Vintage Sewing Comeback
Like my character Amy (tween novels: Call Me Amy and Amy’s Choice) when I was growing up, us girls took home economics while the boys took ‘shop’ (woodworking, auto mechanics, etc.). It may seem old-fashioned now to split up the boys and girls, and even did so at the time, since I would have loved to experience both classes. But what’s more disturbing is that in most middle schools around the country, these worthwhile courses have been dropped to make room for more tech-savvy programs.
In home economics, we had half a year of sewing and half a year of cooking. Both skills stayed with many of us for all of our lives. Hopefully they won’t become a lost art unknown to the next generation who may find it easier to order fast foods and online clothing while plugged into an ever-present internet.
Here are some of the patterns I made:
Luckily, there are other ways for today’s kids to try their hand at sewing. Check out these cool books.
Two popular ones are Sewing School and Sewing School 2. Both books include lots of easy-to-make fun projects.
The two how-to-sew books shown below contain slightly more advanced tasks.
A new picture book biography with a sewing theme is Sewing Stories: Harriet Powers’ Journey From Slave to Artist written by Barbara Herkert and illustrated by Vanessa Brantley-Newton. Born in 1837, Harriet learned to stitch while she was a young slave girl on a Georgia plantation. She created several story quilts and, as a free woman, became known for her art.
In a post about sewing, I can’t resist including an old favorite: Corduroy by Don Freeman. This book, including the wonderful sewing-on-the-button scene, first appeared in print in 1968. A follow-up companion book arrived ten years later.
Sewing has been a part of many families for generations. For example, my mother has created many beautiful quilts and bags. Her sisters, as well as my own sister, made clothes and costumes. My children both enjoyed making homemade sewing projects, too.
My grandmother on my father’s side also loved to sew. Below are pictures of her sewing box. Her grandmother gave it to her for her 12th birthday in 1912.
The above photo is a close-up of the top drawer which lifts out to reveal the larger spools underneath.