Monday, April 21, 2014

Living More With Less: Sewing

Remember sewing? If you came up in the seventies and eighties it may have been something they still taught in school.

I learned how to sew from my mother, who learned from her grandmother, who taught her to sew on a peddle powered machine. We always had the sewing machine set up and ready to go. My mother made us costumes and prom dresses, and we would do our own hems and peg leg our jeans before they were called "skinny."

As my mother told the story, Chula, who lived through the Mexican War, said, "you can always have work if you know how to sew." In her opinion, you could always set up a sewing machine under a tree and do some mending. It's not a bad idea. Thus, I grew up with the understanding the sewing is a good skill to have.

In fact, when I was in my early 20's and in the Army, my mother brought me a sewing machine and Chula's words rang true. Before I knew it, I had a line of people outside my barracks room door of fellow soldiers who needed mending done.

I've had a number of machines since then. I've found that the newer ones aren't very sturdy, and jam pretty easily. I was lucky enough to find an old Kenmore machine recently. It weighs almost 20 pounds, but I'm betting it can take four layers of denim no problem.

So now, once again, I sew. I enjoy the act of mending. I fix popped seams, pockets and belt loops all to make what I have last a little longer. Sewing is something that connects me to my past, but is done with the future in mind, and it reminds me that with a little know-how, worth can be restored. I take pride in being able to fix what others might throw away. And if it can't be fixed, then it can be repurposed. More on that later...

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