Is Home Sewing a Dying Craft?
My 8-year-old daughter made a comment the other day that really caught my attention. I was digging through my fabric stash, looking for the perfect start to my next project, when Skylar walked in, sort of tilted her head, and looked at me.
“Mom,” she said. “Other moms don’t sew.”
And with that, she walked out of the room and headed off to play.
“Well,” I thought. “THIS mom does!”
While I don’t believe Skylar is entirely correct, because I happen to know at least a few other moms that do, in fact, sew, she’s not all wrong, either. The sight of a sewing machine is probably less familiar to today’s youngsters than it was when I was growing up.
I was lucky enough to have a grandmother who was not only very creative, she was also a great teacher and took the time to teach me many of the hobbies I still enjoy today. I have vivid memories of the time spent learning to crochet a granny square, and it was Gramma that first taught me how to sew on the old Singer that I still have today in my curio cabinet.
My mom is also quite crafty, so she was a great help as I continued to learn and practice my new skills. But when Skylar made that comment the other day, I realized that even though my girls are quite familiar with my tools of the trade, I haven’t spent much time actually helping them become the next generation of seamstresses.
As a pattern designer for 18-inch dolls such as American Girl®, I have the perfect opportunity to do just that … and at the same time, help other mothers, daughters and grandmothers (or fathers, sons and grandfathers!) do the same thing as well.
Let’s Sew Better Together
I’m excited to announce the launch of a series of patterns designed especially for beginning seamstresses and their teachers. Sew Better Together projects are designed to support those new to sewing in the creation of clothing and other items for their 18-inch friends. This includes hands-on participation in the construction of the items, as well as a variety of opportunities to add a personal touch and develop true ownership in the finished product.
Patterns use only basic sewing techniques with ample instructions and photos. All that is needed is at least one participant familar with the basic use of a sewing machine, including threading the machine and completing basic straight and zigzag stitches. This person should also be mature enough to know how to handle tools safely, such as a hot iron or sharp needles.
The first pattern in the series includes instructions to make a simple doll-sized pillow, as well as a custom-designed pillowcase which can be personalized by adding your own one-of-a-kind design or by starting with one of the five included templates.
My own daughters had lots of fun decorating their pillowcases and helping to stuff the pillows, along with their older cousin. I did the actual sewing on this project, but I hope eventually they will be interested and ready to do some of the sewing themselves.
Nine-year-old Helena also gave the pillow pattern a test run, with plans to add a pillowcase later on once she is able to pick up some fabric crayons.
“This was a really good pattern to test,” she told her mother. “It was easy to understand and follow the instructions. I really hope you make another pattern for children. This was only the second time I have sewn on the sewing machine and my first time doing zig-zag.”
I’m looking forward to hearing from others who give the pattern a try, and I love having this opportunity to share a hobby I enjoy with the next generation, just like Gramma did with me.
How did you first learn to sew?
I’d love to hear your story! Please feel free to share through a comment below… and if you have a request for a future Sew Better Together pattern, I’d love to hear that, too!