Sunday, May 17, 2015
Once again, we have a guest writer from my writing class in town. This class is not designed to make published writers, but to share childhood memories and family stories with their descendants. Thank you Jeanne for your contribution! I'm sure there are many others who feel the same way about sewing.
I can’t sew. Oh, I can mend a tear and sew on a button or shorten a skirt by hand. As a kid, I learned to darn socks and embroider dish towels. But I can’t sew on a sewing machine, and I’ve always admired those who can. They seem to me miraculously blessed with great talent.
When I was in grade school there was a class called “Home Ec” for girls only. (Boys took what was known as shop.) One semester of Home Ec was devoted to sewing and one to kitchen skills. During kitchen skills we made biscuits, learned how to set a table and what R.S.V.P. meant and what to do about it.
During the sewing term we learned how to hem flour sack dish towels and operate a sewing machine. In the Home Ec room at Multnomah School there were rows of treadle sewing machines, leftovers from the 1930s. Because of the war, new machines were not made during the 40’s. A treadle machine is powered by feet rather than electrically and the faster you “treadle” the faster the needle goes up and down. It’s like rubbing your stomach and patting your head at the same time. I never could coordinate these movements.
My mother had an electric machine which she rarely used. When I was in high school I tried sewing on it and even cut out a dress from a pattern, but the thread kept tangling and the machine kept stalling. I kept going into frustrated crying jags so my dad urged me to quit. He tactfully told me what a good cook and baker I was and that I should further develop my kitchen skills. I’m sure he was trying to protect the household from my emotional outbursts.
Lately, I have had thoughts of buying a machine and learning to sew. I’d love to learn. But, on the other hand, would it make sense financially to invest in a machine at my age? Could I possibly get my money’s work out of it? AND, I don’t like to go on emotional tears anymore so I’ll probably stick with kitchen skills. If you have thoughts for me on this, R.S.V.P. I know what it means!
12 Nov 2014