For every house is built by someone,

but the builder of all things is God.

Hebrews 3:4

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The Art of Sewing

 ...An excellent wife, who can find?
For her worth is far above jewels...
...She looks for wool and flax, 
and works with her hands in delight...
...her lamp does not go out at night.
She stretches out her hands to the distaff,
and her hands grasp the spindle...
...She is not afraid of the snow for her household,
for all her household are clothed with scarlet.
She makes coverings for herself;
Her clothing is fine linen and purple...
...She makes linen garments and sells them,
and supplies belts to the tradesmen.
Strength and dignity are her clothing,
and she smiles at the future...
...She looks well to the ways of her household,
and does not eat the bread of idleness...

Proverbs 31

As I set out to write about the art of sewing with the intention of only sharing a few of the comments I received from my readers in a previous post, I realized I didn’t need to write much at all.  Much, if not all that was on my heart regarding the art of sewing, was shared by these dear ladies.  Some even shared pictures of their finished sewing projects.  I am so grateful to those who took the time to share their thoughts about sewing and images of their finished projects.

There is a common thread I saw in the reasons these ladies shared for learning how to sew.  Saving small to large amounts of money appears to be the great motivator.  These gifted women are contributing to their family’s economy by creating clothing, home décor, gift items and more at a fraction of the cost of what it would cost to purchase them from a store.  Also, the quality and creativity surpasses that of store bought items.   Often times, an added bonus is a family heirloom created for the purpose of passing down to future generations.

As you read, you will also notice relationships were cultivated during the learning process between the tutor and the student.   Herein, there are examples of a grandmother showing great patience while teaching her five year old granddaughter, to a seasoned seamstress sharing her skills with a 4-H club.
Finally, in a culture where it is a challenge to find modest clothing in many of the stores today, sewing has become a necessary skill for many.

Come join me and read the testimonies of these creative women.

Antoinette's 1964 Featherweight sewing machine from her Grandmother.

 Antoinette's Grandmother surprised her with this handmade doll on her 5th birthday.
 She says some day when she has daughters, Lord willing, they will get to play with this doll like she did when she was young.  Until then, this little dollie will wait patiently for her new playmates.
Antoinette from Practical Simplicity
…I would like to share a few words about the gift of sewing and what a blessing it has been to me, and can be for many others who choose (or are considering) to sew!  I have been sewing ever since I was 5 because of my dear grandmother and we shared sooooooo many laughs and tears through it all and I have so many stories I could tell, that would fill an entire book!  My grandmother was VERY patient with me in teaching me how to sew at such a young age.  But I am so thankful that she has shared her love of sewing with me that I can teach my future children the same love of sewing as my grandmother did with me!  I would encourage anyone who is wanting to sew, to take the time to learn this wonderful art, and to be able to teach it to your children so that they can teach their children and so on…  pass the gift of sewing around so that it will not become a lost art as it almost was.  I will be sewing anything and everything until the day the Lord takes me home, I love it so much!

 This is Antoinette's favorite quilt made by her Grandmother.

I can't even put to words how special this must be to Antoinette.

Donna K. (Antoinette’s mother)
My mom taught me to sew a pair of pants at age 7.  I did not like it one bit and did not sew again until required to do so in Jr. High.  I made the standard apron and tote bag that turned out okay.  I did not sew again until I decided to cover my sofa.  That was fun!  The Lord used the little bit of sewing skill I had to help me make valances and tablecloths that I otherwise could not have afforded in making our house homey.
I am very grateful that my mom took the time to teach my daughter how to sew at a very young age.  She will be able to do so much more for her family than I was able to do for mine in stretching the clothing budget and decorating her home.
The biggest blessing my mom gave my daughter is the love of the art of sewing that I never had.

We hear much about mothers sewing for their daughters.  But here is a jumper sewn by a daughter (Antoinette) for her mother.
 Ta daaa
I have made dresses for my children when they were younger, curtains, home accessories, Christmas stockings and even three quilts.  Although sewing doesn’t come easy to me and I have been known to become easily frustrated by it, I usually enjoy the finished project.
 Be sure to visit LDH's blog and see how incredibly gifted she is in the art of crocheting. 
Look for her Etsy store in her sidebar. 
I do think it is important to teach this skill to our children.  It seems to be a dying art.
You're right, it's seems that way.  But I am hopeful it will not die out.

Megan P.
Sewing is a somewhat lost art that needs to be taught to future homemakers.  It is truly a delight to watch something unfold under the needle of the sewing machine.  Having the ability to make clothing and other household linens is truly a blessing.  I regret that it has taken me so long to appreciate my mom’s ability to sew and her desire to teach me.  Perhaps now we can recover the years that the locust have eaten and spend more time sewing for the glory of the Lord.
 It's so wonderful to here a testimony like this!
Cathy S.
My sewing skills certainly need work but I have been able to make some modest clothing for my girls and I’ve been able to create some nice simple home décor items to beautify our home.  I hope to teach my girls.

Jessica C. from Seasons of A Heart
I think it’s important to teach sewing because it’s a very useful home-keeping skill!  It is also an opportunity for the older women to teach the younger.

Shannon from Below The Plateau
I think it is so important to learn how to sew because it teaches you so many skills, some being:  patience, diligence, creativity, etc.  Also, sewing connects you with what your ancestors did for all their lives. 

I believe sewing and quilting are very important.  I try to sew lots of my daughter’s clothes as I can rarely find a modest dress or skirt for her.  I also make a lot of my skirts too.  Also, so many things today that are at the stores are cheaply made.  I would much rather make something or find a good quality, well made used item than buy a poorly made new one.
I agree that many things are made cheaply and not to mention made in China by who knows who.  

Carol M.
Sewing is a wonderful skill that has enabled me to get through some really hard times by reusing items and making something brand new out of them.  There’s something charming in homemade things.  You definitely can see the love in homemade things.  I’ve been given store-bought coasters as gifts over the years, but it’s interesting that the ones my family chooses to use are my homemade set that have slightly wonky stitching.  It’s a reminder that things don’t have to be perfect, they just have to be given with an open heart.

My mom taught me to sew and do other needlework when I was 5 and I wasn’t too thrilled with it all.
I was so grateful for the knowledge, when I became a new mom (31 years ago) and was broke.  I had to make our own curtains, crochet our blankets.  When I finally had a little girl, after 2 boys, my sewing streak took off!  Pink and frills…dolls and teddies.  Loved it all!  Our home was full of handmade things and I took pride in it.  I’m so glad to see a resurgence of handmade things.  Even knitting has become “not just for grannies” anymore!

 Lady Farmer made this beautiful dedication gown for her granddaughters.  Guess what she made it from?
It was lovingly created from her own wedding gown!
Now, is that special?

Lady Farmer from Lady Farmer Parables 
Sewing is a wonderful skill that enabled me to dress my daughters (and myself) in beautiful one-of-a-kind clothing we could not have afforded if purchased.  I have been able to create many items as gifts for family and friends and I am now using this skill to make things for my Etsy Store.

Lady Farmer's daughter made these adorable ruffled sheets.  
I can't imagine how much one would pay for these in the store.

 The Farmer's youngest daughter made this market bag for her older sister.

A Quiet Book made for two special nieces by their Aunt, Lady Farmer's daughter.

 These precious nighties were also made by Lady Farmer's daughter.

Samantha from the Rielly Clan
The reason I think it is important to learn yourself and teach others to sew, is that it can be a great way to minister to others in a simple and not so simple way.  Also if the US ever has a full crash of your money we can be the ones to help others when they need it as it is no longer an every day skill.

Sherry B.
Here is my twist on your question about sewing and quilting.  I am a mom of 5 who never learned these skills (however I did know how to cross stitch when I was younger).  Sewing is a skill that you will use all your life.  From the beginning stages of making small gifts for friends and family to learning to make things for your children and grandchildren, this is truly a skill that can be used to bless others through every season.  As with anything, something new takes time to learn and time is not abundant thing right now, but it is so worth learning.  I enjoy learning along side my girls.  We had a friend teach some basics to my oldest daughter and she continues to teach the rest of us.  I believe that the skills that our grandparents knew and focused on in their younger years are the ones we should be learning as well…
Sherry is one of my dear friends and I happen to know that even though she says she doesn’t know how to sew, she is very gifted in other things.  I have received wonderful creative hostess gifts from her as well as notes in the mail that were penned with great thought and love.  She is also gifted in taking an old piece of furniture and turning it into a treasured decorator piece for her home.

Laura T.
Sewing has been a wonderful and useful skill in my life.  I have learned so many different things from it.  My mom taught me to sew when I was about seven and I have been sewing every since.  She has always been so patient and encouraging when I come to something I don’t understand and always helps me get through it.  She always has a new tip or trick for me to learn and I can’t wait to pass those tips on to my children in the future and I hope that my children will be able to share them with their children.

Laura was one of my quilting students in California.   
Above is a quilt she just made for her baby nephew.

I was taught to sew by a dear Home Economics teacher in a rural school in Wyoming where I still live.  She had so much patience with me.  I have a hard time focusing on one project at a time.  She helped me to break down the job into single steps, which has helped me in so many ways.  Without her guidance, I would have never learned an art that has given me so much pleasure throughout my life.
To pay it forward, I have been teaching sewing through a 4-H club for about 4 years.  I love teaching the girls and knowing that some day one of them might create a work of art that the whole world will revere.
 The ability to break down a job into single steps resulting in the ability to focus and finish a job is a very valuable skill.  What a wonderful teacher and d willing student.

I have found basic sewing knowledge to be a big money saver.  I think everyone, even guys, should learn enough basics to sew on a button.  For me, things like being able to make my own curtains for 1/3 or less of the price is very important to me.  Other skills I am working on to be abetter keeper at home one day are cooking and cleaning.  As a single woman living on my own, I have been trying to cultivate hospitality, which has been very rewarding.  I may not be the best cook, but I get practice by sharing my attempts with others.

 This quilt was pieced by Camille's Great Grandmother with flour sacks and later finished by her Grandmother.  What a beautiful family heirloom!

I grew up sewing on my mom’s 1960’s machine, which is now mine.  When we bought our home 15 year ago, we didn’t have money to hire someone to sew curtains for us.  So…that was my first project!  Since then I have redone the curtains on some of the windows.  It is a blessing to know how to sew and I plan to pass on the knowledge to our little girl.

Camille made these curtains for her home and save a lot of money.
Aren't they beautiful?


I hope you all enjoyed the testimonies of these wonderful ladies.  If you visit any of their blogs, be sure to thank them for their contribution to The Art of Sewing.

God bless you in your crafting endeavors

~ Christa ~


Lady Farmer said...

Thank you, Christa, for this beautiful tribute to women who sew! I appreciate the time that went into putting together all the stories and pictures that were shared. They are some very gifted ladies ~ teaching, creating and decorating!
And I will enjoy visiting some new blogs that I didn't know about, also!
Thanks again

Anonymous said...

I must say Christa, that sewing is my delight!

I have been sewing since my late twenties and enjoyed watching my grandmother sew dresses for me and my cousin.

My paternal aunts also sewed and maintained a sewing business out of their home.

Sewing to me is one of the ways I can express who I truly am...a woman of God!

Thank you dear friend for loving sewing as much as I do ;-)

many blessings to you,


Camille said...

WOW Christa!

What an ambitious post!! I read through it ALL ~ Thanks for taking the time to do it so nicely! I plan to refer back to you here at some point...just don't have the time to do it right now. :)

What a lovely tribute to the many ladies who are using sewing to make a HOME for their families! It is such a practical skill and rewarding too. It was great to read how sewing has been a blessing to so many!

Have a wonderful week my friend!
In His Love,

Nadine said...

What wonderful stories and photos! It has been fun reading through them!


Antoinette K. said...

I have enjoyed reading these stories as well, they are so neat and different than each other, yet have the same message to share! What a lovely post Mrs. S! :)


Miss. Antoinette K.

Cheesemakin' Mamma said...

What a fabulous post! I'm just dipping my big toe into the sewing world. Before I had kids I used to visit with my elderly neighbor who taught me how to quilt. She was a perfectionist and made me rip it out if I didn't have my points lined up exactly. When I look at a quilt, now I always look at the points :)

Miss Jen said...

Delightful post~
Sewing treasures for
our loved ones is
a rich heritage and
it's worth is 'far above rubies'

Love~ Miss Jen

{ jessica } said...

oh! I totally forgot about sending in the photographs you requested... I am SO sorry :(
What a great post though! Thanks for compiling it together :)