I grew up in a small town….but that didn’t stop me from wearing Vogue Paris Original designs to my school dances…because I could sew.
In the 1970’s, most young ladies and women sewed; at least the ones around me did. Yes, I took “Home Economics” in junior high – but I didn’t like the exacting methods and skills that were required. I branched out on my own, and stayed up till the wee hours sewing creations I would then wear to school. It was very satisfying to be able to do that! I didn’t care that the seams weren’t finished nicely inside…that came years later.
And where did the patterns and fabrics come from? First they came from a quiet, elegant fabric store on our town’s main street. I remember it having a solemn ambiance. We would quietly flip through the pages of the pattern catalogues, whispering and consulting with a friend or sister, and finally decide on “the one”, then find some fabric that was suitable, and take our treasure-to-be home with us and get busy.
Later, my good friend’s family bought a fabric store in the mall, (still a new-ish concept in 1974, in our town), and I worked with my friend at the store after school on Thursday and Friday nights. What fun we had, operating the store together. My pay cheques always went to fabric purchases. Many projects were always hovering in a queue, as I had the time to mull over all the options in the store when it was quiet. We also modeled our creations in occasional mall fashion shows. It was such an exciting time for a 16 year old….and it stoked the fire of my growing creative spirit.
It still comes in handy, this skill….mending and patching and altering clothes for myself and my son, extending their life with a little tweak here or there. It also partners nicely with vintage and thrift shop finds that are wonderful, but maybe not quite the right size or fit. I’m lucky to have a little station set up in the basement at the ready, which makes it much easier to tackle these tasks.
I had a gala to go to the other weekend. The day before, I decided I didn’t feel comfortable in the gown I planned to wear. I went down to my favorite consignment store, found a fabulous gown for $25.00 and the morning of the gala I hemmed it up (it was a couple inches too long but otherwise perfect).