Sunday, October 6, 2019

My Fabric Love/Addiction History

I love this cartoon from The Big Book of Bobbins by Julie Icenogle!

My love of fabric began in junior high school, when Mom let me choose patterns and cloth for my clothes at Ellard's, the local "dry goods" store in our tiny town. Mom was an excellent seamstress and made most of my dresses. I think I learned the rhythm of sewing by watching her, first at her pedal sewing machine, and then at her fancy new cabinet Singer.

When I was a freshman in high school, our home economics teacher introduced us to sewing. Our big project was to make a dress. After we assembled our dresses during class, we took them home to measure for the hem, then had to hem them by hand. I still remember neatly spacing the slip stitch we were required to use. My stitching was so good that my teacher did not believe I had hemmed the dress myself and thought my Mom had done it. Mom got very upset when I told her about this and made a trip to the school to set that teacher straight!

Before I learned to sew, Mom made two particularly memorable Palm Sunday and Easter dresses for me from the same pattern. One was a full skirt and jacket in lilac, and the other was a slim skirt and jacket in turquoise. Both had bolero jackets over a sleeveless dress. Mom and I felt very chic saying the word "bolero". She helped me choose the fabric for each dress. At age 13, I felt very grownup wearing these to church, with my first high heels. The pattern pictured above (which can be found here) is very similar to the pattern Mom used, except the dress was sleeveless.

After I got married, I began to buy fabric to sew for our home and family. I loved sewing clothing (I even made my husband a plaid suit!) and house decor, Halloween costumes, etc. A lot of my fabric was purchased at Hancock's, but there were a few nice local stores I loved to frequent. If a particular fabric caught my eye, I splurged and bought a few yards, even if I only had vague plans for it. Some of the fabric got put to good use, some of it just got admired.

During my husband's career, we followed his jobs in Oklahoma and Texas, and the moving process helped keep my yardage in check. When I packed, if I hadn't used it in 5 years, I gave it to Goodwill. Now I wish I still had some of those beautiful fabrics I gave away (I can still remember many of them!)

My first quilt stash and sewing room in 2012

My current fabric stash on hubby-built shelves

After I started quilting in 2010, my fabric purchases became quilting cottons instead of clothing and decor fabrics. I had no clue how to build up a good stash with neutrals, small prints, solids, and blenders. Instead I bought what appealed to me, purchasing many charm packs and bundles. Now that I have a few quilts under my belt, I buy yardage; but I'm still a sucker for a pretty bundle (see the two new Christmas bundles on the top shelf!)

So there you have a little history of my fabric love, but I did not include my love affair with yarn. That I will save for another post!

11 comments:

  1. I enjoyed reading this - your youthful moments with your mom and her sewing and then you sewing and moving and now quilting. It felt good reading it.

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    1. Well thanks Sandy, it felt good writing it! I guess I should write more of this kind of rambling. :)

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    2. you should. i love reading memories of people

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  2. This brings back so many similar memories! I can see and “feel” so many of those fabrics from early sewing. I always regret that I did not take home ec in high school. I think there was a schedule conflict. A friend of mine took it, and she made a dress, I sewed along to make a matching one. I would have hired you to do my hems. I hated that part, and an almost-finished garment could hang around for days before my mom prompted me to finish it. I’m really impressed with your discipline in weeding out fabric when moving. I bet some customers at Goodwill squealed with their luck when they discovered your donations.

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    1. I would have been happy to do your hems for free. It's something I enjoy to this day! I'm sure the Goodwill customers were surprised to find those fabrics. I actually weed out too much of everything when we move and end up wishing I hadn't. Thanks for sharing your memories here!

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  3. What a fun post you wrote, Linda! I grew up with a mom who sewed, too - she even made my wedding dress and a suit for Mike! I didn't quite inherit the love of sewing clothes, but was so happy to discover quilting ten years ago. The fun cartoon at the beginning is perfect!

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    1. Thanks a bunch Diann! I made my husband a suit in the early 1970s. I'll have to look for a picture of it - it was plaid of all things, and not a subtle plaid either. :D

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  4. Loved hearing your sewing history Linda and seeing your stash! It is always fun learning which fabrics appeal to others! Christine xx

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  5. Your sewing room is so neat. Mine is a total disaster. Do you know that I have had my sewing machine for a month now and have yet to plug it in? Awk!

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    1. My sewing room is only neat in the spots I photograph. ;)
      Plug in that sewing machine Pattie!

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