Do You Remember What The First Thing You Ever Sewed?

marilyn_sueJanuary 29, 2010

I remember, I was 9 years old and was in my one and only year of 4-H. We had to make two dish towels, sew one by hand and one on the machine. Also had to sew a half apron on the machine. I still have mine and they must be 60 years or so ago. I still have them packed in my cedar chest. I used my Mother's treadle machine. I think I got a red ribbon on them. The dish towels were a pretty print if I recall with red on them and the apron was made out of white feed sacks with red rick rack. Anyone else remember the first things you ever sewed?


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I got my first machine when I was 15. Until then my mother made things for me on her old Singer. Under her tutelage, I made a tent dress. My best friend made a similar one in a different color with her mother's machine. We wore them to death!
Before that time I didn't have the attention span needed to make anything. I never learned proper hand-sewing(and I still dislike it). The previous year in Home Ec., I got as far as cutting out a pattern, but never followed through and got a poor grade. I did slightly better in cooking class due to the almost instant gratification, LOL.

    Bookmark   January 29, 2010 at 6:10PM
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I was 8 when I first learned to sew on a machine. My grandmother sewed beautifully. She sewed for her 6 daughters and most of her grandkids She taught her daughters and any one of us who wanted to, how to sew. I used to love to sit near the machine and play with the fabric scraps and watch her.
The first thing I ever made were pin cushions. Crudely made balls of fabric that I hand stitched. Every one of my Aunts got one of those for Christmas that year. I was proud but I don't remember anyone using them--they were probably unusable, but they got praise from Gram.

Like you the first thing I ever sewed on the machine was an apron. I made it on Grams Singer treadle machine. It was the only machine she ever had. She had it converted to electricity when I was in my teens. It now sits in my Aunts house and it still works.

    Bookmark   January 29, 2010 at 6:26PM
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An apron in Home ec. My mom did sew,crochet and was a millner(hat maker),but she passed when i was only 9,so she never got to teach me,yet her talents were passed on .

    Bookmark   January 29, 2010 at 8:20PM
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Hmmm I was about 7 made Sachet bags from scraps of lace and fabrics from grandparents shop, became very familiar with seam ripper, LOL.....

    Bookmark   January 29, 2010 at 9:28PM
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My first was when Aunt Mabel helped me cut out my first dress, maybe I should say I helped Aunt Mabel cut it out, she did most of the work but let me sew, and sure that I felt as though it was my creation. First thing I remember sewing alone was an apron in home ec in school. It was very simple as we had a plastic hoop that went around our waist, so we didn't have to make the sash. Second thing was a wool skirt. There was some type of a hand operated pinking machine set up on the table. I remember so well that when I started to pink the edge, wasn't watching the edge and cut the seam open.

    Bookmark   January 30, 2010 at 12:30AM
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I bought my first machine with money from my savings account shortly after I turned 7. I think I was 8 or 9 when I made a pair of pj's simple top and bloomer bottoms out of white seer sucker with yellow roses. Of course I had out grown them by the end of the summer and Mother made me given them to my cousin, Melanie (she's 3 months older, but always been much smaller than me). Mel wore that pj top until we were well into our early 20's so I guess I must have sewed it really good, LOL.


    Bookmark   January 30, 2010 at 9:17AM
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I was in 6th grade in home ec. We made slippers out of washcloths and an apron. That had me hooked. I have sewn every since. In high school we had to make a dress. Mine was one with a jacket. I picked a medium sized plaid with a small stripe on the top of the plaid. When I get ready to sew it together the line was on the top on the front and on the bottom on the back. I had to make a quick trip to buy some more fabric. I did get an "A". I remember that dress to this day..


    Bookmark   January 30, 2010 at 10:24AM
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Great question! Another apron here as well - @ our city Summer rec. program, when I was probly 8 or 9. We brought 1 yard of material & learned to gather & straight stitch on a sewing machine. I can still recall what the fabric looked like. I had a Mom who sewed (w/ a little black Singer Featherweight, which we still have) & 2 great-aunts who were seamstresses - back then (mid 60s) EVERY female was expected to learn to sew = )

    Bookmark   January 30, 2010 at 12:52PM
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I learned to sew in Jr High. First hand sewing project was a needle case. Felt with flannel "pages". Second project was an apron from gingham with a casing and tie, we also made oven mitts with terry padding. I can still remember sewing on lined paper to get the hang of sewing in a straight line. I still have the Dritz seam ripper that was part of my first sewing kit. It's a little dull after all these years, but I still hang on to it.

    Bookmark   January 30, 2010 at 9:04PM
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Oh, I love hearing about everyone's memories and first projects.

I was about to say my first project was the apron in my first year of home ec, but then I remembered when I was 8 or 9, I was smitten with the TV show, "The Roaring 20s" with Dorothy Provine. I begged Mom to give me 2 worn, white pillowcases from which I, very roughly, fashioned a dress by cutting a neck and arms out of one pillowcase and cut the other around into 3" or 4" strips which I then cut into "fringe" and hand stitched onto the pillowcase dress.

I am sure it was horrible, but in my young eyes I had created a perfect flapper dress. I wished for sequins, but was happy with all the fringe I had cut. Fortunately, my skills improved from there, though I don't know if my "blind eye" is any truer.

    Bookmark   January 30, 2010 at 11:08PM
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A hippopotamus stuffed animal in home economics. She was pink and wore a tutu. I made a mistake on her leg but I didn't mind because it looked like she was pointing her toe!

    Bookmark   January 30, 2010 at 11:25PM
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I just remembered, sameboat, when I was in first grade, everyone had to make a stuffed animal. Mine was a horse. Mother dyed some white feed sacking tan and that was the color mine was. I don't remember if I did much of the sewing or not. Way too many years ago. I did stuff it. It had yarn for mane and tail and it was not a tiny one either.


    Bookmark   January 31, 2010 at 4:36AM
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When I was 11 my older sister helped me make a jumper. It had button straps and patch pockets and was dark green. Since she was an excellent seamstress and a perfectionist about sewing she made me redo if needed so I think it turned out great.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2010 at 5:57AM
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I've been trying to remember, and I just can't. My early sewing experience was practically preverbal. My mother's father (he died before I was born) was a tailor who worked for one of the big department stores in our city, so maybe it is some sort of genetic thing, lol. My mother did a lot of sewing when she was younger, and my four sisters and I just kind of picked it up through osmosis. One of us usually had some sort of sewing project going. There was a ping-pong table in the basement that we used for cutting things out, and my grandfather's old Singer got a lot of use.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2010 at 3:39PM
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Sue - cute! First grade is so young to sew! I think I was in 6th or 7th grade before I ever used a machine! And now, at 43, I am back in sewing class learning to sew a simple tote bag. I love it though! All the girls in the class are about my age and we are all in the "sameboat."

    Bookmark   February 1, 2010 at 10:23PM
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I was very, very young when I started making simple clothing, but there were a lot of things I was never taught and just had to learn for myself. I thought HomeEc would be fun, and it was NOT. I made my first project in HomeEc which was a skirt and blouse out of the same fabric. I thought it was perfect and the teacher gave me an A for it's construction. Next day I wore it to school and realized that the buttons and butterholes were on the wrong side. I had been wearing a shirt made for a boy the day I put the buttonholes in the garment. Until that moment, I didn't know there was a difference. I never liked wearing the dress after I found out I did it wrong, although I doubt it mattered to anyone else, or if they even noticed. It taught me a lesson however, and I never trusted my teacher after that.

Later in HS, I had all the credits I needed, but they made me take HomeEc again. I was so mad. Every week I made a garment for my teacher's kids using her fabric. My Mom couldn't afford to keep me in fabric as fast as I could sew, but my teacher's kids got a lot of new clothes that year. LOL

So although I was forced into so called "structured" learning, that is not how I learned to sew. I studied, and studied, and studied, on my own from books and materials done by people who knew what they were doing.

I married my husband shortly after he returned from SE Asia, and he owned 62 shirts that had been made just for him. One day, I sat on the edge of the bed with one in my hands trying to figure out how you could put a double yoke in a shirt and have none of the seams showing. From that moment on, I knew I had to learn every trick I could learn, so I started to study.

When others made play clothes for their children, I made the good things. I could buy cheap play clothes, but I saved a ton of money making dress clothing, prom dresses, and wedding attire.

    Bookmark   February 3, 2010 at 1:34PM
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I don't remember the first thing... but I remember the first real thing. I'd been using my mom's outta whack machine and using sheets to practice. I decided to bite the bullet and buy some real material. It was pale pink linen and I made a cute jacket with a peplum and longish full round skirt with it. I still wish I could recreate that sucker. I didn't know that you could/should keep the patterns back then. That is, as I cut the dress out, I threw away each pattern piece as I went??? (who knows why?) Ha! Ah good times. Good times.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2010 at 10:47AM
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It's so interesting hearing everyone's experience. I am not sure what I made first, but I know which item of clothing I first made and still have the pattern for it. It was about 19776 or '77 for a home ec. class. It was a denim wrap-around skirt. I was rather tomboy-ish and didn't like the skirt, so made it to fit my sister. My teacher was mad when she found that out. At some point in there I made a stuffed frog and a difficult creature out of fake fur -- I think it was called a Womble or something. I still have the fabric and pattern for those.

I wasn't crazy about sewing at the time, but soon thereafter bought my first sewing machine, a used Singer for $50.00. I still have it for my back-up machine. My favorite kind of sewing is home dec. or "crafty" things like dog beds, etc.

    Bookmark   February 15, 2010 at 2:09PM
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My first sewing thing I made was a hand stitched Barbie doll dress. I was sitting on the floor near my mother while she was sewing on the old Brother machine she had. I was using the scraps from what she was making. I was not in school at that time so I was 4 or 5 years old. The next item I made I used the sewing machine at school in the 7th grade tomake a jumper that had straps that cris - crossed in the back and buttoned in the front at the shoulder. It had patch pockets in the front. I do not remeber the grade I got on it because I had issues with the teacher calling me by my first name which I did not answer to when called by it. I went by my middle name in school. The next item I made I was in the tenth grade and made 3 items in the semester I took Clothing and Textiles. One item was a plaid skirt to learn how to match plaids. The pattern I used had a vest that went with the skirt and I made the vest with the solid that matched the plaid background and lined it with the plaid so that it was reverisble. I received an A+ on that outfit. The next item was a princess seamed dress. I made that in a yellow fabric and got an A+ also. But it took many tries to get the zipper just right before the teacher was satisfied. The last item I made was a corduroy pantsuit because we had to make a garment that had a nap..
When my sons were small I made their swim suits because I could not find ones that would fit them. My oldest son is very under sized for his age. At the time I made the suits he was in elementary school but still wore little boys (4-5 ) size.
When he was a baby I had to make all his baby clothes because ready made clothes swallowed him . He was a tiny baby only weighed 3 lbs 7 1/2 ozs but was not premature. He was born with abnormally small sized kidneys that were
only working at half capacity. My daughter got things made for her but the way she treated the clothing made me not wanting to sew for her. When my daughter-in-law in formed us that she was expecting, I made several receiving blankets and a few outfits. She appreciates the things I make .

    Bookmark   February 22, 2010 at 6:32PM
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I made a baby dress for my Tiny Tears doll---actually I sat in my Grandmother Cooper's lap as she made the dress on her old Singer treadle machine!! The next memory I have is learning to use the ruffle attachment on my Grandmother Ferris' Singer treadle and just loving the perfectly spaced ruffle tucks!! I was probably around 7 or 8 years old.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2010 at 9:49PM
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I made a bright yellow skirt, very short, with pleats and pockets and side button opening. It was fabulous and I wore it a lot with my fluffy leg warmers!

    Bookmark   July 26, 2010 at 7:00PM
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I grew up watching my mom sew all sorts of things, from pretty dresses for me to jeans for my brother. When I was a freshman in HS, I took Home Ec. If it weren't for my mom, the dress I made for my first sewing project probably would have bombed out. I learned some very bad habits from the Home Ec teacher when it came to sewing - but the cooking semester was a gem. (I still use recipes today that I got in Home Ec class.)


    Bookmark   August 6, 2010 at 10:08PM
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I was about 8 and I used a treadle machine to make (very crude) doll clothes. My mom used an old Singer with a knee pedal and I learned to really sew on it. I took home ec sewing every chance I had just to have some sewing time every day, to make school clothes. When I was in my 20s I moved to the Alaskan bush with my boyfriend (he's still my boyfriend)(35th anniversary next month)and we scrounged pieces and parts and put together a treadle machine. I made everything from dog harnesses, toboggan bags, parkas, mukluks to dresses on it. One winter we took just the head out to our trapline cabin and put a hand crank on it, so I could still sew.

17 years later, when we move into town I got a job in a shop that made professional dog mushing gear and all things for a harsh climate. Then I was working on an industrial machine and loved, loved, loved it.

Now I sew for my 4 grandgirls and practice making things like fabric bowls, creative pillows and some bags hopefully to sell. For family members I make quilts. Sewing and doing stuff like that is how I get my emotional recharge. Incidentally my boyfriend and I are building our last homestead and the biggest room in the house is my sewing room. I am soooo jazzed.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2010 at 6:34PM
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My mother is a retired librarian, and the first thing I remember sewing was a book. It was the mid-50's, and she would take a piece of colored construction paper for the cover and a few pieces of plain white paper, fold them in half cross-wise and sew down the fold on the inside. I remember being allowed to actually operate her featherweight sewing machine to sew on the fold and make my very own book.

And yes, I still have that machine. I turned out to be a much more enthusiastic and brave seamer than she was. She needed micro-managing instructions, where I was willing to dive in and see what I could make happen.

    Bookmark   September 2, 2010 at 5:24AM
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What a great question! I think I made some doll clothes, but the first wearable item?
I was about nine and made a vest and skirt set--everything out of CORDUROY! I learned about nap, lining, facing, interfacing, waistbands, the whole nine yards! LOL! My mom guided me, but the project was mine!

    Bookmark   September 5, 2010 at 4:45PM
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In high school I made a pair of culottes in Home Ec. I hated those darned thing, never could stand the darned things and to this day I still would never buy another pair of culottes. Stupid things. LOL

    Bookmark   November 17, 2010 at 3:08PM
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I recently taught a co-worker to sew a book. Her 5 yr-old is enchanted and I believe they are incorporating a variety of papers into the ones they make. Her daughter is quite the artist-in-the-making! I am so happy that my nother's legacy continues.

    Bookmark   February 3, 2011 at 6:25AM
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I think the first real item I made was a yellow plaid roll-up sleeve blouse in Home Ec. I had no clue that matching plaids would be that involved. Since I was in high school in the 60's I remember making a 2 piece lined wool suit like Jackie Kennedy and of course had the matching pill box hat. Next I made a dress out of a pretty green dotted swiss. We didn't have room to cut out our garments in the Home Ec. cottage so we were taken into the cafeteria to use those tables. When I started making my dress I realized that I had not only lost the back pattern piece to my skirt but also the fabric. My Mother and I went back to the store to buy more but they were out of that color. I ended up replacing the back of my skirt with white organdy and applied a white bow in the back of the waist. What had started out as a rather plain dress became a nice church dress which I wore for quite a while. The dress that gave me such fits turned out to be a favorite of mine. Now I really LOVE to sew and also enjoy "thinking outside the box". Some things are made special because of the work involved. It makes you appretiate the results.

    Bookmark   December 31, 2012 at 4:09PM
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Well, I got off to a rocky start. Mom made most of my clothing as a kid and I was not a thankful child. Finally, at 12, I asked why she had to make all my clothing when all my friends' moms bought theirs. And I was picky besides. I told her I'd have done things differently (even pointed out what). That was it for Mom. She said I could make my own clothes from then on and she wasn't buying them either. I took a semester of sewing that year (7th grade). The teacher had us make a potholder. And I complained to the teacher. Why should I have to baste? It was just a danged potholder. I just couldn't see why I had to go through so many steps when just a few would do. I made the potholder, but refused to do it her way. Of course, I failed, but the potholder looked just the way it was supposed to. And then I was hooked. I did eventually decide that basting had its place, but I didn't concede often, LOL.
And, from then on, I did make most of my clothing.

    Bookmark   December 31, 2012 at 7:56PM
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Annie Deighnaugh

A green and white gingham pillow case to fit an old carriage pillow which we turned into a pillow for my cat. Thx Mom...I hated learning how to sew, but I'm so glad now that I know how!

    Bookmark   January 1, 2013 at 8:38AM
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The first thing I remember sewing was an embroidered quilt block for a friendship quilt when I was seven. when I was in 3rd grade, I made a broomstick skirt, and a peasant blouse. I can still remember gathering the skirt. All this was done on my Mother's old treadle machine. When I got married, my husband bought me a Singer featherweight portable. I still use it to take to the church to sew quilt blocks together. I am now 80, so that was all a long time ago.

    Bookmark   March 5, 2013 at 12:57PM
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