I have friends that would be shocked at how a person could go through nearly 12 years of parenting without a sewing machine in the house.
I have often held friends that can sew (or knit or crochet!) in high esteem, as well as being in awe of the amazing things they create. When I first arrived in New Zealand, as a young twenty-something, I quickly realised how unskilled I was in many homely pursuits (everyone I met could sew and bake – really bake – and, well, at that point in my life the thought of baking filled me with fear!).
I am ashamed to say that my personal sewing skills have never gone much further than hand stitching a loose hem, sewing on a button or making the occasional felted puppet. I did make a skirt, once, on a proper sewing machine. I did it at school and it was a painful process. Since there wasn’t a lot of sewing happening in my home (apart from the occasional fix up of a garment – which my Dad was very clever at doing) I quickly forgot everything I’d learned in school. I was fortunate that my Dad’s Mum was incredibly talented at creating summer dresses for my sister and I on the sewing machine, as well as lovely knits to keep us warm in winter.
My own daughters, in New Zealand, have been gifted with beautiful dresses sent to them from their grandparents in England. My Mum-in-law knitted some gorgeous clothes for them when they were in their early years. I have been so thankful to them, but always felt lacking somewhat in the ‘Mum’ stakes at not being a sewer (or a knitter). I did finally face my fear of baking (when the children learned to speak they asked to bake – and I swallowed my fear and faced the flour).
So… here I am, with my 11 year old daughter returning home from school having LOVED sewing a ‘Tote bag’. She has not only picked up, with ease, the skills to use a sewing machine, but been further interested to research other things she’d like to make at home… if only we had a sewing machine.
Meanwhile, my middle daughter, (now 9) used to want to sew, with a passion, when she was around six. I tried to deter her with hand stitching projects. A friend with amazing sewing skills (she used to own her own business making wedding gowns!) did spend a couple of sessions kindly giving her some tips, but I sheepishly steered my daughter to other creative pursuits that I could do with her at the time. So, with my oldest daughter now skilled in using a machine it was time to finally make that purchase, buy a sewing machine, and foster the enthusiasm to ensure my daughters felt empowered to sew!
I’m delighted with the purchase. My daughter’s first home project was making an organiser to store her sewing things:-
She has also been incredibly patient and kind in teaching her nine year old sister some basic skills.
And then there’s my 5 year old, who has benefitted greatly from her older sister’s creativity already. She’s been made a skirt and scarf for her bear, as well as a lovely cushion (with the initial of her first name on it):
I can’t wait to see what other creations are made on the sewing machine and it’s lovely for the girls to learn together (though of course this doesn’t always happen harmoniously!).
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