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This might surprise you

With the recent launch of Volume 84 January/February, we thought it would be the perfect opportunity to highlight one of our talented writers, Shelly Smola of My Fair Lady Designs who is featured in the current issue.

Shelly has contributed articles for Designs in Machine Embroidery since 2007. Among the projects featured are the At the Track Pillow Sham and the September Memories reusable calendar.

Her latest project, the Glamour Girl Organizer combines utility with femininity. We already feel glamorous and beautiful just looking at the project!

Shelly is also the author of the book, All for Me, Delightfully Feminine Projects Made in the Hoop. This is a definite book to add to your Wishlist. Or go ahead and visit the Designs in Machine Embroidery website and add to the shopping cart. For a limited time we’ll include free shipping on the book. Use coupon code: pretty

Tell me 3 things our readers would be surprised to know about you.1) I will buy new fabric that matches my stash just so I won’t use up my stash. 2) I love to golf, especially after a day of sitting at an embroidery machine. 3) I hate to go shopping!

Describe your perfect vacation day.My perfect vacation day would be to curl up with a good book and my kitties.
Describe your perfect work day.The house is already clean, all the chores are done, and I am ready to test stitch a project – oh, and I already know what fabric I will use!!
Finish the sentence: Nobody knows I…am really bad at picking out fabric! I usually have to redo a project several times before I find a fabric combination that looks good!
What is your favorite thing to do other than sewing/embroidering?I love to read or play golf when I am not sewing or embroidering.
What is your favorite project you have created over the years?The Bedtime Rail Line quilt – that was so much fun to design, and it took forever because I just kept adding to it.
Do you prefer to design from scratch or do a makeover?I prefer to digitize from scratch.
Share one embroidery tip that every embroiderer should know.Stabilize, stabilize, stabilize! When I bought my first embroidery machine, I thought there was something wrong with it because my designs kept puckering! I didn’t even know what stabilizer was!!
What 5 things can you not live without?My family and friends, coffee, lemons, hot red peppers, and good books
What is your favorite afternoon snack?Iced coffee
What one item do you cook or bake really well?Dinner rolls – my friend Dot Hawkins gave me the recipe. I make them every Friday.
When you were 12 years old, what did you dream of being when you grew up?When I was 12, I wanted to be a math teacher. I used to set up all my dolls in chairs in front of my chalkboard and teach them the math lesson I learned in school that day.
Are you more creative during the early morning hours, midday or do you burn the midnight oil?My best ideas usually happen in the early morning, but I get most of my work done in the midafternoon.
What is your motto?Treat others how you want to be treated – in your personal life and in business.
Name one talent or skill you wish you had.I wish I could dance! No coordination for this girl!
Which do you prefer—milk, white or dark chocolate?Dark Chocolate – the darker, the better!
What one word best describes you?Loyal
Finish the sentence: My mother taught me…how to sew! I would sit next to her for hours while she made clothes for me and my doll.

Here’s your assignment this week:

Tell us how you got your start sewing. One comment will be chosen to receive an autographed copy of All for Me – Delightfully Feminine Projects Made in the Hoop by Shelly Smola.

All For Me

The winner of last week’s assignment:

When you embroider a monogram, do you favor single-letter, two-letter or three-letter monograms? Post your comment for a chance to win a copy of Machine Embroidered Monograms for the Home!

 And the winner is“I love monograms. Whether I use one or three letters depends on the item monogrammed and who it is for. Both are fun to do.” – Bernice K.




  • Kim

    My Grandma got me started sewing, first were hankies with a hand rolled hem. EVERYBODY in the family got one lol. Then it was onto aprons to learn how to gather. One of my favorite memories was when she taught me to embroider, sitting in a small rocking chair at her knee. She said, “Now Kim, whatever you do, be careful and don’t sew it to your dress.” I did a few stitches and went to lift it up for her to see and of course it was sewed to my dress. She laughed and undid the stitches for me :).

  • Terry Brinkley

    At about age seven, I got my start sewing by piercing/sewing a hole in my thumb – literally! My mom worked night shift and I was going to make some doll clothes using her sewing machine. I had no clue what I was doing but I had seen my mom use it and it looked simple enough to me. Of course the needle broke and I was left with PAIN and white threads stitched through my thumb with the broken half of the needle dangling from them. I can still see that visual in my mind today and I make sure I keep my thumbs (and fingers) out of the way!

  • Donna F

    Sitting next to my mom as she sewed clothes for herself and me. She would give me scraps to wrap around my dolls. Then I moved up to needle and thread stitching them together. Eventually she let me repair hems on pillowcases, hankies, etc. It progressed from there. After I took a sewing class in Home Economics I learned about straight of grain and things like that and shared that information with her and then we began to sew projects together.

  • Carol Seavitt

    My mom took me, my sister and two neighbor girls to the Singer learn to sew class. After the second class, mom saw our work, complained about the lack of knowledge, got our money back and she taught us in our home. I’ve never sewn so many darts in my life. She was a great teacher and still is this day. Love her!

  • Madeline Lester

    I got started sewing in the 7 th grade. Not by choice
    Home economics, half year cooking, half year sewin.
    My teacher was Mrs. Blousie, I can still see her, really
    liked her, remember we couldn’t put our pens in our
    mouth. I hated sewing, but mother insisted,
    Thank you Mother! Where ever you are. I’m sure
    you watch over my shoulders many a time saying
    “I told you so”. Love and miss Mother

  • Gail Knight

    Loved this article about this wonderful lady whom I am lucky to know personally. I got started sewing when I was about 5 years old. I could hold a needle without stabbing my fingers(very often). My Mom taught me to cut and sew doll clothes by hand. I LOVED it! I began making my own clothes at 12 having graduated to a sewing machine. I made a blouse somewhat well and I was off and running. I have made every thing from suits, wedding dresses, Prom dresses, blessing outfits, doll clothing and now do mostly quilts. Made most of my 3 daughter’s clothing and lots of Grand One’s clothes. Took any and all sewing classes offered in Jr and Senior High school. Happy to say that I received a National Award award for best seamstress in school one year. I love to machine embroider. Have made many of Shelly Smola’s designs and have taken many but not enough of her classes. I own a huge stash of embroidery designs too but they are much easier to store that all the fabric and notions. Sewing has been a life long (65) exciting endeavor for me. So much enjoyment. A great way to give back to others while enjoying the time spent making wonderful things. Funny–I too will buy new fabric rather than taking away from my lovely stash. Good to know someone else does that too.

  • Ann santistevan

    I was about 8 yeas old. My mother wouldn’t let me sew with thread till I could sew a straight line.
    She gave me lined school paper and I would sew on the lines without thread. I had sewn an entire ream of paper with the straightest lines possible. She could see I was ready for FABRIC and THREAD!

  • Peggy Schroeder

    Hello, I started sewing at five years old, taught by my grandmother. She was a seamstress, had a giant industrial machine which she used in her business, she even made casket liners for the local mortuary, because in the old days (40’s & 50’s) caskets came with no liners or anything in them. She was also the local 4-H sewing leader, and I sewed along with them. I still remember my first project, a light blue cotton scarf, hemmed on three sides, and fringed on the 4th. I was born on her birthday, and she always told me I was the best present she ever got. She died in 1967, and I still miss her. She was just so wonderful. She would be so pleased that I still sew, embroider, and quilt, and have taught 3 of my grand daughters to sew.

  • beth daniels

    I started sewing when I got out of college. My mother put me in a sewing class at what is now Jo-Ann’s (Cloth World). I was given a new sewing machine and I made a sleeveless dress in the sewing class. After that I started making clothes, then up to making quilts and machine embroidery now with a much newer machine.

  • Susan Weber

    My grandmother was starting to teach me to sew on her treadle sewing machine when I was ten years old. My family then moved to another state away from my grandmother. I kept asking my mother to let me use her electric sewing machine but she said I could not use it until I learned to sew. Talk about a “catch 22”!. I had to wait until I was 13 to take Home Economics in school. I am so thankful that schools had Home Economics and I will always remember where I learned and I have not quit sewing since.

  • Pam Dixon

    I learned to sew when I was 10 by taking classes at the Singer Sewing Center. I was the youngest in the class. Since my mother did not sew, she wanted to make sure I learned as much as possible in class so she insisted that I make a finished lined wool suit, not a shift dress as others were doing. The teacher was not happy, but after the class was over, she realized that all learned more from my making the suit than they would have without it.

  • Amy

    My mom got me started, we were 4H and very active in 4H competitions and Fairs, Make it In Wool competition (finalist in Nationals), and College design and textiles and then the Fabric and Fashion industries in NYC (many many years) before going back to small town.

  • Karen

    My sewing started with cutting up fabric for my Barbies clothing – as I was too young to use any sewing machines, I taped the fabric together and to the doll so it would stay put.

  • Janet C

    I feel like I have been sewing all my life! Both my mother and grandmother we’re sewists. My mom made all my clothes and shirts for my brothers. My grandmother sewed for the family and for money. She made dresses and shirts for square dancers. Oh, how I remember those beautiful bolts of metallic ric-rac and decorative braids. Later in life she made draperies. Both of them let me use their machines and create my own things…by myself! What were they thinking? 😉 I was sewing before I went to school and I still love everything about the process. Thank you mom and grandma! My daughter has never had any interest in sewing, but is a wonderful creative person in other ways. Now along comes my five year old granddaughter and she LOVES sewing and I LOVE helping her. I am one happy grandma!

  • Patricia

    I learned to sew from my Mother, Grandmother and aunts. They all sewed from clothes to quilts to embroidery. It was like a classroom, my cousins, sister and I. There was no getting away from it, it is in our blood. The generations still go to quilt shows together. It has kept our family close. Now all our daughters sew and their daughters also, it just keeps getting passed down.

  • janice

    I did my first sewing project in 7th grade for Camp Fire Girls. We made an apron out of a yard of fabric.

  • Anne Marie Reilly

    Before I was married, my mother always sewed my clothes. She worked in sweat shops and was very good. After I had my children, I wanted to learn but found that I could not learn from her because it annoyed her that I ran the machine slowly. She was used to running hers at top speed and of course she never basted anything. So I went out and took beginner lessons at a local store. After that I still ran the machine more slowly than she liked, but we could then discuss projects and methods.

  • Lorraine

    My Grandma was always sewing up an outfit for one of her 4 grandchildren. My eyes were always in wonder as I watched her as she transformed a piece of cloth into a beautiful piece of clothing for one of us grandchildren! As I got older she would teach me how she accomplished all. That began my joy of sewing and now that I have grandchildren of my own, I too create for them and hope my granddaughter will take forward that love of sewing.

  • Sandra Miller

    I got my start in sewing by being a nuisance to mom when she sewed. I was right by her side, watching and begging to sew a seam which she eventually allowed me to do. After a while she purchased an Elna sewing machine that was sitting on a platform that was raised and lowered in the cabinet, always upright. I would open the doors in front, turn on the light, hook up the knee control and I would sew, sitting on the floor or on a small stool. I was happy! And I learned!

  • Melissa Johnston

    Home Economics in 7th grade is where I sewed my first project. A pillow and a apron. Which both turned out very nice. But I really didn’t falling in love with sewing until I made a ragtime quilt a few years ago.

  • Susan J

    That’s a long story: My maternal grandmother, a master seamstress, passed away before I was born. I think the sewing gene skips a generation in our family as my mother HATED to sew. Luckily, I had an aunt on my father’s side who was also a wonderful seamstress. She volunteered to teach me how to sew when I was about 12. Thank you Aunt Flo! I never really got into clothing construction, but fell in love with quilting when I met an Irish lady who taught me the basics when we lived in Hong Kong. Thank you Evelyn! Machine embroidery was a natural extension for me as I wanted to embellish my quilts. I have had many wonderful teachers through the years who continue to teach me more about quilting and embroidery.

  • Eileen Bulger

    I came from a large family. My mom made everything, bread, cookies, cakes, clothes, curtains, knitted socks, sweaters, baby outfits and blankets.
    I just managed to take on a love for sewing because I could have what I wanted – for less.
    Others in my family knit, sew, crochet, bake. Because of the example of one resourceful woman.

  • Maryhelen Bronson

    I am the oldest of 10 children. My mother made all our clothes. She would make herself a dress and then make one for my sister and me out of the same material. She turned her wedding dress into my First Communion dress! I sat down at her machine when I was about 10 years old. Fifty-five years later, I am still sewing up a storm!

  • Ruth Peterson

    My mom signed me up for a sewing class taught by a lady in the church during a summer in junior high, I believe. We had to pick a pattern & fabric to make a dress. I didn’t like my project, can’t remember if I ever wore it. I always knew I would like quilting, but waited until my own daughter moved out to afford me the designated space & time about 8 years ago. Now there is LOTS of fabric in my stash and I sew and embroider as much as possible. I am looking forward to seeing Shelly next month at Puyallup’s SewExpo! Love her projects!

    • Shelly Smola

      Looking forward to seeing you, too!!

  • Sherry Peterson

    I started sewing in jr. High school, after taking a sewing in home-economics, because my parents couldn’t afford to buy me all the clothes that I wanted. Since then I will attempt to tackle any kind of project, I usually buy a book or search online on how to do whatever projects I’m wanting to learn how to do.

  • Sharon Krulitz

    I have been sewing since I was a little girl. I started by making clothes for my Barbie doll. My Mom sewed my clothes when I was little and then she taught me to sew.

  • Karen Blancher

    My Grandma started me sewing at a very young age. She lived with us, so when I would get home from school, lessons would start. First by hand, then machine. If I wanted a new skirt for school, Grandma would find something that was not worn very often, have me pick the stitches then remake into what I wanted. She was the best teacher. Sewing, knitting, quilting, whatever. I am now in my sixties and still miss her everyday.

  • Gena Allen

    My aunt got me started sewing at 12 years of age. She taught me on her grandmothers singer pedal machine.

  • Linda

    My mother taught me how to sew too…..and my mother and grandmother were quilters—-I think they would have loved the new embroidery machines like I do…..I would so love this book..thanks for the chance to win..

  • Lisa V

    My grandmother was a crafty person. She taught me how to sew, crochet, knit, embroidery, and QUILT. Really, I guess what she taught me was to LOVE these things. I wish she could see what i do now, 40 years later….

  • Donna N.

    I would watch my mom and would be in awe at how she would take a flat piece of cloth and make it into a garment that fit around the body. I started making doll clothes at about 10 or 11 with a small hand crank sewing machine.

  • Kristi Alexander

    I learned to sew in Home Economics class my freshman year in High School. I have been sewing ever since.

  • Sharon M

    I made my first project as a Brownie Girl Scout. I made placemats with a decorative stitch. I had grown up with sewing, my mom made all my clothes. When I was 12 I had a growth spurt that left me with a 32″ inseam. In the 70’s I don’t know if they made talls sizes for women but could not have afforded them anyway so I began sewing my own clothes and have never stopped.

  • Celeste Hemby

    My Mother had four daughters and she sewed almost all of our clothes. Her machine was always up and we were welcome to sew on it. We made doll clothes, pillows, and sometimes just sewed scraps of cloth together. By the time I was a teenager, I sewed a lot of my things. She was always willing to help when I didn’t understand how to do something.

  • Karin

    Like so many others, Home Ec, 7th grade…1/2 year cooking, 1/2 sewing. I think I’ve been cooking and sewing every day (or at least think about it!)since then!

    When we were looking for a camper to purchase, it had to have a place for me to sit & sew, and it was so hard for the salesmen to comprehend. Luckily, I married a man to totally gets me, so it was never a question for him, and if we walked into a camper that wasn’t suitable, we’d just turn around and walk right back out, with a “nope, not gonna work for me.” 🙂

    It was lovely peeking into the DREAM studio of Shelly – loved it so much I showed it to hubby, so he knows what to look for in our next home!

    • Shelly Smola

      He sounds wonderful!! I love my studio, too, although it is just in my basement! Would love to have nice big windows!! 🙂

  • LeAnne L

    My mother and grandmother always sewed. My sisters and I always had matching outfits. Different colors, same pattern. My mom taught me how to sew though. First it was with felt and a needle and thread sewing clothes for my troll dolls. Then she taught us how to sew in Girl Scouts. I made a couple dresses after high school and then didn’t pick it up again until the early ’90s when I got the quilting bug and then the machine embroidery bug.

  • Mary Ann Genre

    My mom was the greatest contributor to my love of sewing. She made her own clothes as a young woman, even her wedding dress. In grade school we made placemats as an art project. Our teacher did the stitching then we drew and colored on the mats and frayed the edges. That started it all, but with out my mom I probably wouldn’t have gotten much further along. I remember how patient she was in explaining the correct way to do things and how impatient I was. I don’t know how she survived! LOL

  • Emma

    Hand stitched embroidery was my introduction to sewing at a young age by my mother. Then as time passed and a few samplers later onto
    the sewing machine, the green straight stitch Singer. Simple clothes
    for my doll, and a few tops and shorts for myself were my first projects. Home-ec followed and now sewing is a daily joy.

  • Enis

    I grew up in a house with my grandmother who sewed, but she never invited me to learn with her, but just seeing her peaked my interest. Because when I was 16 in Home Ec class we had to learn to sew. I was so excited to finally get at a machine. My first project was a pair of pants with a zipper!!! To this day I don’t know why the teacher taught us this for a first project. My pants turned out relatively well — until, of course, I wore them in public and they literally fell apart because I hadn’t a clue about backstitching at the beginning and end of seams. LOL

  • Deborah Ervin

    Got my start sewing Barbie doll clothes by hand with my grand mother. Every day now while using my fancy baby lock sewing and embroidery machine. I wonder what she would think of all the things I make now and how far sewing has come since then.

  • Angela Bavuso

    I started sewing around age 6 or 7 I think. My mother taught me and also my babysitter’s mother who lived next door. Now I ma teaching my children.

  • Brenda Sutton

    I watched and learned at an early age. Begain sewing on a Singer pedal machine. Made all my clothes in school and did alot of craft and home sewing as well. Took a few years off and am now enjoying machine embroidery.

  • Pamela B

    We were married a couple of years when my husband ask, “If we buy a sewing machine will you use it.” I said, “Of Course.”!
    We went the next day to buy a sewing machine. I cut out 20 little tops and pants for my 4 year old daughter. And after work I would go in and sew them. I made 10 outfits in one month and the machine had to be worked on, already. It was my daughter’s 4th birthday in two months. So all she got for her birthday was those 10 outfits. And the other 10 out fits was finished in time for Christmas. I did a lot of clothes for my daughter and than my son.

  • Mary Sterling

    I started sewing in 4-H. My mother and her sewing friend were our leaders. Started with hand work and then on to the sewing machine. I really learned to appreciate the fact that I had a machine to sew with when I learned that one of the members did not and still made her projects by hand and they looked very nice. Sewed for our daughter including prom dresses and now do more embroidery.

  • Joyce Hardiman

    My mother started me when I was 5- with the words “you are going to learn how to sew so you never have to have your mother-in-law teach you how to sew”. My first project was a sleeveless blouse with bias tape around the neck and arm holes- made from a flour sack. My mother and I laugh about it now as it really was not the best beginner project. My mother says she was happy when I could sew my own clothes because I always had a design in mind that combined multiple pictures and/or patterns; particular fabrics, buttons and trims. I still approach making clothes this way.

  • Charlotte Silber

    I got started back in high school. Then married, had 4 girls and tried making clothes, but by the time I finished, the one I made it for outgrew it. LOL So time went by, now I quilt, no fittings and outgrowing a quilt. I love putting embroidery with quilting. Better than having someoneelse doing the main quilting.

  • Debbie

    We didn’t have a lot when I was young. So I started making clothes and things for my Barbie doll. And as I got older I started making clothes for myself. By this time my parents were farming and mom didn’t have time to make many things. We went school shopping at the last minute and everything I liked was sold out in my size therefore if I wanted something like that I had to make it myself.

  • Irene Clark

    My 7th grade teacher, Mrs Samuelson taught me to sew. We had to make a slip and an apron. After that, my Mother let me use her machine after that. Then when I married and had my daughter, Mom and I made clothes for her. All of this was in the early1940’s and 50’s. I am now 81 and have progressed to doing machine embroidery. I still love to sew also.

  • Paula Somers

    I learned at the feet of my Grandmother. She was a great sewer who repaired garments at the county home for the patients there. Often, I would accompany her to her work and sew buttons on the garments. I honestly think, the garment probably dissolved before those buttons came off again.

  • Faye Johnson

    I learned to sew on my grandmother’s Singer treadle machine (which I inherited). My mother was one of the best seamstresses that I have ever known and my earliest memories of her is at a sewing machine. She had 5 children to sew for and she could make bedspreads, drapes, formals, anything she wanted. I was probably between 10 & 11 when I really started sewing. I hated Home Eco. class because it was so boring. Before I finished high school I was earning extra money sewing for other people. I do remember being so mad at mother because I wanted a “store bought” prom dress. When we went to the store to look at the dress and try it on, she promptly explained she would not pay that much for a poorly made dress. I was marched down the street to the fabric store to choose fabric. My dress was beautiful and another girl had the “store bought” dress on! Everyone wanted to know where mine came from because it was so much prettier. I never again asked for anything “store bought”! I have sewn for my children and grandchildren and love embroidering and machine quilting. But I can always hear my mom saying “Take it out and start over” when it is not just right!

  • Leanda Mayer

    I had always loved hand embroidery but started machine sewing my own clothes when I was 20 and pregnant with my first child. We had very little money and I needed clothes that fit. I went on to cut up old clothes and creatively made baby clothes that looked brand new. I was hooked and have been sewing every since. Making the bridal gown and dresses for all the attendants when my daughter married was just the biggest thrill for me. I have particularly enjoyed the addition of machine embroidery and in the hoop projects as it gives me so much more scope.

  • Lisha Falk

    I come from a long line of sewers – was intrigued with my great grandmother’s treadle machine that she actually sewed on while my grandmother and mother used electric machines. Stayed with her one weekend when I was probably 8 or 9 and she helped me use her machine to sew an apron. I recall my mom teaching me to sew by using an unthreaded machine to stitch over the lines on ruled paper to learn how to control the machine. I also hand embroidery, cross-stich, needlepoint, crochet and now do machine embroidery.

  • Debbie

    For my tenth birthday, I received a beautifully handmade light blue tweed coat lined with light blue satin and a white dotted Swiss dress lined with white broadcloth and trimmed with a small lace hem for my Barbie doll. It was a gift sewn by our sweet neighbor. That Barbie outfit literally intrigued me and became the catalyst to this magical thing that I just had to learn how to do; sewing. So, the next day I took fabric scraps from my grandmother’s scrap pile and began hand sewing my own “coat of many colors” for my Barbie. Since that special birthday, I have created hundreds of sewn projects, but my tenth birthday gift for Barbie remains in a special place in my home and in my heart.

  • Sandy

    I began sewing as a child, beginning with doll clothes and going on to making my own clothes. I really don’t do clothes these days, but I do knit and quilt and am beginning in embroidery.

  • Mary Thiessen

    When I was about 10 years old, my sisters had some troll dolls, that were naked. I started designing and hand sewing clothes for them. Soon after that, I started using my moms treadle machine to sew doll clothes and a quilt top. I also started hand embroiderying pillowcase and dresser scarves about the same time.

  • Barbara

    My mom started teaching me to sew at the age of 5, I’m 71 now, on her Singer treadle machine. It has been so many years ago I can’t remember what I made. In school I took 7th and 8th grade sewing and then the first two years of high school I took sewing. My Jr. and Sr. years of school I was the sewing teachers aid and helped teach first and second year sewing. I have taught my two sons how to sew and all my grand daughters to sew. I still do a lot of sewing for my 13 great grand children.

  • Doris

    Did the traditional required home ec class with sewing but I was never going to sew. Years later, I agreed to take a stretch and sew class with a friend. Just so she would not have to go alone. It was an 8 or twelve week class with a garment required each week. By the end of the class, I was hooked. I have gone from tee shirts and turtlenecks to garments to quilting to embroidery. It a creative journey, that I never want to stop.

  • Kathleen A Kinsley

    My precious Aunt Marie taught me how to sew. She was a seamstress in Europe and perfection was her goal. My FIRST project with her was a red wool blazer. She had me rip out any seam that had a stitch that off by the least amount. I remember thinking I would never complete the blazer. When it was done, I cringed every time I put it on just thinking of the hours it took to make. When I wore it, I felt so proud. Love her and miss her!

  • Agnes B. Bullock

    I took sewing in home ec when I was in 7th grade but was too much of a tomboy to enjoy it. When I left the Army back in 1988, as a dependent wife i was bored and became friends with another woman who sewed all the time. My then husband bought me a Singer for 125.00- it was metal and only did a straight stitch and a zig zag, but I was afraid to get a more expensive model if I ended up hating sewing. I quickly came to love sewing and wore that machine out in five years- it went in every year to be serviced and I kept wearing out the motor. My parents bought me a replacement Singer for Christmas in 1992- they were absolutely shocked that not only could I sew but I had a sewing machine and was good at it- I did not sew clothing but concentrated on craft and home decor items. Fast forward to 2011- my husband, who is an angel, had been laid off and I had started quilting again. When my 1992 Singer broke down, we took it in to be serviced, and I walked out with a Janome 3160QDC, and this was on his birthday! Then in february 2012, while I was at a quilting class, the embroidery machines were on sale. Geoff had wanted me to get one a month earlier, to my absolute shock, and yes, I went home with a Baby Lock Ellure Plus! I love my machines and now I have a busines license with Geoff! Am loving my quilting and machine embroidery- keeps me sane!

  • Casie Williams

    I tried sewing in Home Ec when I was in High School and it was a disaster! I bought a sewing machine and taught myself to sew out of books from the library when I was a newly wed and on a very tight budget.

  • Mary

    I started out on a treadmill and then mom traded it in for an electric one in a blonde sewing table, I regret it was given to a family member(quite a few years ago) who didn’t sew and don’t know where it is today. I was around 10 or 11.

  • Gail Laub

    I don’t know why, since I knew no one who sewed, but I started hand-making clothes for my dolls when I was a child. Every scrap of material I could find went into an outfit. I started sewing for myself in college because I was very small and all my clothes had to be altered, so I taught myself to use the machines in the dorm basement. One frustrating day I decided that it must be easier to start from scratch than trying to fit altered pieces back into the garment. I’ve been sewing for 50 plus years now! I bought my first embroidery machine in 1999 and took off in a new direction. Sewing meets my need to be creative…..there’s always something new to learn!

  • Carolyn morgan

    I come from a family of sewers, my mom, my grandmother & my aunt. I received a little battery operated sewing machine for my 5th birthday. I made doll clothes that I design myself. Then when I joined 4-H, my leader was a seamstress and our group chose clothing construction for our project. I was in heaven! I continued to sew for myself, bridesmaids dresses for my cousin’s wedding, dresses for my daughters, prom dresses, Halloween costumes and clothes for my grandchildren. Just recently started making square dance dresses for a friend. I love adding machine embroidery to my sewing. Sewing is my therapy. It makes my heart proud to see my daughters carry on the tradition that was passed down to me as they share it with their children, boys included!

  • Terrie Underwood

    I decided I wanted to learn to sew. I’m short, and I thought it would be nice to be able to make my clothes for my size. My mother helped me find a pattern for a shorts and top. I picked out brushed denim. She promptly told me it would be a perfect fabric, as I could rip out my mistakes easily. After that she showed me how to thread her ancient Singer machine, and told me good luck!

  • Nancy Drake

    I started with hand embroidery when I was 8. My mom taught me that. (I still have that little piece) Then on to the treadle machine and repairing my dad’s work clothes. First year in 4-H (age 10 then) I made a skirt on that treadle and it was so nice my mom talked my dad into an electric machine (still have that too!). I have never not sewn since then. Even hand sewed some tops to wear under saris when I was in India on a 4-H exchange. Love to make things for myself (they fit) and others and charity on my sewing and embroidery machines and and serger. Enjoyed this article!!

  • Gail Beam

    My grandmother started me sewing using her treadle sewing machine. About 8 years ago I got on Ebay and my husband bought me 3 treadles. I had always wanted one, and now I have 3 different ones.

  • Carolyn H

    I learned a little sewing in 8th grade in Home Ec class. Never did any more sewing until I was pregnant with my second child. My budget was very limited & maternity clothes were pricy. I decided I was going to make them Bought a used machine for $15, made most of my maternity clothes and have been sewing ever since. That was over 50 yrs. ago.

  • Lynn

    4-H! We started with placemats and aprons.

  • Linda Seemann-Korte

    I remember my grandmother sitting with me at her treadle machine coaching me on how to keep it going a steady pace to get even stitches. When she thought I had it, she would walk away and come back when she heard a sound she didn’t like. My mother also taught me how to use her electric Singer sewing machine. For many years, she would pin sleeves in for me until one day, my aunt taught me how to use a basting stitch and a lot less pins. I was off to the races! I sewed most of the clothes I wore in high school and to work. Since I no longer have the need for new clothes for work, I am more into quilting and machine embroidery.

    • Carol Jenks

      I remember as a child playing on the treadle of my Grandmother’s sewing machine. I would love to have that machine today. I always thought when I was a little girl that I would love to sew.

  • Carol Jenks

    I took Home Economics in High School. This is where I learned to sew. Then for many years, I didn’t have a sewing machine. When I moved to Idaho 21 years ago, I made friends with my BFF and she was into quilting. She loves it so much, but I don’t like to quilt. So I started going over to her house every Friday night to sew and she quilts. I got back into sewing and love it. I bought an embroidery machine, then another and now am up to 3 embroidery machines. I sew every day. My husband just got me a 14 x 60 mobile home to have as my sewing studio. It was either than or he was going to have to move out!!! LOL

  • idalia

    My mother used to get the old Sears catalogs and we look at all the pictures… then she asked me what dress I wanted for Sunday, after deciding on a style she will go the market to buy fabric and also to buy a newspaper to use it to cut the pattern, she made the pattern by looking at the picture on the Sears catalog. After she got the pattern ready, she cut the fabric and guided me to make sure that I sew it myself.I learned so much from her.She inspired me and I miss her so much.

  • Shirley Clark

    As a child, my mama taught my brother and me to hand sew and hand embroider. I hate to say it, but he did the embroidery way better than I did.
    She taught me to hand sew doll clothes, and then she taught me to piece quilt blocks. We were slightly poor so she would sell the quilt tops to get a little extra money.
    I can remember many nights making scrap quilt blocks sort of like crazy quilts sewing the pieces onto a square of newspaper, and then cutting them to fit. I thought it was a lot of fun.

  • Beth R

    My Mom taught me to sew. Sometimes she was making clothes for herself or for me, and sometimes we were making crafts such as pillows or stuffed animals. She bought an embroidery machine about 20 years ago, and after seeing how much fun she had with it, I bought one when I could (and after there had been many innovations to the machines) – so now we can enjoy the hobby together when time allows!

  • Shirl R

    I learned to sew in a Home Ec class I took as a freshman in high school. The machines were Singer treadles, and we learned to make handmade buttonholes, as there were no buttonhole attachments. Our project for the class was a smock, of all things! To this day I don’t know whatever happened to that smock. We all wondered why the teacher picked this particular thing for a project as it was of no use to any of us.

  • Laurie

    My sewing started when I was in 5th grade. My teacher gave us an assignment. We had to do a project about the Pilgrims. I was so Excited! When I got home I told my mother about the project and I told her I wanted to make a Pilgrim dress for my 3′ doll! That was my first sewing project. We went to the fabric dept. In our local department store. Bought the material, thread and a girls size 3 pattern. After weeks of cutting and learning to use my mother’s Singer feather weight sewing machine. The dress was done. My father and I took the doll to school! Well, my teacher couldn’t be happier! She thought it was wonderfull. Infact long after I left grade school my dad had to take my doll to school to be on display. I still have the doll and the dress. Every Thanksgiving I still dress her up as a Pilgrim! That was how I got hooked by the sewing bug! Do I darn say that was in the late 50’s! Oh, my mother and I got A on the project. Thanks for the walk down memory lane!

  • Rhonda

    I remember watching my grandmother sew on a treadle. I would stand behind her on the same chair she was sitting on and lean over her shoulder and watch with fascination. She would laugh and tell me stories as she treadled away. I watched the needle go up and down and thought grandmother was magical. She was. She created masterpieces. I wanted so much to be able to do as she was doing.

  • Maga

    What fun to read how others have got into sewing. Lots of mothers/grandmothers being involved. For me too; my mother taught me to use her electric sewing machine when I was 8. I have loved sewing ever since but hated sewing at school where we had to do everything by hand and use hand-cranked machines. My work was the one that got “exhibited” as the worse ever by the teacher. If it had not been for my mother I would not be sewing today! My grandmother taught me hand embroidery – these days I do enjoy having a cross stitch project to take around with me but my main embroidery time is spent on machine embroidery.

  • Deborah Snyder

    My mother sewed for my childhood, but tried to teach me and I just wasn’t interested at that time. My husband bought me a sewing machine when I was pregnant with my first child so I could sew maternity clothes, because we could not afford them. I failed at that, too difficult. What got me sewing was when my second child was born after a boy. I had to sew appliques and ribbons and lace on boy clothes, but then she got a cabbage patch doll and wanted all the clothing for it. I could sew them for a few cents a piece. After that, I was hooked for life.

  • Gaila C

    I had to sew in Home Economics in 8th grade. I can say I really didn’t like it. My grandmother “Nanny” helped me through it. Then when my first baby was coming I pulled out my sewing machine and made a few baby diaper tops. The machine then went back into hiding until about 3 years ago and the quilting bug hit me. And then my daughter started embroidering and so I had to have an Embroidery machine. I’m totally into both right now and loving it. It just took a few years.

  • Lindae

    My Mother taught me how to sew when all I could do was string buttons

  • Debbie Reaves

    I took home-ec in the 7th or 8th grade. My biscuits were terrible, but my wrap-a-round skirt turned out great.
    I’ve been sewing ever since.

  • Terri

    My Aunt Pearl taught myself and my sister to sew when we were 12 and 14 years old. She was a darling person, but a perfectionist. We did A LOT of reverse sewing. It is probably amazing that I still love to sew! Precision in sewing was important then and still is 45 years later. I was so well along in sewing skills that I was arrogant enough to suggest to my junior high home-ec teacher a better way to install a zipper. Ah, the confidence of youth!!!

  • Joan D

    I started sewing with my Great Grandmother on a Singer Treadle Machine. I was hooked. Now at age 62 I am still enjoying sewing and embroidering. I love creating my projects and working with the various fabrics and even recycling and upcycling.

  • Carol

    Started sewing with my sister when we were in 4-H. I was too young, but my mom persuaded them to let me attend. Continued sewing doll clothes and sewing clothing. My mother made my wedding dress which I cut up to make a baptism dress for my first grandaughter in later years. My love now is quilting and I share this with my sister. Being a widow for almost 8 years my love of sewing and being able to donate to children’s hospitals and our deserving Veteran’s now fills my time and gives me time to enjoy a good laugh with my sister either reminiscing, shopping, sewing/embroidery or completing the quilting process on her longarm!

  • Carol Kapsalis

    My mother was a great seamstress, but I was always bored with sewing until I attended a Stitching Sisters event in September. I was so interested in the embroidery that I bought a machine. Since then I have taken classes in embroidery, heirloom, and quilting. I am so obsessed with learning to sew, embroider and quilt with my machine that I take about 2 to 3 classes a week. I think I have 10 projects in the works right now. Why didnt I learn to sew a long time ago?

  • Donna G.

    I learned from my mom, and she’s still my sewing inspiration!

  • Judy G

    I was watching my mother as she made some item of clothing, a blouse as I recall. I was absolutely engrossed in the process of cutting the material, pinning it together and running it through the sewing machine and lo, a new blouse appeared. To me, it was magic! I wouldn’t quit pestering her until she let me try. She handed me some scraps from the project, a needle and thread and told me that if I really wanted to learn, this is where I had to start. So, I sat and made seams and seams and more seams until they were straight and even enough to satisfy her. By the time I was eight, I had moved up to her old electric Singer sewing machine in order to make clothes for my Barbie, which were new on the market at the time. I used that old Singer until I married and moved to my own home, preferring it over the fancy new machine my mother used that had drop in “cams” to create decorative stitches. My, how far we have come from those old Singers. My mother would be astonished if she were to see the internet-ready, computerized sewing/quilting/embroidery combo machine I use today!

  • Fonda

    My Mother made us some clothes. Growing up we did not have much money. But a girlfriend in High School made her own outfits during summer vacation. I was so impressed I wanted to do the same. And now fifty years later I am still sewing.I sew for my Grandkids and for charity. I believe it is good for the sole.I think it gives you a very peaceful feeling to know you have created something from a flat piece of fabric. It makes my heart smile…

  • Bonnie Gray

    I watched my mom and older sister sew , so then I wanted to do it also. I would make doll clothes out of their scraps. When I was in junior high a YWCA opened 20 minutes away and my mom enrolled me in a sewing class with a friend. Both of us are still sewing!!!!

  • Debbie

    Oh my. Eighth grade, Mrs. Behrens. She was truly scarey. That was when girls took home ec. We all had to make an A-line skirt and wear it in class. Just two weeks ago I was going through a scrap bag of fabric in my mom’s loft, and found a small scrap of that skirt. What a horrible pink!!!

  • Jan

    I joined my mom and grandmother doing hand embroidery at a young age. I was about 11-12 yrs old when I decided to try sewing on their old treadle machine – uneven tension and all. Wasn’t long before my mom bought a really, heavy duty electric sewing machine for me and I could sew MY OWN clothes! Self-taught, but it was FUN!!! – learning from my mistakes. After raising 3 kids on inexpensive machines – I’m retired now & advanced to a high end computerized embroidery machine. FUN every day!

  • Pam

    My father always liked to surprise one of his kids with an unexpected gift. One year it was me and he gave me a sewing machine. Unfortunately I never made it to those classes (mistake, but too young to drive) so my first dress was a big experiment. My parents raved about it, but it was never “just the right dress” to wear outside the house.

  • Missy K.

    I started sewing before I can remember. I used use those sewing cards as a kid. Does that count.

  • Lori Mehrer

    I was pretty much self motivated learning how to sew. My maternal grandmother crocheted, knitted and sewed beautiful items but I don’t remember her much. I started to make Barbie doll clothing because I only had 2 outfits for her. I was envious of other young girls who had much more. So I started going thru my mom’s bin of old clothes that were turned to rags and hand stitched my own doll clothes. Progressed to making campers out of boxes etc. It wasn’t until my senior year in high school that I took a class called Senior sewing that I learned to sew clothing for me. That started a life time of sewing and fabric collecting for me. When I went into the military at age 18, the first item I bought for myself at an exchange was a new sewing machine. I used it years later to make an entire wardrobe of Barbie clothing for my daughter and my niece. I even used left over fabric from when I made my wedding dress to make Barbie a wedding dress. I still have those patterns and hope to put them to use again.

  • Liz

    Seeing how much I enjoyed home ec in jr high school, my mom put me on a skinny clothing allowance but offered to buy all of the fabric, patterns and notions for anything I wanted to sew for myself. This truly got my sewing off the ground. I taught myself through many years of sewing fun!

  • Barbara

    I really can’t remember when I actually started sewing, but I know that my grandmother was the one who taught me. Her name, Mrs. Couture, says it all! I watched her exquisite hand sewing, beading and embroidery in wonder and copied whatever I could. Of course, only the grownups could use the machine so it wasn’t until Home Ec in ninth grade that I learned to use the machine — and I did my requisite ugly dress and jumper and gave it up for more feminist pursuits. The my mom got sick and gave me her machine. I got it repaired and fell in love with fabric! Fortunately, Mom recovered and took her machine back, but the damage was done. Thirty-five years and about six machines later, I honor generations of talented women by practicing the art and craft of sewing.

  • Rhonda Higgins

    I took one year sewing in High School. My teacher at the time
    told me I wouldn’t amount to much in the sewing world. I guess I showed her because I have been doing sewing and alterations for the past 20+ years. I am self taught from there. Began embroidering about 25 years ago on a commercial machine for a shop and have done some amazing (in my and my customers) work making rodeo queen wear with all the glitz. I couldn’t be happier.

  • Eileen Keane

    My mother used to make doll clothes for my Barbie, but I didn’t get the urge until I wanted to make something for my own daughter. The first thing I made for her was an outfit for her school picture. The bug bit, and I’ve been sewing every since, but not clothing; I make quilts.

  • Colleen Gnehm

    I owe my sewing ability to my mother. At a very young age I would sit at the sewing machine and sew around paper mazes until I was familiar with the sewing machine and how it would operate. Once she felt confident I was okay, I was given scraps of material for doll blankets and clothes. When I turned 8, the age for 4-H, my mother was the leader for my 4-H sewing club. As I grew older, I had sewing in school and was very involved with “Future Homemakers”. Sewing was a big part of my life, as store bought clothes were unheard of. Hats off to my mom. Miss her dearly.

  • Patty Schrock

    I learned to sew from my mother. I sewed in 4-h and then I had a great home ec teacher that taught me many lessons when I was in high school. The great thing now is that I have a 6 year old granddaughter who wants to learn to sew like Grandma Patty!

  • Linda Lee

    My mom and my Aunt Millie really got me sewing – more Aunt Millie. She never had children of her own – so she was sewwwwwww very good to my sister and me. She would let me borrow her sewing machine and sew what I call boat neck shirts (Really just two hankerchiefs from my uncle’s new stash) and skits with no zippers. And put cute accents on them. I was about 11, and it was sewwwww much fun. Then when I got to high school my first project in home ec was a mint green suit – nobody could believe that I could do it – but I did and it was fab-u-lous!!!! Oh what memories!!!
    Thank you for the subject of this week’s prize.

  • Kim

    My mother got me started sewing. She made a lot of our clothes. It also helped that her mother had a custom drapery business that my other grandmother worked at.

  • Mary Haggenmaker

    I got started with doll clothes. I was probably around 7 or 8. Long, long time ago. My mom would make me dresses from the chicken feed bags and I could use the scraps. I also remember getting a Christmas present that had a doll size dressmaker dummy and a lot of other things. Mom shoed me how to use the sewing machine and I was hooked.

  • Iole McGill

    I was in a children’s home for five years where my sewing aptitude was noticed, therefore I was placed in the sewing room where I was needed to patch clothing and make night gowns. I was nine at the time and learned to sew on a POWER machine. Needle went through my fingers a couple of times , but soon learned to be more attentive. I have absolutely loved sewing and machine embroidery all my life and now I enjoy my life on my wonderful embroidery machine.

    • Iole McGill

      I was in a children’s home for five years where my sewing aptitude was noticed, therefore I was placed in the sewing room where I was needed to patch clothing and make night gowns. I was nine years old at the time and learned to sew on a POWER machine Needle went through my fingers twice, but soon learned to be more attentive. I have absolutely loved sewing, that enabled me to make items for the needy. My hobby now is to continue learning and enjoy my wonderful machine embroidery.

  • Karen McDonner

    I was very young when I started sewing. Not only did my mother and grandmother sew, one of our neighbors sewed everything and I was totally intrigued by everything she made. From clothes to curtains. I was in elementary school and by the 8th grade I made all my clothes! Love sewing and embroidery!

  • Edna

    I remember watching my Grandmother do pulled thread hemstitching on a handkerchief while I sat at her feet teaching her simple words in English, I was about 3. Then I watched my Mother sewing panties for my sister and me on an old machine up until I was about 6. I hand embroidered pillowcases for everyone for years, but when it came time I needed to learn to actually sew, at the age of 12, there was no one to teach me. My mother cut a dress out for me, and pulled the machine out before she left to work, but she didn’t thread it or wind a bobbin for me. I had constructed the dress completely by the time she returned and my love of sewing was born that day.

  • Terry Senko

    In school! I’m old enough to have benefited from home ec classes in junior high and high school. My Mom helped a little, but honestly she was a kind of paranoid about letting me use her machine and it wasn’t a very pleasant experience sewing with her.

  • Carole D

    I learned to sew from my aunt while I was in Jr High school and made a lot of my clothes for church. My grandmother bought me a sewing machine from Sears Roebuck in exchange for doing some sewing for her and putting her hair up in curlers every week. I still make most of the shirts that Mother and I wear.

  • Audre Gaer

    My first sewing experience was at 4 or 5 years old sitting on the lap of the neighbor lady helping her guide the fabric as she worked the treadle of her machine. When I was a little older I spent many happy hours making doll clothes in the back room while my mother ran my parent’s business. When I was 11 I saw an add for a Singer for $25 and since I had saved enough from my allowance I begged my mother to take me downtown to buy it. It turns out that was the down payment but she never mentioned that until much later. She signed me up for lessons and I have been sewing ever since.

  • Paula Watson

    I learned to sew from my mom. When I was a little girl, I would stand next to her watching her sew. I was nine years old when she finally let me use her sewing machine. But did I sew on fabric, NO! She made me sew the lines of notebook paper so I would learn to sew a straight line. I practiced and practiced!! Finally, I graduated to fabric. I don’t think there was a scrap of fabric left in the house once I started. I made mostly doll clothes at first then moved into clothing. Throughout the years I have made curtains, draperies, pillows, cushions for our truck camper, many of my childrens’ clothes, my husband’s preaching shirts, and now I am busy monogramming and embroidering clothes for my four grandchildren! I love sewing – I guess you could say “it is in my blood!” I am a preschool teacher of special needs kids, and my husband used to say he could tell when I had a particularly stressful day because I would fill up my coffee mug and head straight to my machine. After an hour or so, I would come out of my sewing room with a smile on my face! Sewing is my favorite way to be creative. Thanks Mom for all the sewing tips you have given me over the years!!

  • Tondi Hall

    My mother sewed a little here and there as needed but when I went away to military school my great aunt lived there and she was a seamstress. My uncle was riddled with arthritis and she would sit by his bed and sew on her cathedral window quilt while she kept him company. That stuck with me and after I married and had children I began to piddle around with some simple things to teach myself to sew. I am a slow self teacher but now that I have my first grandchild and another due any day I love to quilt and embroider. We have recently begun using scraps of material and batting to piece together quick raggedy quilts for the homeless. I even got my hubby to make one all by himself! Quilting and embroidery are cheaper than therapy! 🙂

  • Cathie

    I started sewing for my Barbie doll too. I took sewing classes in high school. My mother did not sew. Now I just can’t imagine not sewing I love embroidery and attempting to learn to quilt.

  • Chris

    My mom taught me to sew through the 4H program. I remember so many sessions ended in drama and tears and I wonder how much of my projects she did for me. I still avoid making clothing. But I marvel at how relaxed making quilts, wall hangings, in the hoop projects, etc. makes me!

  • Marsha H

    My mom loves crafting from knitting to embroidery. Her love became my passion. In middle school my first sewing project was a nine-patch pillow. Now my own daughters love assisting me with my machine embroidery business. Couldn’t be more happier in spending time with my girls and mom when sewing especially making Halloween costumes or making gifts for their friends. 🙂

  • Nancy Weber

    I can thank an aunt for convincing me to ask for a sewing machine as a gift for graduating from 8th grade parochial school. I began learning to create in home economics class, but after that have been mostly self taught! As I got older I realized I needed hands on instruction as well as the companionship of others with like hobbies. And I am still learning!

  • Sherrie Lilly

    I learned to sew from my grandmother at age 8 on a treadle machine. She started me right off with a simple ALine dress. She said that if I learned to sew right, it would be a lifetime achievment. Bo was she right as I have been sewing ever since. First clothes now quilts. Just recently I had to clean out my mom and dads house and found 3 of the last quilts that she made. I was excited and am keeping 2 of them for myself and giving one to my son.

  • Tina

    I can thank my grandmother for sparking my interest in sewing. She would just get out some fabric and start cutting it out and next thing, she had a shirt or a skirt made. NO PATTERN. Then when i was in high school, i took home economics. Have loved sewing ever since.

  • kbo

    It was the Singer treadle machine at my Grandmother’s home that I never was allowed to touch because “I would hurt my fingers”(so I was told)….then I inherited it. My mother let me use her electronic Singer at an early age.

  • Paule-Marie

    My grandmother (Noni) taught me to sew. I used to get under the cover she had on her treadle (which had been my great grandmother’s machine) and play with the treadle – tangling up the thread on it. She also taught me to embroider, crochet, basic knitting and cooking.

  • Dot

    I think I was born sewing:). My mom made everything I wore. I didn’t know other people bought clothes My mom had a 1947 Singer. That was the sewing machine she took to college. She was a home ec major. She taught for a couple of years and then was a county agent a couple of years until she met and married my dad. Then every thing was family and farm. I know I was sewing before I was five. I how have 3 daughters of my own, 7 grands too! My granddaughters love for me too sew for them. I love it when they proudly say “my GG made this for me”. I now have little Singer in my sewing room that I enjoy quilting on along with 5 other machines. I enjoy embroidery a lot too. I also enjoy creating banners for my church. LOVE LOVE LOVE to sew. I no longer have ny mom but she shared all her love for family,God, and yes,sewing with me. Thanks mom!

  • Charlotte Halbgewachs

    My grandmother and aunt were wonderful seamstresses. I spent hours watching my grandmother make beautiful hand stitched button holes. Since my mother did not sew much she arranged for me to spend one day a week with many neighbor girls at the home of a wonderful seamstress who let us bring our sewing machines and supplies making anything we so dreamed to stitch up. After becoming fairly comfortable with my mom’s little elna sewing machine….I spent a week with my aunt and stitched my first corduroy three piece suit on my grandmother’s treadle singer sewing machine…that machine sits in my home today displayed along with my grandmother’s one hundred year old wedding dress. Grandma designed and stitched her beautiful wedding dress….I stitched many of my children’s clothes during their childhood….Now I spend time creating baby items, both stitched and embroidered for friends….”My Fair Lady” is one of my favorite sites……

  • gma pamela

    I learned in Girl Scouts, and my Mom was the leader. She taught me on her treadle and even when she got an electric machine I used the treadle. Even made my Sr. Prom dress on it! She wouldn’t let me take Home Ec–said she could do it better, and of course she was right! She never had a proper sewing room and now when I sit in mine, with the beautiful cabinet I bought with my inheritance; I look up and say, “Wish you were here to sew with me, Mama.”

  • Susan Terrell

    When I was around 6 or 7 my grandmother and I would go to yard sales and find old baby dolls, many were dirty with ratty hair and naked. We would take them home and wash them up, do their hair and make them clothes. She would draw out the pattern on newspaper and let me cut the fabric at first, then later she started teaching me how to sew the doll clothes. We had so many recycled dolls that we started donating them to a local charity. When she knew I was getting comfortable working with the sewing machine she taught me how to applique and piece together sunbonnet quilts. We made one for each of our family members. My grandmother taught me so much about sewing before her arthritis became so bad she could not sew any longer.

  • JudiC

    My Mom taught me and my close friends how to sew. She made clothes, costumes, square dance skirts & doll clothes for my sister & I when we were young. We also had sewing class in school (way back then). I was so proud because I already knew how to sew & could help my classmates who were clueless ✂️

  • Christine Gibbons

    My Mother started teaching me to hand sew at the age of 6. Shortly after I began using her Singer 401G and haven’t stopped. I sewed all thru school, and while I worked. When I married I sewed for all 3 of my children and went on to sew the girls wedding dresses as well as those of the wedding party. I now have 6 grandchildren and sew for them as well. A day without a needle and thread in my hand is not complete. I love the whole process from picking out the pattern, the fabric, cutting to sewing the article together.

  • Shauna Lee

    I first learned how to sew in the early 60’s in the sixth grade. I was encouraged to join our local 4H group and that is where the fun began. My first project was a gathered skirt and I sewed it on my mother’s pedal treadle singer sewing machine. It looked awful and I had to unpick the gathers because they were unsightly and crooked. It left big needle holes in the fabric because I don’t think I used very expensive fabric back then. My mother came to the rescue and sewed the gathers for me. I had to enter it in the local county Fair and I got a blue ribbon on it! I gave the ribbon to my mother because she very much deserved it. I have since been able to sew on my own. I made my own wedding dress and now my husband gave me an embroidery machine and I’m itching to get started in embroidery!

  • Lynne Charlton

    I learnt to sew when I was 19 and pregnant with my first daughter. We had no money to buy maternity clothes but someone had given me a little old sewing machine. I bought a simple pattern, some fabric and taught myself to sew. My sewingg wasn’t great and my dresses barely lasted the pregnancy before falling apart. I then started on baby clothes, bassinette sheets, etc. They too barely lasted until the baby out grew them but over the years I got better and better until I eventually sewed for myself, husband and both daughters. Now that I have retired from the Air Force I have taken up sewing again and branched out into quilting, home dec, heirloom and any sort of sewing that takes my fancy.

  • Cathy

    I started by hand stitching doll clothes when I was 6. I used to watch my next door neighbor sew and when I was 11 years old she offered to let me try. I loved it and went home with spirals and lines to practice on with my treadle Singer. By 13 I was making my clothes as well as my mother’s and at 17 I stayed up all night to make my brother a woolen blazer. I started after he went to bed and surprised him in the morning. He needed it for school the next day and we were too poor to buy it. (There is something to be said for keeping a stash on hand!) By then I had also upholstered our living room. At 21 years old I was a home economics teacher. All that began with a generous neighbor who took an interest in an 11 year old with a lot of curiosity.

  • Patricia Lanter

    I started sewing when I was a young age of 50. I was always making things prior, like crochet, knitting, Macrame. Tatting, Etc but never sewing. I started saying that is one thing I wish I knew how to do. My husband bought me a singer machine for Christmas 2002. I was excited and wished I knew what to due next. I started buying things thread and some fabric. Then when in Joann,s there was a Husqvarna Viking inside and there was a lady promoting a sewing learning class. I told her what I had and she said to bring it and she would help me to learn to use my machine. The first learning class I learned about measuring my body and how to understand a pattern. Then we bought fabric to make a pair of pants and the pattern to make them. After 3 classes I made my first pair and was so excited. I started noticing what the embroidery machines could do and wanted to learn how to use embroidery on things I made. So I bought my first Embroidery machine. After many classes, and many upgrades, I can say it is my favorite things to do. I am still learning but with all the latest ITH projects I have given many gifts that are treasured by others. I have decided that this is the year I am making things for the home and me. This would be a great prize for me to accomplish what I am setting out to do this year.

  • Denice Weys

    My Mother and Grandmother were great sewers and I learned from them at a very young age. As we were quite poor I learned to sew from necessity, remaking second hand cloths into more fashionable and better fitting things. I started sewing doll clothes by hand the classic way most kids learned, then graduated to the sewing machine at age 7. I allways have enjoyed the creativity and satisfaction I get from sewing.

  • Beverly Adams-Gordon

    My Grandmother was my first sewing teacher. She got me started with her scrap pile and button collection. She taught me to embroider (by hand), crochet, knitting, and sewing. I was a girl scout from age 5 through Sr. Scout and always found craft and sewing projects my favorite, of all the many badges I earned the minimum were in cooking areas as my husband can now attest. At Jefferson High School, (Lakewood, CO) I was fortunate to take a variety of sewing from novelty, machine repair, tailoring, and lingerie sewing. My high school career goal was to be a costume designer, which never happened professionally but I have had the opportunity to design costumes for civic theatre groups and my daughter who is currently a student in Music and theatre. I find the internet a big boost to my creativity and my youngest daughter and my grandkids are a huge source of inspiration. I taught all three of my daughters to sew, but only my middle one still sews. Out of 5 grandkids, only two have so far have shown interest in sewing. My oldest grandchild, a boy, loved to sew with me until he was 15 or so. I’ve done projects with them all through the years. I am currently enjoying teaching my 7 year old grand daughter sewing during her summer visits. My middle daughter, the seven year old and I are sewing buddies! My grandmother passed away at 90 a number of years ago, but she is my inspiration for patient teaching and giving sewn gifts to all my loved ones.

  • Karen

    My Aunt taught me and encouraged me along the way. After seeing a serger for the first time she bought one and showed up here with it and it never left.

  • Berenice

    My grandmother taught me when I was eight years old. Home Ec in 8th grade was soooo boring because I could sew a lined fitted jacket by then, but still needed to make a tee shirt and wrap-around skirt. My grandmother insisted on perfection and we entered the County Fair every year in sewing and baking. I made almost all my clothes in high school and college. I still sew, making formals for my daughters’ service organization. I love embroidering, machine and hand, it is often the final touch to many projects.

  • Joan

    How many of you remember sleeping under “tacked” quilts? My first experience with sewing was tacking a quilt square that my grandmother marked with pins. Even the boys were enlisted to help. Next I ironed all the tiny bits of fabric on freezer paper. This is before I knew what paper-piecing meant. Then I learned to sew on the treadle machine. I watched as my grandmother quilted. She was so careful to make each line of stitching uniform and even. From helping her sort all the material people from church donated, I learned to love fabrics. I was raised on a farm and my grandfather was instructed what bag to buy the flour, sugar, etc. so my grandmother could have matching material. My mother made shirts for me. Now with grands of my own, I would love to give one of them the rich legacy I was given. So far, I have only two granddaughters, but distance makes this hard. I really envy those of you with grands near.

  • Colleen

    My mother taught me to sew. I remember she would spread out a newspaper over the floor and cut out a pattern for whatever we wanted. She did not finish high school, but later received her ged and then went to college. I remember just being so facinated that this newspaper that was just a flat square could become a pattern and then that pattern used to make clothes. I found a picture of the wedding dress I wanted and we could not afford! but she cut out the newspaper and made that dress for me! I just lost her on 1-2-14 so these are fond memories!! I never got the courage to try the pattern cut from newspaper! I guess I did not inherit that talen!! But I did inherit the love of sewing and creating garments and things from fabric. Mom and I loved to create clothes for my girls and then we both bought embroidery machines and loved creating on them. I did learn to use the differnt pattern peices from all types of patterns to create what I wanted. Thanks Mom and I will always remember the joy and amazement of watching you create something from nothing!!

  • Susie

    My grandmother taught me to sew on her Singer treadle machine. I just thought it was awesome that you could take a piece of fabric, cut it out, sew it on her “magic machine” (because as a child I just could not figure out how it worked), and have something that was useful and pretty. I remember thinking that if you can sew you can have clothes the color you like and that really made me very happy 🙂

  • Barb

    My dad taught me to sew, picking out fabric, patterns, cutting fabric, color threads to match fabric, adjusting the pattern to fit. the only problem we had was the placement of the buttons and zippers (he or she side) I was 10, I am in my 70’s and I still love sewing and my new embroidery machine

  • Irene Forkner

    My mother, Grandmother, and Great Grandmother all had a hand in teaching me to sew. My GreatGrandma taught me to hand crochet. My mother and Grandma taught me how to hand embroider. All of this around the age of 6 or 7. They also made a lot of quilts, so at age 9 I was sewing quilt pieces together in strip sewing, on Grandma’s treadle machine. Then when they started doing the hand quilting or tying, I was involved in that also. Hand tying wasn’t much fun. It was my job to sit under the quilt or comforter and poke the needle back up for them to finish tying off and moving to the next block. As I got older and more accomplished in my stitches, I was allowed to do the hand quilting. That was more fun. Then I took Home Ec in school. My first project was an apron, then an Aline dress. After I got married and started having kids, the projects changed.I sewed my boys pants, coats, shirts, girls dresses. Along the way somewhere I also learned to knit. Now I’m into machine embroidery, and machine quilting.

  • Linda Murray

    My Grandma made all my clothes on her treadle sewing machine, and promised when I could reach the treadle she would teach me to sew. But she passed away before that could happen and my Aunt came and took her machine. (she had been living with us. I was so angry at my grandma for “leaving me” that I refused to even take Home Ec. I would have learned to sew and it wouldn’t have been Grandma teaching me. When I was done being angry, there were times when I was having really bad days, I could feel her presence. One of those times I felt like she really wanted me to learn to sew. So I got my moms really old electric machine (that she never used), got a pattern for a toddler outfit and made it. It didn’t turn out too bad for a first attempt so I took a class in making mens shirts and it went on from there. There are still times when I am sewing that I feel her there with me, guiding me.

    • Helen Walsh

      So sweet. My mother was a wonderfully talented sewer, knitter, and painter. She was a tough act to follow. She made the most beautiful clothing with a very basic sewing machine. So many times while I am sitting at my beautiful, expensive machines I stop and think how much she would love my sewing room and how much she deserved to have them. I know she is smiling up there when I have those moments. I have all her supplies now and I know that would make her happy.

  • Wanda leffingwell

    I got started Sewing in my First year of High School, I loved it so much ,I didn’t have money for a Sewing machine so I got a pattern and material and made the dress hand sewing it I did a really good job. When I had my first baby ,I made Diaper Shirts by hand sewing also! It was years later before I could afford a sewing Machine! Then I started making my children Machine sewed clothes!

    • Helen Walsh

      all I can say is WOW!

  • Linda Cooper

    I started at age 3 by my grandmother. There is a picture of me sitting in my child size rocker making large red stitches on the front of my overalls. I still have the chair & overalls. Then when I turned 8 it was involvement in our local 4-H group.

  • Pat

    When I was a 12 year old tomboy, Dad thought I should be learning some “girl” things and enrolled me in a class at the Singer shop. I HATED that class. Made a dress, but didn’t touch a machine until my own girls were born. Since I couldn’t afford the kind of clothes I wanted for them I made them, at first by taking apart the play clothes they had worn out and using them for patterns. I fell in love with sewing, made all their school clothes, most of mine, and even a few shirts for my husband. I sewed until my girls were married – made 1 wedding dress and all the bridesmaid dresses, then didn’t sew for a long time. But now I’m back in – sewing machine, serger, and 2 embroidery machines. Also a stash which I won’t use up until I’m 500 years old!

  • Kathy

    My mother taught me how to sew. She would make all of our clothes and one day was teaching me how to make a dress. of course I made a mistake so she took the seam ripper to undo what I had done and the seam ripper slipped and made a large rip in the fabric. I didn’t want to finish the project or even to continue to learn, but my Mom encouraged am and now she says I sew better then her.

  • Carolyn Finlayson

    My mother made all of our clothes but would not let me touch the sewing machine. I took Home Ec in 7th grade and did not sew again until I was married, 21 years old and expecting my first child. I bought a Sears and Roebuck sewing machine and started sewing for my baby. I did not realize at the time that I had a God given talent. It came easy to me, I read the little Simplicity handouts they had at the fabric store and still have all the ones I saved showing how to put in zippers, etc. I have taken many classes and now am so thankful that sewing is so eacy for me. There is nothing I have not made from tailored suits, quilts, crafts, etc. I have to sew some almost every day. 68 and sewing strong

    • Helen Walsh

      This sounds all too familiar to me. My mother didn’t let me use her machine either, but I still have the little sewing box she gave me when I was 7. By the way, I’m 68 also. My grandmother was a seamstress also. Have a photo of her on her wedding day and my grandfather is wearing the suit she made for him. Learned most of my sewing from Home Ec too. Shame this has been discontinued in schools. I am not as gifted as you, but I’m working on it. Have really returned to sewing in the last 5 years and loving it more and more. Everyone needs a passion in retirement years.

  • Ann Barton

    My mother started me sewing on her “electrified” Singer making doll clothes when I was 6. When I was in the 5 grade I dressed a plastic doll with a pilgrim dress and hat. The teacher called my mom thinking I had “snuck” out a doll and brought to school. I did pick some hard projects as a Freshman, matching plaid on a pleated skirt dress wiith a front placket. I had no idea it was hard until the teacher made a fuss about it. My mother just said if you pick the pattern and fabric you cannot give up. Money was tight, so throwing it out and starting again. Interesting, since even today I will try to always make lemonade out of my lemons no matter what embroidery/sewing/ceramic/craft project I undertake. Thanks Mom

  • Cy S

    I remember sitting at my Grandmother’s feet as she sewed on her treadle machine, then when she was finished she would disconnect the belt from the machine and let me “treadle” as much as I wanted. I remember thinking that one day I would have a machine like that and make my own clothes. Well, my true sewing lessons started with a conversation between my mother, who worked full time and the County Home Extension Agent who taught the girls in 4-H sewing. My Mom stated that just because I (her daughter) could not attend the 4-H classed was no reason that she, the Extension Agent shouldn’t teach me to sew also. After all the taxes paid by my parents paid HER salary! Thus started my weekly trips to the County Courthouse and up 3 flights of stairs, carrying the nice little white Singer Featherweight, to the County Extension Agents office for sewing lessons. I made a lovely little dropped waist, Green and Blue Dotted Swiss dress, with set in sleeves and zipper. I loved that dress and wore it proudly until I grew out of it. That little dress started my sewing journey which kept me fashionably clothed all through Jr. High, High School, College and beyond. Quilting and Machine embroidery are my focus now. Perhaps one day I will have the joy of sewing for grandchildren. Oh, I still have that little white Singer Featherwight!