Many of the women in my family can sew, hand-stitch, tailor, crochet, knit--anything to do with fabric and fibers. I grew up watching them piece cloth and threads together by hand or machine, steadily slice through fabric with sharp shears, and smile when the final stitch brought it all together. These things I saw and continue to carry on.
My mom and granny have been a great influence on my sewing abilities. With mom, we used to work on projects together like making clothes or quilting with a sewing machine. You can bet she made my Halloween costumes, as well as for my little sister and brother. She was always sewing something to decorate the house, like curtains, bedding, or a quilt. I remember that she really enjoyed sewing baby clothes and blankets too, as she made a lot of ours and has kept them tucked away safely. She always seemed so patient, calm, and relaxed while sewing a project. She would take me shopping for fabric when I wanted to make something. Everyone knew her there and really liked her. She also worked at the local fabric store for quite sometime. Mom still enjoys sewing and I enjoy showing off to her what I'm making.
Granny is a seamstress and sewed wedding gowns for beautiful brides-to-be in our hometown and surrounding areas. I remember she would hand-stitch lace, sequin, and beads to the dresses. They were gorgeous! Sometimes she'd have me put them on so that she could adjust the hem. They were, of course, too big for me to actually fit, but the soft and shiny satin made me feel elegant for a brief moment. That was her profession and source of income for her family. Granny would make bridesmaids dresses, tailor men's suits, wedding accessories---she can pretty much whip up anything. When we'd be out shopping she'd take a look at a piece of clothing, then the ridiculous price tag, and say with a bit of sass her famous quote, "I can make that."
It seems our talent is a genetic inheritance. My great-great grandmother taught her daughter to sew, my great-grandmother taught granny to sew, and granny taught my mom. Our best guess is that this skill, this art and craft, runs even further back than we could even imagine. Granny first started teaching me when I was 5 years old how to do a basic hand-stitch with a needle and thread. From there she gave me my first sewing machine to which I had until I was roughly 19 or 20 years. To this day she is still tailoring wedding dresses.
My grandma (dad's mom) and about 3 (out of 5!)of her daughters, mis tías, can all sew too. Grandma sews a lot of kitchen items like aprons, placemats, napkins that are hand-embroidered. I know she made clothes for her children, grandchildren, and still does for her great grandchildren. A couple years ago I was down in California for the holidays and she pulled out a drawer full of blankets and quilts she'd made from when I was young. It was a strange nostalgia for me, I remembered a few of them and had glimpses of my time spent at my grandparents house cuddled up on the old leather couch. I learned to crochet from her though I didn't keep up with it as much the way she has. I still have some pot holders she gave me years back as a Christmas gift, as well as a couple aprons which get used often, and embroidered hand-towels that I will never ever use because they are much too precious to be dirtied. Something I always remember her doing was crocheting hats for the elderly through her church. Likely, she still does this.
Unfortunately, there aren't any old photos of my grandma sewing, at least none that she or anyone else could find. However, my mom found this old picture of me in a dress that grandma made for me and I shamelessly decided to share it here to make you smile.
Thanks for reading this little bit of family history of mine! I'm excited to start posting my threads soon and share my sew-ventures with you.