My Sewing Room
ears and years of sewing in the dining room or at the kitchen table, getting everything out, then having to put it all away (even when the project wasn’t finished yet) — never having a sewing room of my own, finally changed last fall when Joe and I went to the Brimfield Flea Market and found the perfect table for the space I had in mind, brought it home, and set up my first real sewing room.
t’s upstairs in a place we’ve always used as a sitting room, at the top of the stairs, between two bedrooms and now filled with fabric, my sewing machine, sewing baskets, the scissors I never use for anything but fabric, my pin cushions; everything in one place. I can get out my projects now and just leave them out until they’re done! You who have sewing rooms (and also, those who don’t!) know (or can imagine) the glory in this.
hen I was young, all of my “artist ways” went into sewing. I remember being perched on the big green armchair, next to my mom who was forming my fingers around needles and yarn, showing me how to knit; or how to sew, on the old black Singer that was always up in the corner of our kitchen; how to crochet, and embroider, all the needle arts…but the sewing and the embroidering really took with me. I took my babysitting money, and walked to the dime store where I bought those stamped fabric things; the pillowcases with the bluebirds stamped on them, the babies bibs with duckies, and embroidered them. I never developed the knack of crochet — just ran out of time. I’ve always loved hand-sewing best; for me it’s a hobby; I love to sit and knit with my girlfriends in the winter, and then of course, it’s wonderful to be able to make things I can’t get anywhere else. I love to walk though my house, look around, and hear myself say, “Made that; made that”… etc. My little score card.
y great grandmother used to embroider flour-sack dish towels and sent a box full of them to my mom every year for Christmas. She made all those Sunday – Monday ones you can still sometimes find in antique stores. She was the inspiration for this dishtowel I appliqued and embroidered for my mom when I was around eleven. I still love to make dishtowels. They take so little time, are almost instant gratification — a quick kitchen pick-me-up. By the time I was in the 8th grade, I made all my own back-to-school clothes — went to summer school just to take sewing classes. Can’t say too much for my ability…but I was fast. I remember the teacher saying she didn’t understand why something that looked so bad on the inside, could look so good on the outside. I chose to take that as a compliment.
ut where sewing really started to get fun was when I began making things for my house… sewing and embroidering curtains and pillows, dresser scarves, potholders, tea cozies, and pin cushions, I made everything…I made bedroom curtains out of old lace table cloths. I stitched my first patchwork quilt when I was about twenty — no lessons, as I’m sure you can tell by this photo of the quilt I made for friends for Christmas, when fabric could be had for twenty-five cents a yard, if you knew where to shop.
hen I was in my early 20’s, I thought I’d go into the pillow-making business. No one bought any, but I was in pillow heaven for years.
he best thing in my sewing room is my grandmother’s sewing basket. I wish I didn’t have it, because then it would still be on top of the armoire in her bedroom, but I do. The second best place. It’s not especially remarkable, except that it was hers, and still smells like her perfume. It’s filled with half-used packets of pins from the 1950’s; hooks and eyes sewn onto a card, packages of rick-rack, every color of thread (on wooden spools); buttons in a jar, her red pin cushion, her silver thimble. Like a family recipe box, it has has a history, essence of Grandma, and her years of button sewing are there; mending and hemming, probably collar turning, and I bet alot of day dreaming went on over that basket. So it’s mine now…and my grandma is in my sewing room.
f I hadn’t discovered painting, had done more sewing instead, and if I’d been lucky, maybe by now, I would be a clothing designer. I still get the urge, believe it or not. I have files full of these drawings….
very so often I go on a spree, drawing the things I wish I could find in stores; ideas for clothes I know I’ll never get around to making. This is what I mean when I say I wish they’d get ON with the invention of cloning. I would love to be in nine places, at least, at once. Is this asking too much? Apparently the answer (so far) is yes.
light of fancy — flight of fancy, I do so very much like those words.
My grandma’s sewing basket.Art and Content for Susanbranch.com is protected by registered copyrights.
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