Monday, September 28, 2015

My Sewing Journey

Once upon a time, I was a little girl who was highly intrigued by my grandmother's sewing. I begged to have an embroidery project like hers. She taught me a bit of embroidery and crochet, even the crocheting of beads into necklaces! Soon that grew into needlepoint, crewel and the sewing of modern garments. Eventually cross stitch was added to the repertoire. Then one summer in high school, my mom enrolled me in a summer phase homemaking class because she knew she needed to keep me busy! In the three week class I expanded  my skills in embroidery and crochet. I also learned how to hand quilt!

I sewed my own wardrobe. I got married. I decorated our little apartment with cross stitches and crewels. I had babies and cross stitched a blanket and several pictuers for their room. I sewed dresses for my daughter. I sewed quilts for the new bed when they graduated from the crib.

Then we started homeschooling which led to costuming. What a fun way to teach history I thought. It was the only way to get my kids to practice their speaking skills, however they'd only dress up if I'd dress up! I was just waiting to be asked! =)

Then we moved to Virginia and after about the millionth happy trip to Colonial Williamsburg in 2 months, my kids begged me to sew historically accurate clothing for them and me so we could pretend to be a colonial family. Oh what fun we had. I confess I was quite intense in figuring out a new way of stitching and putting pieces of fabric together. After all, kids are only kids once and college was around the corner. Time was of the essence. Carpe Diem.

While learning historical sewing for the colonial era I started learning historical sewing for the other eras as well for our history presentations. For the Colonial Era I strove to be as accurate as possible since we were at a living history museum. For the history presentations I sewed as accurately as I could, given the time limitations and budgetary factors. As a result I sewed a huge wardrobe for us to wear for many an era. We had fun!

Then we had our final history presentation, 1950's, where we all choked up over the dinner table, knowing it was our last one. As excited as we all were about my kids' futures at college, we new we had come to an end of an era.

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Life has been surprisingly busy with the kids away at college. I'm still sewing historically, though not with the same intensity. Now I have time to slow down and work on precision...as in broderie anglaise. I never had time for this while homeschooling!

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I also continue to enjoy  my other bits if needlework. I have these lovely historic pin balls and pincushions that are kits that I mostly purchased at Colonial Williamsburg. I've already started the strawberry one with Queen's Stitch!

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Last year was simply too lonely so I have recently joined a quilt guild! Oh my goodness! These are the greatest bunch of ladies ever! A few years ago I was invited to an 18th Century Sewing Bee in my part of Virginia, but that sort of fell through. The contact info between us got lost. =( Oh well. Anyway I'm in a quilt guild now and I'm researching historic quilts while sewing contemporary quilts...and refining that muscle memory from all the hand quilting I do that I can carry over into my historic sewing! I'm currently handsewing a Hawaiian Quilt!

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My daughter and I need new clothes, but my daughter needs them more, so I've been sewing new blouses for her! I've mainly been using fabric from the stash to make my closet easier to fill with more fabric access. The new blouse she is wearing today already received two huge compliments with hints at wanting their own! I haven't posted any of the blouses yet because I've had serious laptop issues, but I hope all is well now so I can focus more on sewing and blogging! Lots of sneakpeaks are on my facebook page, Teacups Among the Fabric

By the way, I know it might seem as though I fell off the face of the earth when I deleted my Teacups Among the Fabric blog, but maintaining two blogs was blowing too many of my brain cells. It's taken a long time but I nearly have everything caught up over here and have reinstituted the name of my old fabric blog on my facebook page so I can share more about my historical sewing. Sometimes I lapse into sharing quilting and modern sewing because that is sometimes my currently active project and I've been going back and forth on my theme.  However by finally getting my poor laptop reorganized (after double, triple and quadruple duplicates in my files, photos and bookmarks, much of which was my historic sewing research) I feel as though I'm breathing again! =)

Oh! I also sewed 1950's outfits for my daughter and me for a Sock Hop in August, that was sadly canceled. It was supposed to be rescheduled for this month but we are running out of September. Oh well.  Sneak peaks of that are also on my facebook page. I'm still catching up on blog posts from my busy summer! Lots of history and gardening and sewing and of course...historical sewing!

Thus I have reformatted my blog to show that I'm indeed the seamstress of many historical items. I decided to do this at the last minute last night when a quick glance at google analytics showed me that 98% of my readers read about my historical sewing. I plan to redo some of the posts, because in a recent computer reorganization, I have found all my old bits of information about some of my work.  Hidden photographs have been discovered as well!

I'm also keeping the homeschool stuff because this is how I started my blog, how my readers first came to me and was an integral part of my life, that opened the doors to my historic sewing. However the labels are more minimal to make  room for more sewing labels.

I don't have a lot of tutorials because I am still in the learning phase. Also all of the classes I took through Colonial Williamsburg and Burnley and Trowbridge are copyrighted. So no tutorials there. However I CAN say that if you can budget for sewing classes through them, it would be worth  EVERY SINGLE PENNY ! I however, am a bit of a dunce and have asked some super dumb questions (no wonder they give me such odd looks). I am slow. But  my how much I have learned overall. I think I'm a bit of a slow learner when it comes to historical sewing, but it's now in my blood and I can't bear to end the journey. So your best resource is not me, but the Colonial Williamsburg tailors and milliners and mantua makers!

To  that end, there will be mistakes found in some of my entries. Some of that is merely  my sewing journey. As I progressed, I learned more and I changed my wording to reflect that. I think it's important to remember that we all start at the beginning...and no one knows precisely how anything was done in the past. Therefore, we journey along and learn as we go, ever striving to improve a bit here or there.

Did you know that I'm a moderator for The Dreamstress at The Historical Sew Fortnightly/Monthly? That is our mission there as well. We seek to pick up our needle, thread and fabric and journey into a grand adventure to discover how garments were sewn in the days of yore. It's a process. Not an end product. We are learning. I like that!

I'm also going to try to re-add my Pinterest button to my sidebar. It will be links to my blog, quite frankly because after a bit of research I learned that legally the safest way to use Pinterest is to use our own photos. Therefore all the links to my blog are on the Pinterest page. I'm working very hard to keep my blog a product of my own work instead of other people's work. However I will gladly share links to great blogs and websites, museums, collections, etc as I possibly can!  I love to brag on people! It helps to make this world a happy place! =)

2 comments:

  1. What an absolutely fantastic post, sweet lady. I so adore hearing about the influences that shape a person's passions in life, whatever they may be. There's just something so inspiring and beautiful about knowing how someone reached the point in their hobby/job that they did. Thank you for penning this entry. It was a pleasure to read and such a lovely way to get to know you better.

    Big hugs,
    ♥ Jessica

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  2. I've been stupidly busy recently, and barely been online for ages, so I'm only just reading this now. Fascinating post, I always love to find out how other people got into sewing and how their focus has changed over time. Plus, I really enjoy the way you mix up your historical costuming, quilting and contemporary dressmaking posts; I never know what you will have been working on, and it's great!!

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