My personal sewing history goes way back. I mean WAY back. Back to 4-H and the Suwannee River Fair Fashion show. Oh yes, in Elementary school, I sewed a dress every year for the fair from the time I was old enough to start. Then on Thursday night of fair week, all the "mini-seamstresses" would "model" their dresses on the plywood "runway" that was constructed on top of the saw dust and in the middle of the livestock show ring. We were BIG stuff. After my stint in the Suwannee River Fair fashion show, I was once asked to emcee a fashion show up in Taylor county. I think they only asked me because I talked loud, but of course I accepted and did it! Now don't yall all start asking me for my autograph and all, that was years ago, when I was 11, and way cooler than I am now.
My sewing projects consisted of a long romper, a sleeveless sundress with a sailor collar, and a long sleeve button up dress complete with a petticoat that peaked out from underneath (just think Little House on the Prairie and that was it...) I STILL cannot believe I did that.
I participated in the Home Economics division of the fair for three years (3rd, 4th & 5th grade). By the time mom and I had sewed our third dress together, well, let's just say that we both knew that should probably be the end of my sewing career.
I'll never forget going to the fabric department in the old Wal-Mart (back before Super Wal-Mart) for the first time to pick out my fabric and buy a pattern. My first project was the long romper. This was during those years when rompers were the big thing. Don't act like yall didn't have a one piece romper. I had rompers that were shorts and rompers that were pants. Rompers with bows on the cuff of the pants, and rompers with big bows on the waistline. All kinds of rompers. Well imagine my delight, when there was a pattern for a romper! We picked a fabric that was navy blue with tiny red and yellow polka-dots on it. For the buttons, we picked out these little yellow daisy shaped buttons that just screamed, "romper!" Well, I was only 8 years old and had no idea how this fabric and buttons we'd just purchased was going to become my newest romper, but I knew Mom would make it happen. We got home and I couldn't wait to cut out the pattern and get to work! I cut out the pattern, we pinned, we cut, and mom taught me how to read pattern directions.... then it was time to start sewing. Now, I know this will be hard to believe, me being the big cheerleader that I was in high school and all but I have no coordination. (just to clarify: the only reason I made the cheerleading squad was because I was loud...and I could paint really cute "run-throughs" for football season) but, I have no coordination what.so.ever.! I can't dance and I can't sing. I don't have rhythm. I walk into walls and door jams DAILY. I just flat don't have any coordination---and to push the sewing machine peddle and "gently guide" the fabric through at the same time, well that just was NOT working with that little 8 year old uncoordinated girl! The more I would try to concentrate on guiding the fabric through, the harder I would push the peddle and then that machine would take off and I'd be left with a seam running back and forth from one side of the pants leg to the other... it was not pretty. I think once my mom had gotten the seam ripper out and ripped about a hundred of my seams and let me try again, she decided that she'd "help" me a little more. Now, no one in my family has much patience, but of all of us, mom has the most. But by this point, she was running low. So she pulled two chairs up to the sewing machine and put her hands on top of mine and "guided" them and the material through--- but even that didn't help for long. After a couple good runs, I'd follow with a dozen bad ones... and by this point, all patience was OUT THE WINDOW, and so she told me to push the peddle, while she guided the fabric. And that is how my sewing projects would end. Me pushing the peddle and mom doing the rest. :) And all three years I (well, we) got a blue ribbon on my (well, our) project! The little house on the prairie dress even got a rosette! And the sunflower sundress won Best of Show! Yep, we still have the plaque somewhere to prove it. But now, I am coming clean-- my secret is out--- I didn't sew all those dresses by myself, in fact I really didn't do much more than the cutting and peddle pushing.
To be real honest, these "sewing skills" of mine are STILL border line non-existent.
However, nearly two decades later, I am happy to say that I am slightly more coordinated and I do remember a few of the things that my mom taught me back then while I was pushing the peddle, and I've since been inspired to take on a little project. I saw this fabric and thought it was so cute. I thought it would make the cutest little jumper for summer (for Annabelle). I am NOT about to start sewing my own clothes! Although Devin's real proud of me and wants me to sew him some jeans--its hard to find pants long enough to fit that 6 foot 4 inch guy of mine. I am SO kidding---
Anyway, I did it. I really did it! All by myself! And I only had to rip out one seam! And it wasn't even my fault! It was my sewing machines fault. See, its REAL old. It's a 1957 Singer with metal gears (now, I know the impact metal gears has on the quality of the machine, because my mom told me so). So it's old and it hadn't been used in a while, and it took it a while to get going right, so I had to rip the first seam out. Anyway, this machine was Devin's grandmother's. I love that. I never got to meet his "Grandmother," but am convinced by stories I have heard that I'd be crazy about her! I tell my father-in-law often that his momma would have loved me. I'm just certain of it! I should be kidding that I really said that, but I'd be lying if I said that I hadn't really said that before... anyway, I am just sure I would have loved her and I love that I have this little bit of her. I made this for Annabelle on her Great-Grandmother's sewing machine:
After I finished the little dress, I was so shocked that it actually looked like a dress, and a dress that could be worn at that, that I decided I'd just go all kinds of crazy and sew a matching patch on a burp cloth to go with the dress. And that's what did. Then I decided that that burpie would be so much cuter if it had some of the matching ribbon on it, too! So I sewed it on! And it was straight. And I was proud.
I think I will sew a few more things, maybe, since I feel kind of guilty keeping those blue ribbons and plaques without having really truly earned them on my own. This will be my way of proving that I really do deserve them... and ease my guilt, which isn't bad enough to make me forfeit my plaque and "1993 Best of Show" title or anything crazy like that...
And of course, no post is complete without a baby Belle update. Well, she's had a hard time trying to keep up with me these days. You see, for THREE days in a row, I have exercised. Yes, THREE days! We've been burning up the driveway with our jogging stroller and she's exhausted. Hopefully her momma will be able to keep up the momentum, because I have a closet full of spring and summer clothes that I REALLY want to fit in!
Miss Priss in her jogging stroller. (With her shades pushed up so we could see her eyes in the picture...she wanted to make sure everyone knew she was awake during this workout!)