Friday, March 25, 2016

Week 12 of 2016 - Easter Sewing and How It All Began...

After reading how the Smith sister's sewing skills developed....via sister Jan wanting an expensive dress from Mitzelfeld's Department Store in Rochester, Michigan, I need to expand on that theme. Being the oldest, I was sewing first...even received a red cast iron sewing machine...child size...for Christmas one year.  Enjoying embroidery (initially taught by Grandma Smith), knitting (learned in fourth grade in Mrs. Liggett's room...another blog another time!) and anything artsy...I guess sewing was a natural progression when we saw Mom creating some of our clothes as we grew up.

In our Easter Finery, 1960, made by Mom with Love! 
I think Mom was motivated by lack of funds, and needing dresses for 3 of us..holidays were the primary focus. Mom and Dad purchased the new patent leather shoes, gloves, flower headbands and sometimes new crinolines, a slip that made your full skirt stand out. Watch out when you sit down, though...(see Jan in photo).  That left only the most expensive part...the dress...for Mom to make.  Sometimes, we had matching or coordinating coats.  When a new trend came along, like the "wrap around" skirt, we lucked out. We could have a new skirt or two pretty quickly and at a fraction of the cost of the store bought variety. It was very cool to have a new skirt within 24 hours and be a style setter at school!   Of course, with Dad working at dry goods stores, we had access to fabric, patterns and notions.  Dad's offer to keep us supplied with the "goods" was all that was needed to have his 3, and eventually 4 daughters making two sewing machines hum.

Janet Johnson, Carrie Semp, Bianca Banash, Janet Smith and Sue Smith
in the "homemade" Bridesmaid dresses...April 17, 1971
1967 J-Hop Romeo High School
 I never had a "store bought" prom or homecoming dress and we made my wedding gown and all the bridesmaids dresses, which were gifts from Mike and I for standing up in our wedding. My sewing talents were never used for a daughter...but my three sons all had handmade clothes at one time or another.  It didn't last very long, but the baby sleepers turned into coveralls, tee shirts, suits and pajamas....and suddenly, they were too "grown up" for anything Mom was making them.
I still love to sew, but as times change, there isn't much apparel sewing going on.  "Grandma Pam" gets a few opportunities to sew for the grandchildren and mend for the grownup kids, but most of the projects are now quilting or home decor items.  I will always be glad that I was able to learn to sew.  I was thrilled to receive my first sewing machine as a gift from Grandma Vanoff as a Christmas present in first Christmas as a Semp.  It is a Kenmore and I'm still using it today, and have no plans to ever replace it.  I have added a couple more...a Singer serger, a vintage Singer 1951 variety in a cabinet (perfect for in front of the window while working on quilting projects), another vintage Singer in a beautiful, dome shaped wooden carrying case, and a very special Singer Featherweight that works well for transporting to classes.  I hope I can pass the love for sewing on to someone in our family.  Until then, I just continue to enjoy the peace and tranquility of the "sport"and also the satisfaction of "making it myself."

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