Growing up in a small town in North Carolina, I was taught by my mother to sew aprons from handkerchiefs and grosgrain ribbon at age 6. In junior high and high school, I won prizes in 4-H dress reviews, and I made most of the clothes I wore to college. I bought a Kenmore sewing machine with summer job money the year after my first year at Wake Forest.
That machine went with me though early jobs, several moves, marriage, divorce, and another marriage. I made a tailored wool suits, bridesmaids dresses, and a wedding gown.
Back then, North Carolina was the center of textile manufacturing. There were numerous fabric outlets, and quality fabric was available and relatively inexpensive (compared to “‘store-bought” clothes), especially if you rummaged through the remnant barrels.
Over the intervening years, I did some home decor sewing, but I spent a lot time on career, gardening, painting, and other interests. I had less free time and more money, so I bought most of my clothes. The choices weren’t always exciting, but I found things to wear.
Since I retired, I’ve been looking for some different pieces to add more art into my wardrobe. I’ve discovered a renewed interest in sewing. I saw the costume exhibit at the Columbia Museum of Art, met some people on the trip to Canada who are into textile art, and visited an “art to wear” boutique on a recent trip to Asheville. When I get ready to sew, I found out that… oh my gosh, the fabric stores have closed! Or have only quilting fabrics! No one is sewing anymore! How could this have happened?
Well, it’s not quite that bad. Designers are making patterns, and some people are sewing garments. But fabric shopping is online, patterns are downloadable pdf files, new fabrics have names like digital prints and scuba knits. It’s going to take some time to figure this out, but I’m ready for a new adventure. In the video below, I invite you to come in and see how I have set up my studio for sewing.
So, what do you think of my new adventure? Do you make clothes? What are favorite sources for fabrics and patterns? Are you interested in hearing more about my experiments, or do you just wish I’d stick to painting. Let me know your thoughts in the comments.