Friday, July 22, 2011

My Friend Brett Bara's New Sewing Book! + a HOT, HOT GIVEAWAY!

A few years ago, when I first became involved with the PBS show Knit and Crochet Today, I met an energetic woman named Brett Bara. She had natural camera talent and appeal, knew how to crochet and knit, and after the first season of the show, she was asked to host it. At that time, Brett was the Editor in Chief of Crochet Today Magazine. I love being on the show with Brett because she knows what I am demonstrating and talking about and if I'm not being clear to the viewers, she helps out with the explanations. It's a good fit. 

But Brett's real love has always been sewing. And that's where we really have something in common. I learned to sew as a 9 year old one hot summer in NJ. Brett's Mom taught her to sew when she was young. You can read a great interview with her here. When I was a kid in the 1970's, sewing was taught in most schools so all the girls learned some of the basics. (It was a girls and boys world then.) I went on to continue to take sewing all through high school learning couture techniques from the wonderful Mrs. Airola. I was lucky my high school had a fabulous sewing teacher. In college, I majored in Textiles and Clothing. As you can see, sewing and creating with fabric and fiber has always been in my life. I don't tend to talk much about the things I sew here on the blog. For me, that's just what I do and there is no reason to blog about it. Making clothes for me to wear - well, I'm not a fashion model so it's not that that interesting. Necessary, yes, blog-worthy, no.

That's what cracks me up about the blogosphere - all these people thinking they invented sewing and knitting when only a generation ago, everyone had to know how to sew and even knit and crochet. (I guess I'm that way with my sheep, photography, gardening thing.) My, times have changed. I do not mean to put down anyone, I'm just saying - sewing and knitting really aren't hard or difficult or rocket science. Mostly, it takes the nerve to get over the fear to give it a go. I think it is a shame that the American school system has mostly dropped teaching sewing. I mean - really - who doesn't need to sew on a button and mend a seam in their life. Maybe it would help our throwaway society if they brought it back. But I digress.

So that's where Brett's philosophy and mine are the same. Sewing can be basic and easy and creative and fun. Brett has written the new book called Sewing in a Straight Line: Quick and Crafty Projects You Can Make by Simply Sewing Straight. Brett also writes the Sewing 101 Column for Design*Sponge. She's doing a lot to get people sewing, isn't she? Go Brett!

Her book is just hitting the bookstores this week. Last night I read it through, looked at all the very pretty and helpful colorful how-to illustrations, and said to myself, "This is just what some of these people need who are afraid to sew." It's all here - common sense sewing - taking the fear out of the machine, the scissors, the fabric. Brett has done it." Here are my favorite projects..... Love the pleated skirt on the cover with the fun big buttons down the front. Brett calls this the Sewing School Skirt.


This gorgeous quilt called Wonky Diamonds on Point. Wonky - that is one of my favorite words. Even an advanced quilter would have fun with this one.


These pretty turquoise curtains with ball fringe. They make me feel cool on this hot day.


The City Girl Tote (but of course, it could be for The Country Girl too!)  


 The Magic Sewing Kit


So there you have it. Lovely styling too which will appeal to many of the "decorating set." Many of you may already be great sewers and quilters but many of you may have that fear of sewing. Buy this book and Brett will help you get over it! I think many of the patterns in here will appeal to some younger women who may just be thinking about learning to sew. But there is something for everyone, trust me. The nice thing is you won't have to spend money on a pattern. All you'll need is some fabric, a tape measure, sewing machine, yard stick and some basic tools. Anyone can do it with Brett's Sewing in a Straight Line. This might be a nice thing to teach a child or even a teenager who is into fashion and wants to be crafty and stand out from the crowd.  There's still a lot of summer left to learn to sew!

Brett's publisher Potter Craft has kindly donated a copy of Sewing in a Straight Line for one of my lucky readers. Here's how you enter:

Leave a note in the comments answering this question:
What was your first sewing experience? Is there anything memorable to share with everyone? Or are you still thinking about sewing?
Make sure you leave an easy way to get a hold of you. U.S. Addresses only.
Contest ends at 11:59 p.m. Wednesday July 27th

Contest is closed. The winner is Casey who wrote:
Casey said... My first memory of sewing is sitting at my Grandmothers feet as she taught me to resew the hem on my dress, about six years old. I'll be sewing costumes for the local Children's Theater in my small town.
Thanks everyone for entering. Get sewing!

Even better, hop on over to Brett's blog and sign up the the great SEWING MACHINE AND SERGER GIVEAWAY. Wow - how generous is that? Check out the cool sewing videos she has made and see how simple and fun sewing can be. YOU CAN DO IT! ANYONE CAN!

And don't miss her video on How to Make a Jello Mold! What a hoot! Congrats to Brett on all her successes!

100 comments:

Cathy said...

It was a different world back then!! I cannot remember NOT sewing - I lived in a family of seamstresses. As a very young girl I had access to all the scraps from the sewing, knitting, and crocheting projects of my mother, grandmother and aunts. My first sewing projects were clothes for my Trolls or Barbies and were sewn by hand. By age 10 I was an accomplished straight seamer on the machine. I, too, took all the sewing classes I could in high school and toyed with majoring in "Home Ec" in college.

Today I still sew occasionally, but would do so much more if I did not have to work full time. I am already planning my projects for the day when I no longer need to work full time. One of the projects would be to help others learn to sew or knit.

Anne P said...

My very first sewing experience involved a community Ed. class when I was a little girl, and I've no good memories of that! However, I will tell you about the sewing machine I bought in college so I could "patch" my own jeans... I ended up with a "patch" sewn to the top/front of the knee and the back of the leg...whoops! I put the sewing machine away for years until my love of fiber arts made me resurrect it! Now I've been sewing fearlessly and in top speed ever since! (to the dismay of all the REAL seamstresses I know!) annegp on Ravelry

april said...

My first sewing experience was a 4-H project when I was very young. I seem to remember sewing together two squares to make beanbags.

hellmanmd said...

I'm not much of a sewer, and haven't done much since a certain useless apron in Girl Scouts. But now, I'm getting frustrated because I can't find the clothes I want to fit my apparently over-broad shoulders and over-long arms, and am starting to think that I might just have to bite the bullet and learn to sew.

Kate/Massachusetts said...

My first sewing experience was in junior high school home ec. We sewed those really ugly broomstick skirts that never fit anyone! Fortunately, it was uphill from there!

Wendelene said...

My first sewing experience was totally as an onlooker. My best friend was a sewer and we spent many summer afternoons working on our fair entries in her basement. She would sew, and I would knit.

Fast forward 40+ years. I've decided it's silly for me to be knitting, crocheting, weaving and spinning but not sewing. I went and bought some fabric and a pattern and made a skirt. Not haute courture, but I can wear it around the house without shame. Second skirt is in progress and a simple top is in the que. This means that I'll have to add one more stash to my collection. A stash of stashes?

BaileyGirl5 said...

My mom was a sewer and we had a dedicated "sewing room" in our house. I remember making pillows and very rudimentary dollies when I was a little girl. My boys all made pillows at her house when they were little too and I'm proud to say they can all work a sewing machine and sew a straight line!

Anonymous said...

Watching my mom sewing my "tutu" for dance class. I'm 65 and my TuTu doesn't fit anymore! We all had to do sewing projects in Home Ec to pass 8th grade. I loved to sew, and made my clothes then. Sadly most of my sewing ended up fixing my families farm pants for the next 40 years.Sewing taught me how to "alter" rack clothes to fit my body.... abby

Jocelyn said...

My PBS affiliate doesn't carry that show anymore, but I really enjoyed you on it. Also enjoyed Brett far more than her predecessor (which is to say, a lot).

Kathy at Knitting Off The Grid said...

Because I was too young to sew with my mother's old Singer machine, I had to just use a needle and thread and made my Barbie doll oodles of skirts.
Then, in Jr. High I took my first sewing class - loved it - and made my mom an apron with 3 pockets across the bottom. I was hooked!

Biddywink said...

Junior high home ec was also my first experience, only we made heavy-duty gym bags. I still have mine, somewhere...

Sally said...

Wow! Thanks for this post. We just got this book here at the library, and I almost let it get past me! My first sewing experience? Can't remember. I was mom-taught when I was fairly young. But I do remember the summer I was 11 I made a Raggedy Ann doll! I remember it being one of the first projects I did more independently. Before that, I think I just made totes and simple skirts or shorts. Thanks for the chance to win!

Cami said...

My first sewing project was for my mother. She was the den Mother for my brother's Cub Scout group. She needed little bean bags for a bean bag toss game and she had me sew those for her. I was around ten at the time and I've been sewing ever since! camipaul @ comcast dot net

Cinnamon said...

My first project was 12 place mats with 12 matching napkins. I've yet to make either of those again. Something about the repetition of making 12 just bored me to tears. I do still sew, however, usually clothes for my littles. Thanks for turning me on to Brett's blog. I don't need either a machine or a serger, but her blog looks like fun!

D said...

My first experience with sewing anything myself was probably trying to reattach a button or sewing a patch onto a jacket of mine. I haven't done much sewing, but I do really want to learn. I have always wanted to make a dress all by myself! Danielle.alkire @ gmail . com

owlette said...

my mom was never a big sewer but my great grandmother bought her an old sewing machine one that was built into it's own desk and had a knee press instead of a foot pedal still electric though. so I sewed my first project a pillow on it before my mom even used it yes I was fearless.I just got my own sewing machine last year and my sewing has really taken off from then. carej1994@gmail.com

Jennianydots said...

My first sewing experience was in my Home Ec class in 7th grade. I got to sew a fluffy bunny from a prepackaged kit. I really liked sewing but it was a hobby that kind of slipped by the wayside over the years. I would love to pick it up again and I think Brett's book would be the perfect blend of instruction and cute and simple patterns for a re-newbie!

Hayley said...

My first sewing experience was watching my grandmother make a little sundress for my baby cousin. I remember being so amazed that she knew how to transform a square piece of fabric into ANYTHING!

Ms. Knitsalot said...

I enjoyed making Christmas items that I had either embroidered or cross-stitched first. Then I would sew them into small hanging ornaments. Thanks for the giveaway!

Dianne@sheepdreams said...

My first sewing was hand sewing clothes for my Ginny doll when I was maybe 8-9 years old. My mom taught me some and I also did a 4-H project apron. I made nearly all my clothes in high school and lots of things for my kids. I haven't done much in years and have been wanting to start sewing for myself again. It gets more and more difficult to find clothes I like (and am willing to spend that much for!).Thanks for a great giveaway. (dmac1010 on ravelry)

MicheleinMaine said...

Thanks for the link to the sewing machine/serger giveaway!

My first project was an apron. Then I graduated to making clothes for myself during high school. Fast forward to holiday dresses and Halloween costumes for my daughter. Now I make bags for knitters and travelers, on the very same 50+ year old Singer on which my mother made dress for me. michelecorbeil@gmail.com

melonkelli said...

I learned how to sew in a 4H club. I remember being really excited to choose a pattern and fabric and get to spend time with my friends from school.

teresita said...

My mother has an elna machine, and I don't remember life without staring at her while sewing. I have one now myself and my girls stare at me, and learn as I did, by looking. And one day they will ask me if they can do it, as I did.

Tagati said...

My mother always sewed and I took sewing in Home Ec (they don't teach that anymore!). I'm a little obsessed however; I match patterns for pockets!

But, the most interesting thing I have to relate is the fact that my father also sewed. He had an industrial machine and made all the seat covers, hammocks, boat canopies, boat motor housing covers et cetera! Of course, being of an older generation, he used a lot of naugahyde!

Emma said...

My first sewing project was probably when my grandma helped me and my cousin make our own quilts. I've also taken a sewing class since then and down a few projects on my own. I would LOVE that book. Those projects are so cute! My email is toemma@gmail.com

Beth said...

First thing I ever sewed - an apron for 4-H. It wasn't particularly memorable but it got me started and I'm still sewing and loving it more than ever! Thanks for a great giveaway. Brett's book looks wonderful.

Wilma said...

I was a "sneak" sewer, probably 5 years old. At that time my mom had a treadle machine. I wanted to make doll clothes. She figured I'd sew my fingers to the cloth and wouldn't let me. When she would go out to tend the garden...you guessed it...I "sneak" sewed. If only I had some of those creations. Can't remember if I ever got caught. But I don't think so. Shifty at age 5. Shame on me.

Leslie said...

I really can't remember when I first started sewing. My mother sewed beautifully; she made my sister's wedding gown (26 little covered buttons included), prom dresses, slip covers, capri pants (called "pedal pushers" way back when), winter coats. You name it, mother made it. I was brought up to sew and made my own wedding dress, work dresses, etc. Unfortunately, I got away from it but still have a machine that gets used a couple of times a year for mending. It might be nice to begin to sew more now that I have the time. Here's hoping for the book!

HOA Mgr Lady said...

When I was a small child my Mom made some doll clothes but she always said she wasn't a sewer. So I tried to teach myself to sew but didn't get the concept of lines and how to adjust clothing to fit my dolls. Very frustrating and no one would help me. I learned to REALLY sew when I met a friend in 7th grade and took my 1st sewing class. That changed my life as I had known it. My family didn't have much money and no extras for clothing but I became a sewing fool after I got my first job at 15 and had some cash (Patterns were 50 cents) and my friends and I had contests through High school on who could make the most number of dresses over the weekend. The winner was usually my friend Roxnanne who made 3 most weekends. I can now make anything although I haven't sewn for years and years. I desperately wanted to major in sewing and art in college but those where the years where we "women" were tossing off the shackles of going to college and JUST being either a teacher or a nurse and I studied Sociology. I had no imagination of what I could DO with a art or sewing degree and especially at a Lutheran college where that was not a choice. I was really the only one in my family of 4 girls who could sew and my wardorbe proved it. I sewed my Senior prom dress complete with a reversible coat. Bridesmaid dresses and made Jr. Bridemaids dresses for others. I cannot knit at all but I am a crochet fan. I would Love Love LOVE this book.
Thank you for the trip down memory lane.
Ruth
Rcederstro@aol.com

carol said...

I bought fabric and a pattern when I was 11 and sewed a dress by hand; my parents bought me a machine after that, a lovely old Kenmore I still have! It's too bad people don't sew anymore, it's so satisfying and handy. I love your blog!

Bonney said...

My first experience was in HomeEc. I had NO idea what the concept of sewing was all about. Fortunately, many of my girlfriends had mothers that sewed and I was so envious of their dresses that I learned how to sew dresses for myself with the help of friends!

Annie said...

My mom pieced a lot of quilts in the 80s, and being her curious daughter, I wanted to do it, too. She got me started on a quilt for my baby doll crib, which I never finished, but it did teach me how to sew a straight seam by hand! Since then, I've pieced a few quilt tops on the sewing machine, but I haven't sewn in a few years. It's something I'd like to get back into.
Ravelry id: nassau

Abbie said...

I don't remember my first sewing experience--I started sewing as a young child. I spent hours hand sewing doll clothes in what I thought was a meticulous, stylish fashion. Years later, when I pulled out all those little outfits, they struck me as pretty crude, but they brought back so many wonderful memories. I moved away from sewing when what I wanted to do outpaced my actual skills, and I turned to knitting. I think this book would help me get back into sewing.

Claudine (viola422 on Ravelry) said...

My grandmother taught me to quilt. None of my cousins believe it, but she taught me how to do cartwheels too! I am the oldest grandchild, so I knew her the youngest. I think it has helped me to remember how young at heart he can be in a way that my cousins can't. I feel so lucky.

She was a beautiful sewer, both with the machine and by hand. She always gave me little scraps to experiment with, and to encourage the love of the needle. If she was sewing, she never minded having me right by her side, always giving me my own materials to come along for the ride.

CupcakeCatie said...

My grandma would sew things for me quite frequently when I was growing up. But my first hands on experience was when I was in junior high and taking home ec. At first I really didn't care too much about it until I was older. Now Im 21 and love to sew and still use the tips and tricks my home ec teachers taught me! Thank you teachers for helping me learn how to deal with a finicky sewing machine! :)

Suzanne said...

When I was a child, my mother made matching jumpers for my sister, me and my mother.

I remember sewing in middle school, stuffed animals if I remember correctly.

I took sewing again in high school and made the dress I wore under my graduation gown. It is still in the cellar and still unfinished. I think it just needed ribbon or some little finishing touches. Since it was under my gown, no one could tell that it wasn't completely finished.

Jody said...

My first sewing experience was observing my grandmother make a quilt when I was 3 or 4. I remember being in awe of the fabric and her hands. She didn't live long enough to pass on her love of sewing to me, and I never learned. I became an avid knitter over time, and now I'd really lime to expand my skills into the seeing world.

Jody said...

Jridzi@gmail.com

Pamie G. said...

My first experience was I took a class at a Hancocks. We could select our own pattern so I selected overalls in a pretty print. Of course I was very big and when I had to get a size 20 pattern, I was devastated and never enjoyed the class. My teacher said, "Oh you are being silly". I later found out that I probably should have not chosen overalls and the teacher probably should have told me that but I had no idea, had never sewn anything! It was a complete waste of money but I did not let it stop me and today I am a little smarter! Thanks for the opportunities!

Joyce said...

Junior high home ec(1968). Everyone had to sew an a-line skirt. The skirt was blah, but I kept sewing because I'm short and I liked being able to wear something no one else had. My 17 y.o. daughter, who's very artistic, had me teach her to sew and she's far surpassed me in creativity already

Jodee said...

My first sewing project was in Jr High home ec class. I made an apron with a horse print, I sewed it upside down so I could look at the horses!

Wendy said...

I've been around sewing and other handcrafts all of my life. My mom and aunts each have their different "specialty". Some of my earliest memories are sitting on my mom's lap while she sewed at the machine. Around 9 or 10 I sewed my first shirt and have never looked back. A few years later I remember being in 7th or 8th grade (early 90's) "home ec" (all girls, of course); we were sewing aprons, of course, and I was shocked that I was the only one who knew how to pin the pattern to the fabric.

Kay said...

In 7th grade, I was at a slumber party, and another girl had this really pretty nightgown on. When I learned she had sewed it herself (with help from her mom), I was determined to sew one myself. My mom had sewn alot of our clothes, and elaborate Hallowe'en costumes when we were younger, so she took me through all the paces. I caught the bug immediately, and all the way through high school, I spent every weekend on a sewing project. We had a wonderful fabric store in town, so I could ride my bike. I still have a scrapbook with all the patterns and fabric swatches. Brett's book looks inspirational. I'll check out the links you included, thank you, as always, Kristin! (Happy B-day to Julia on Sunday!)

Arlene said...

My first sewing experience was making a dress out of cotton jersey for myself when I was about 16. I just picked out the pattern and material and followed the pattern to a "T" -- sewing all night! From there, I made a lot of my own clothes until I was through college. Some of them were rather "unique" shall we say...

Cate said...

I learned to sew at home - my mother had been a home-economics teacher before we kids came along, so I had an excellent teacher at my disposal.

My most memorable projects were three down jackets -- remember Frostline Kits? My first turned out too small for me, so it went to my sister. The second was for me and the third was for my cousin.

I do still sew - Just this week I made pillowcases to go along with the quilt I made my son two years ago for college. Yesterday, I started on a quilt for his brother and spent some time hand-sewing the binding on another quilt for my Mom.

I'm so happy to be able to whip up a pair of curtains, hem pants or sleeves, fix the zipper in a jacket, or whatever needs doing. I can't imagine being without the skill and a good sewing machine.

I introduced both of my boys to sewing (and knitting) and hope it will stick enough to be a help to them.

Trudi said...

My mom was an expert seamstress, and was always sewing when I was young. When I took home ec in 8th grade and had to learn myself, I was a mass of nerves, because I was comparing myself to my mom, and that was rather paralyzing. It is only now, decades later, that I have started sewing again, and with great pleasure. But I do remember all I learned going with my mom to the fabric store, pattern in hand, and that has been very helpful.

Sharon D. said...

My first sewing project was a sit-a-pon-it in Girl Scouts. My mother always sewed and I wish I did more.

Jenny said...

I never 'took' to sewing much, like my mom & sisters who even made their own clothes. I do mostly repair-work. I've always wanted to be a quilt maker! My first sewing project was a quilted sampler. Yesterday I made simple prim tab-curtains w/linen for my home. I stitch pillows, sachets...and yes, prim sheepies regularly. lol

Jan said...

I learned to sew in 7th grade home economics class. We made a pillow case. Mine was horrible, but after my first child I bought a sewing machine which came with lessons. Still, everything I made looked like a kindergartner had sewed it. I gave up after that. Still have a machine and have the desire to sew, but I don't have the courage. Need this book.

kingshearte said...

Sewing is kind of a funny thing for me. I've spent so much of the last several years in smaller spaces, where if I wanted to sew, I had to go to the trouble of pulling out the sewing machine. It was enough of a pain that I would often just grab the knitting needles instead. But when I actually do sit down and sew, I do enjoy it, and like it's very satisfying to wear something you knit or crocheted or whathaveyou, it's just as satisfying to wear something you sewed. Now that I have a house (and my basement - where the sewing machine is - is much cooler than the main floor) I have more room for it to just live where it lives, so I hope to make more extensive use of it.

My first sewing experience was far enough back that I don't remember for sure. My mom has always sewed (and done just about every other crafty thing you can think of), so I learned early, and even had my own sewing machine at a fairly early age (it's the one I still have. Eventually, I suppose it'll die and I'll have to replace it.). But I think the first thing I sewed on a machine was a very basic nightgown, consisting of a front and a back sewn together. I believe it was Rainbow Brite fabric.

Sewing (well, cutting, really) still scares me a bit. Knitting has spoiled me, because (short of steeking) there's nothing you can do that can't be undone with little or no wasted materials. But I've discovered that if you just grab the bull by the horns and go for it, it usually turns out fine. And the finished product really is satisfying.

grammynan said...

The very first sewing project I did (circa maybe 1957?) was a needle holder book. It was a few rectangles of felt cut with pinking shears, about 3 x 5 with a satin ribbon attached by sewing straight down the middle of the rectangle so that the ribbon tied the booklet closed. That was either 4 H or Brownies. I wish all little girls today had the same opportunity, not because it is a "girl" thing but because it was an accomplishment. nurnanc@gmail.com

Anonymous said...

My first project was some hand sewn doll clothing. Also embellishing dish towels made from feed sacks. We had a dairy farm with plenty of sacks and loved decorating the kitchen with them. My Mom was the ultimate recycler before it was kool! I have continued to sew until this very day and was a Home Economics teacher for 30 yrs. and loved every day of it. Just finished a youth day camp for 6 -18 yr.olds to make a quilt!

carol said...

My first sewing experience was making a blouse. I asked my aunt about "stay stitching" and then somehow thought I could do without it but quickly learned if I wanted to wear the blouse I had to do the stay stitching!I went on to learn how to make a tailored wool jacket and a bathing suit which I actually wore.
Carol

Sarah in Houston said...

I learned to sew when I was 10 at the old Singer Sewing company in downtown Houston. It's no longer there, but I remember where it was and what it looked like. Today, I love quilting and sewing bags and purses. I'm know as the purse lady to my friends. I have to have everyone I see. I'd love to get this book for my daughter-in-law so she could see there is nothing to be afraid of. Thanks

Julia (mb at diegesis dot net) said...

This post really struck a chord with me--my grandmother sewed so many of my clothes when I was a child and my mother tried teaching me to sew. I learned some very basic skills and I made little vests and things for my stuffed animals, but I don't remember really enjoying it or wanting to get better at it, and then didn't give it another thought until a couple of years ago. Now I have a lot more interest in being self-sufficient, and I'm also more aware of how crappy most off-the-shelf clothing is (it's getting worse, isn't it?!). I really think there's a trend towards making things less sturdy and less repairable. Anyway! I feel as if sewing is the big gap in my textile knowledge and this book looks like a wonderful starting point for someone who is essentially starting from scratch. Thanks for this wonderful post and for letting us know of this great book.

Valerie said...

Thanks for the story about Brett's book. I teach home and careers(formally called home ec) in New York State, and all my students (boys and girls) learn to sew. I even started a fiber arts club this past year, and we are slowly getting off the ground. I think that I will pick up a copy of her book for myself and ask a school librarian to order one as well. Do you have a preference on what patterns you use as a base for your own clothing. I am no fashion model either, and prefer making them myself, but finding a pattern to start with can be so frustrating.

Thanks.
Valerie

Susan said...

I'm so glad to hear you're a sewer (please pronounce that correctly!) too! I learned to sew as a child on my mom's 1930's era Necchi, making doll clothes out of scraps, then my own clothes. I stopped making clothes about 20 years ago-hard to find good fabric, boring patterns, and a job that ate up my free time. After making aprons for Christmas gifts last year I realized that sewing-not knitting-is my real love. I am thoroughly enjoying this new generation of young women who sew fearlessly and for fun and are willing to share their experiences in their blogs. It's wonderful to have a community!

Diane H K in Greenfield said...

I love to sew but I'm not a quilter. I like making garments and curtains and such. I'm the same generation as you, I think, and I also had sewing in home ec class. I had learned to sew early with my mom's teaching, and I used home ec to learn more. I used a Singer Spartan, which had been my grandpa's machine (yes, he sewed!) until very recently when I purchased a more modern Singer. Zig zag stitch and buttonholes--so easy now!

Most memorable sewing was making everything for my wedding 15 years ago. I used a 1918 tea gown pattern, and fine champagne-colored silk and Venetian lace from Osgoods in Springfield, MA. I made two gowns in muslin first, of course, before tackling the slippery silk! I also sewed the bridesmaids dresses, all the table linens, and favors for every table. It was a year-long project, and I loved every moment of it.

Now I sew cute frocks for Lorelei, and she LOVES them! She's anxious to learn to sew, which is very pleasing to me.

usagypsy said...

My first project was a skirt in home Ec class and I hated it! Years later as a young mother I bought a sewing machine and tried again, but liked sewing crafts better then clothes. The machine stayed in the closet more then in use. Today I still use that old Singer and piece quilts and sew crafts. Clothes are still hard for me. I would like to learn more, especially for my grand daughter. Now that I think about it, this singer has seen a couple of generations :)

Denise P. said...

My mom sewed all most of my clothes when I was little. I don't remember the specifics of my first sewing experience, but it was with my mom. She used to let me sew the straight lines on the items she was making.

flgirl1987 AT yahoo DOT com

lindagerig said...

I learned to sew in girl scouts long ago. a friend of mine's mom was our leader. it was fun. lindagerig@sbcglobal.net

Mimi F said...

I learned to sew in home ec in 7th grade, unfortunately did not keep it up. I took a sewing class a few years ago and made most of an A line dress. Unfortunately I panicked at the finishing edges, and it's been sitting in a bag for the last 5 years :( I would love some motivation to restart it!

whimsicallibrarian said...

I learned to sew in Home Ec as well. I was never really interested in making clothes. I loved the craft end of sewing. Trying to figure out how to cut out and sew things without any patterns. It's always been fun and of course some of my sewing failures have been someting to look at!

Anonymous said...

I learned to sew around the age of 5, making tiny doll clothes. The most memorable "experience" was accidentally sewing through the tip of my finger when I was in sixth grade. Ouch! I took a old school tailoring class in high school and learned many wonderful tricks that I still remember. Don't sew too much anymore though.
ravelry=cisknitter

Anonymous said...

hello from Shell ~
I grew up watching my Mom sew many of our clothes, she even made us snowpants. Velcro had just come out and she used that for the waistbands so, to our horror we could wear them longer. Red snowpants were not cool then !! My Aunt made clothes and many toy items for church sales. I didn't sew with machine but learned all the embroidery stitches and hand sewed buttons, hems & other clothing repairs.
I did not try sewing until an adult when I found a 1920's Singer machine at a thrift shop for $15.00 !! It still had the original Singer light bulb, gold decals on the black machine, very sharp. Threading it however, was a nightmare, since I was totally clueless. My teenager son came to the rescue, he was likely one of the last classes which taught sewing in Middle School.
He threaded the old machine & finished sewing the "curtains" I was trying to make. I could not get the hang of using the "knee pedal" and keep the tension even. I do now have a newer Singer which a friend gave me in payment for knitting lessons. It has "foot pedal" power, so I'm hoping to be more coordinated with it. ~ I would loVe to be able to just make straight lines !! The patterns & colors of fabrics are so beautiful. I aspire to make pillow covers, skirts & tablecloths !
Thanks for the great giveaway.
Shell ~
YarnSoup@yahoo.com

Irene said...

Hi Kristin, I also learned to sew formally in home ec during middle school. I had dabbled with home sewing for my dolls at home and my grandmother had a sewing machine at her place. I spent lots of time playing with both feet on the foot pedal of her heavy metal Singer. While I spend most of my time crocheting and knitting, I keep feeling drawn to the cloth and the rhythmic sounds of the machine. Brett's book looks fabulous and I will definitely buy my own copy if I don't win it through your giveaway. Love your photos, Irene

Englenook said...

I took a Home Ec class in the 9th grade and was totally inept (and that is giving me more credit than I deserved). It was the only class where my mother did some of my homeowork. I would still be in that class if it weren't for Mother. Through the ensuing years, I was allergic to needle and thread. I would bring my skirts home for my mother to hem. After my mother died, I became intrigued by cross stitch and took the plunge and found out that I could handle a needle. I still don't know how to sew. 'Tis late in my life, but I would like to give it a go.

Patt Ward said...

My mom didn't sew other than buttons that fell off. I tried my first sewing about the time I was 8 or 9 years old. I snagged the old towels and washcloths that went into the trash and made doll clothes. I was a natural, making them for sisters and friend. When I learned to knit a couple of years later, I was in heaven! Now I could make clothes for myself! I learned to sew in home ec at around 12.I was so good that my dad paid me 50 cents an hour to make my sisters school clothes. I made clothes for my children and now for me and my husband. I still like to outfit dolls for granddaughters though.I am always learning, as well.

Katie said...

I learned in Home Ec class - I made a navy batwing top with an edging of red and white elephants. Our home ec teacher promised that anyone who wore her creation to school would get an automatic A, so I did!

Turtle said...

My first aside from a little child just playing? DO you remember those kind of baggy diaper pants of the 80's? They wrapped and tied in the back, then wrapped and tied in the front? I remember a lot of edge sewing and first time folding, ironing, etc. I wore them but they were butt ugly! lol. Come a long ways since then but with a bit of a machine dilemma till recently am just getting my feet wet again! :)

Joan and Kevin said...

I started sewing when I was 10 years old. My best friend asked me to take a class with her. Made an orange paisley dress which I did we. Now I make quilts.

Amy said...

I cannot sew, though I think about it daily (daydreaming about a virtual rainbow of sweet, simple A-line skirts). I'm looking at my dusty Singer on the floor beside me now. I got it for Christmas a few years ago, and I could never really figure out how to set the bobbin. And so I gave up -- intimidated by operating the machine and then, yes, sewing in a straight line. It sounds difficult! I'm resolved now to learn how to use my Singer (via YouTube videos), and I think this book would really come in handy (particularly with my ability insecurities). Thank you both so much!

amysweeps at gmail dot com

JackieLemon said...

My mom and aunts and grandmothers all sewed so it was never something you "learned" it just was something you "did". Doll clothes were my first projects, then my own clothes. You may be surprised to learn that the public school district that my grandchildren attend (in Buffalo, NY), has what they call Technology classes for both boys and girls. One half of the semester they all learn cooking and sewing,the second half they do woodworking. My grandson has been doing this in elementary and middle school and knows the names of all parts of the sewing machine and has made pillows and stuffed animals and loves doing it.

Grace Marie said...

My first sewing experience was when my mother taught me how to make a pink dress when I was fourteen. I still have that dress and use it now as a tunic :) It was such a memorable day, the both of us were trying to stay patient as I struggled to learn how to sew! Sewing reminds me of my mother, the master seamstress. With every stitch, there is a memory.

Casey said...

My first memory of sewing is sitting at my Grandmothers feet as she taught me to resew the hem on my dress, about six years old. I'll be sewing costumes for the local Children's Theater in my small town.
ashefamily@yahoo.com

Margie said...

My first sewing experience wasn't all that long ago, within the last 7 or 8 years. I took a sewing class through my local community college which was held at a local sewing store, Sewing Concepts. The terrific instructor Linda walked us through all the steps of making a vest. I was so excited to actually make something that I eneded up making about 12 vests. Then she helped me make a flannel nightgown (it gets really cold in the midwest in the winter). I now have at least 10 if not more flannel nightgowns. I still have so much to learn, but I've had so much fun making things. I just wish I had more time to sew. Thanks for your wonderful blog and the contest.

Kay L. said...

My first memorable sewing experience was with my Maternal Grandmother. She had broken her leg and had to live with us in the city so there was someone to take care of her. She cut up an old dress and we made about 20 small drawstring bags each. I remember wondering why my fingers hurt the next day! Thanks Susu for that wonderful memory!

Whiffletree Farm said...

My very first sewing experience was with doll clothes for my Ginny dolls. My mother helped me figure out how to make a pattern and cut it out and I hand sewed the pieces together. I still have some of those doll clothes sewn over 50 years ago! From there, it was sewing class in Junior High School where I was determined to make only the coolest of satin blouses, mini skirts and accessories. People told me they were too difficult, but I made them all anyway. And wore them out!

Charlene ma2vt@comcast.net said...

My first sewing experience was so long ago but I remember it like it just happened. I was 12 and wanted a jumpsuit with daisies on it and a zipper up the front.I didn't have anyone to show me what to do so I marched it to Ben Franklin and bought the pattern and everything it said to buy. went home and read the direction over and over,trying to understand what bias was and many of the other terms! Finally the day came when I finished my outfit and proudly wore it . Many years later I think how kind my family must have been to keep quiet and my finished product but that what families do ,just love us no matter what!

nancy said...

My first sewing experience was also in 7th grade home economics class 40 odd years ago. My project was a plaid pleated skirt and a matching lined vest, with button holes and zippers. We got to model our projects in a fashion show at the end of the year. I was very proud of my efforts, especially the vest which I wore frequently.

nancylerer@yahoo.com

SewLindaAnn said...

I tried to start in high school a million years ago, but really got interested about 5 years ago. I'm trying to catch up by learning and trying everything I've missed inbetween. Could take awhile.

Mimi said...

I made an apron in home economics class in 7th grade. During my high school years, I would make skirts and other easy projects. I stopped sewing, but have recently bought a sewing machine in the hopes of dusting off my sewing skills. I really enjoy knitting clothing items to wear, but the instant gratification of sewing something is quite rewarding too.

Jane said...

My first project was an apron in school. I remembered enough to be able to make some simple clothes for my daughter when she was a toddler. I hadn't used my machine for many years. Last year I decided to weave dish towels as Christmas presents. I got out my machine to sew the hem and had trouble remembering how to use it. I kept thinking and reading info online. Finally, I just started sewing and out of old habit, I did okay. I am not good but this book may be just what I need to get me back on track. Thanks for the opportunity. Jane

Willow said...

My very first memory of sewing was sitting at my grandmother's treadle machine and sewing, yes, straight seams. I was so proud! I also remember the first dress I sewed which my friend's mom 'resewed' because, well, I didn't know a thing about zippers or darts.
I seem to have passed my love of sewing on to my younger daughter. I think she and I would enjoy sharing Brett's book and sewing some straight seams together.

Martha said...

I have loved sewing since I was very young. I always sewed with a machine until recently when I discovered the joys of handsewing by way of Natalie Chanin's wonderful books. This book also looks like an "inspirational" read. Thanks!

none said...

my first project was a long sleeve, full skirted, dress that I can still picture hanging on the front of the closet door. I still use fronts of closet doors to display my newly finished projects.
Ellen

Ruth said...

I started sewing dresses for my Barbie-esque dolls (in England in the 70s all we had were Cindy dolls). I had one template and made many dresses.
Jump forward about 20 years to one of my first adult sewing projects: a velvet evening gown. I underestimated how hard slippery velvet is to sew and some how cut out the bodice wrong. I ended up with a neckline that plunged to my navel which was not (ahem) my intent.

cynthia.landers@ocps.net said...

My first sewing attempt was in brownies. We made 'Situpons' which was two pieces of tablecloth plastic sewn together with some newspapers inside so we wouldn't have to sit on wet ground around the campfire!

Elaine said...

The best I can remember my first "sewing" experience was punching holes in old Christmas card and stitching them together with blamket stitch to make a little basket. I am also of the era where all the girls took Home Ec. and all the boys took Woodshop in school. My first venture was the ever popular apron before I slowly graduated to better things. Two daughters wore the butcher boy tops with corduroy pants plus lots of just little things for them. I don't sew too much for myself but now many years later I like to use my handwoven material for simple jackets. eblim01@yahoo.com

Mary said...

I don't remember my first sewing experience, but I've been thinking about it a lot lately. I have a pretty fancy machine, but almost never use it. I feel like my skills aren't that advanced, but I really want to learn more! (Mary on Ravelry)

~Heather said...

I made an A-frame skirt that I never wore. I seem hell bent to forever make skirt after skirt, but this time lovingly wear each one to death.

JANET said...

My first machine was a Singer from my dad's plant - a workhorse of a machine that finally quit after many tension problems. I now have a Brother, and I miss my solid Singer!
And in high school, I was making peasant dresses from Indian bedspreads, way before the style came back.

lorraine said...

awesome! my first sewing projects really were tiny embroidery samplers i used to make with my great gram when i was a little girl..im a huge fan of knitting and am now starting to embrace my sewing side..raineoc@yahoo.com

adodds said...

My first sewing experience was awlful - junior high. I made a skirt that was unwearable. My mom is a great sewer. I'm only okay. I loved making dresses and doll clothes when my girls were little. Now I occassionally quilt.

amyroz said...

So Cool! amyroz@hotmail.com

Sarah said...

My first sewing project was a small quilt for my brand new American Girl doll. My mom is a great quilter and had made us all quilts growing up. I helped her make a cute small quilt and it is now my daughters quilt--hopefully she'll want to sew when she is old enough. I just received my first machine in January--equipped with a great cabinet. I can't stop thinking about sewing and new projects!!! I'd love to win this book :)

bren_na said...

Wow I totally need this book! I have a sewing machine but am too afraid to use it. Whenever I have tried, things haven't worked out exactly as planned. Would love this! Hope I win! bren7na on Rav.

AllisonInPhilly said...

Love those curtains! I've been sewing since I learned from my grandmother when I was 8 (that was 37 year ago). But I went on about a 25 year hiatus! When I learned, it was on a foot pedal machine but my other grandmother had a knee accelerator -- I was a mess with that! She thought that I didn't know zip about sewing! (I was maybe 11.) Anywho, this looks like a great book to help get back into the groove. Thanks, Kristin!

Cheryl said...

Like you I first learned to sew in home ec class, junior high. My grandfather then gave me my grandmother's old Singer machine, (straight stitch only)and I proceed to make most of my clothes through high school. My grandfather then bought me a new machine, a heavy duty White that had a zig zag stitch! Sewed on that baby for years! Made many clothes for my two girls when they were growing up (including matching Christmas jumpers one year for the three of us and my youngest's semi-formal dress!)and learned to quilt. Finally talked myself into a new machine after 30 something years (and passed the White down to a friend) Still love to make things for my girls...hoping to have more time to sew and quilt now that kiddos have flown the nest. Thanks for nudging my memories! (hopsoncm at hotmail dot com)

Anonymous said...

I can't remember my first sewing project. I spent lots of time with a seam ripper undoing my mother's sewing mistakes. She favored tiny stitches. But she was a good teacher and I did not learn very much new in three years of home ec. The book looks like it would be perfect for my daughter who would like to try sewing. gnlmutti @ gmail.com