing, like following a pattern and operating a sewing machine. My mom's mom was quite a seamstress, from what I hear, and has a beautiful sewing table that I believe my grandpa built for her.  I remember some paisley matching vests she made for my cousin and me during the early 90s.  Although my dad's mom passed away when I was in third grade, I remember her making latch-hook rugs and teaching me to knit (which I forgot, then relearned later in college).  She is also the person who bought me my first sewing machine for Christmas one year - I was probably 7 or so.

Several women have been great encouragements to me through the years in my sewing.  About 10 years ago, I asked a woman (Jeri) at my church in Ohio if she would teach me to sew better.  She took time over several weeks to help me select a pattern, go shopping for fabric, and put together a lined dress that I wore for my husband's seminary graduation.  I appreciate not only the time she took to teach me more sewing, but also to share with me more about her life and family.

Another woman who has been a great encouragement to me is from our church here in Indiana (Barb).  She is very experienced and now runs a wonderful sewing school (Stitchin Time).  She has helped me on several projects, but I always think of her as the one who has boosted my confidence the most in my ability to sew.  She reminds me that if you make a mistake you can always use your seam ripper and start over.  For a long time I was nearly paralyzed by a fear that I would mess up.  Or that I would get in to it and make a mess of things.  It started with something as simple as hemming maternity jeans.  Recently, she encouraged me to go ahead and replace a fabric trim in a crib bumper that I wanted to modify.  I was so afraid I'd end up with a bunch of fabric and no crib bumper in the end.  But she gave me the boost, and then showed (and did) the final sewing of the new fabric in to place.  I was learning that not only could I actually do some of the things I dreamed of, I enjoyed it to!

I have other friends and family who have recently loaned me machines that have been huge boosts to my sewing confidence and skill.  And now that I've lately gotten and great new machine of my own and joined in with the online sewing community, I am even more encouraged and excited and inspired to sew.  I am learning new things all the time, and only held up by my time now, instead of confidence.  I'd say the two biggest influences from the online community are the resources and reviews for learning about new patterns and techniques, and sew-a-longs, which not only encourage me to get a project done by the imposed (and helpful) time schedule, but also provide dialogue with other sewists and inspiration as you see others' ideas come together.  I also appreciate how easy it is to get opinions, hints on patterns to use, ideas, and help through the online community - no matter what hour of the day or night it is!

And don't forget about my giveaway, if you haven't entered already.  You can enter through Friday, February 28.

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