I sew because I love to. I didn’t when I was younger. It was a chore as I was growing up.
However, as a young child, I was fortunate to have bespoke, tailor hand made clothes as I grew up (my dad was a businessman and my mum had 11 children. She was always immaculately drsssed, not a hair out of place and so were we ) I know what good quality and fine tailoring is. It’s now we call bespoke nowadays. Designer wear unless it’s high end in £000’s is still churned out through piece work and the quality in designer clothes shops is not that much better than the lower end of the market.
Clothes were made well then, with time taken to have an invisible zip truly invisible, all clothes lined and the finest lace hand made in dyed colours matching fabric exactly.
As I got older, my dad slowed down, and business wasn’t so good. I was finding myself sewing more and more in a family growing from the 13 that we were for a long time, to the addition of nieces and nephews. I was hating sewing. I couldn’t get the quality of work I know I would always want, but we needed clothes and bedding, curtains, tea towels….
i stopped sewing for a few years as I grew up through college and university to study sciences and engineering … I say stopped. Just a dress here and there through necessity but when I married and went onto marrying my husband, I found myself opening a fabric shop. Then I had three ladies working for me, sewing for my customers, but their quality was abysmal compared to what I wanted. People don’t take pride in their work, or time to sew well. I closed down the shop when my husband was offered better work in a different country, s we moved. I sewed a lot of things for the kids, clothes, toys, things that’d need replacing like the baby’s bouncer chair covers, and around the home as the children grew up, school plays. I’ve never stopped.
My kids are older, I teach sewing to children and to adults. It’s not seen or considered an art, or enjoyable, it’s seen a skill people need to learn. I prefer it as an art, as therapy. It’s in my blood and in my veins. I don’t think I’ll ever be as good as those whose work I admired and remember as a child, but I’ll keep trying.
I sew for pleasure, it relaxes me and it’s my day off. I didn’t realise it until now, but I think it’s also for the reminder of my family’s happy times, when my father was still with us, a younger man able to dress his beautiful wife as his queen and 7 daugheters as princesses. I miss those days, and even though I don’t sit and consciously think this every time I sew, I do feel a happy knowing my family gave me a skill that brings love to my life. I love dressing my daughter who’s finally through the phase of not wanting handmade clothes, I’m loving making beautiful clothes for her so she can dress like a princess too. But I love making all sort of things for my boys. I’ve taught all four of mine to sew, why not? They’ve got a piece of me with them and it’ll hopefully stay with them forever, just like my parents love for good quality fashion and style.