I just want to say that there's sewing, and then there's sewing.
Emily made this pillow yesterday.
It's quite an ordinary pillow - two rectangles sewn together, stuffed partway through the process, and sewn up completely by the end. She decorated it with fabric markers and presented it to the younger sister whose BFF it was made for.
The appropriate thank-you was said, and Bunny (the BFF) went to bed with a new pillow.
While it was all happening, I'd watched the proceedings in a semi-distracted haze - I'd been working on Owie Doll accessories and cooking supper and therefore, mentally, I wasn't quite all there.
And, besides, making and creating happen all the time in this house, right? This was an evening like many others here.
Later, when my mind was empty again, I thought back over the day.
And it hit me like a ton of bricks:
My eleven-year old is now an independent seamstress.
Let me break it down for you - those proceedings that I'd watched in my fog of dinner prep and glossed over as if they were status quo.
This child made this pillow all by herself. That is not a big deal for those of you whose children are already handmaking their own garments at age 5.
It is, however, a big deal for me because she made it all by herself.
Specifically, all by herself, she decided she wanted to make something for Kate.
And, all by herself, she got out her sewing supplies, made her measurements, added her SA, cut out the fabric, stitched away on my sewing machine, stuffed the pillow, sewed up the opening, and embellished it. And cleaned up after.
While I was upstairs preparing supper.
And not in the same room helping her.
All I remember was her asking, "Mom, can I sew this up myself? I know how to use the sewing machine."
"I know how to use the sewing machine."
If that isn't music to a sewing mother's ears, I don't know what is.
Even more of a big deal to me, is how she made the pillow.
Did you miss it in that earlier paragraph?
Here: I'll show you the bit that blew my mind -
"And, all by herself, she got out her sewing supplies, made her measurements, added her SA, cut out the fabric, stitched away on my sewing machine, stuffed the pillow, sewed up the opening, and embellished it."
My eleven-year-old had just taken her very first step on the amazing journey we call drafting.
No templates. No patterns. No blog tutorials. No Sewing School textbooks;
she simply eyeballed Bunny, measured her fabric according to the user of her finished project, visualized her seam allowances, added them around her seamlines in her layout, and cut.
And sewed her first independent project.
(And I missed it, because I was cooking.)
Now, the tailoring journey is a long one, and it will be quite some years before Emily - or her sisters - are able to draft and sew prom dresses and suchlike. But this is how it begins. And while I'm slowly working with my kids on easy stuff like toys and bags, I am always thinking about how to introduce them to garment-making. I will confess that I had seriously considered starting them out with commercial patterns, because it's an easy shortcut, and because it's the way it's done here in the US, where they'll be living (and hopefully sewing) for most of their lives.
But now, I think that maybe, they might be ready to sew old-school. After all, it isn't about whether the project is simple or challenging; it's about how we make it, how we get from start to finish. As my Aunt Laura always says, "If you can visualize it, you can sew it." It's the mindset, the philosophy: if you can draft a bag, or a pillow, you can draft a garment.
I'm not in a hurry. I'm happy to wait for them to be ready, for them to be the ones to say, "Mom, I need to make a skirt. Can I sew it? I know how to use the sewing machine."
And when that happens, I'll say, "Well, then, cooking can wait. Let's order in, and I'll get out the drafting paper."