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There’s no business like Sew business

 

From an early age I have been mad about sewing. Making clothes for my dolls and poor, long-suffering, dog (this was long before it was the done thing to dress up your dog), with my kiddies sewing machine.

Perhaps the interest began when my sisters and I played with paper dolls and drew and cut out the dolls and made new clothes for them. It was great fun as one could be so creative. We would happily spend the entire afternoon in this pursuit.

There’s no people like sew people

There's no people like sew people

The other great influence was that I had two great-aunts and an aunt who were dressmakers and Milliners. We would visit them when in Durban. I was rather frightened of my great aunt Flo, she was pretty fierce. It could have been that as she was completely deaf, she spoke in a rather strange way, or so it seemed to me as a child. The other great aunt Ethel, was sweet but didn’t say much, smiled a lot and made scrumptious cakes for tea. Think she was rather dominated by Auntie Flo.

They were always busy sewing when we got there. I don’t remember ever sitting in the sitting-room but always in the sewing area. Such a feast for the eyes. So much color and threads and fabrics. Ooooh, could drool just remembering it all. I guess some people would call it clutter but to me was pure bliss.

It was fascinating to fiddle around with all the trimmings, buttons and feathers and all the other notions one doesn’t see nowadays.

Of course the great-aunts weren’t too happy with me (playing) with their things but if I promised to roll up all the ribbons, tapes, rickrack etc. Put all the glorious buttons and bits and bobs away, they would put up with it.

How I wish I had inherited their button bottles. What treasures there were in them. Unfortunately I was living nowhere near them when they died and the aunt who cleared up the house threw all the (rubbish) out. She had no interest in sewing. Such a pity.

My Mother. Having three daughters, also sewed and knitted for her family. She had an old singer sewing machine which she allowed me to use. It was quite a while before I was allowed this great honor as money was in short supply and we couldn’t waste it on materials that might be spoiled.When I eventually was able to buy some fabric with my pocket money, this took a while to collect enough as it was sixpence a week, it was such fun to pick out enough fabric to make myself a blouse. Naturally I had to have Mom around when I used the machine.

My oldest sister, Pat, was exceptionally gifted at sewing, knitting and crochet, (she knitted a complete outfit, or layette as it was then called, for my brother. She was 5 at the time. I have yet to see anyone knit or crochet or knit, as fast as Pat. She sticks her knitting needles under her arms and just goes like a boeing. When she came to me to fetch my 92 year old mother to go and live with her in New Zealand, she stayed for a week and in that time knitted a jersey and beanie for each of my 5, at that time,( have 7 now) grandchildren. It was quite amazing.

When Pat needed to use Mom’s machine she obviously had first crack at it, being the oldest. Thank heavens Gaye, the next in line was not a bit interested in using the machine or perhaps the yearning to sew might have passed me by.

My lovely cousin Joy, who was only 10 years younger than my Mom, so we all called her Auntie Joy, lived on a small-holding outside of Que Que in Rhodesia (as it was then, now Zimbabwe). Having six children and being an extremely talented person particularly when it came to gardening and sewing, was also a great inspiration in my life.

She had a singer sewing machine but with the added bonus of having a treadle peddle. That takes some getting used to but Joy was kind enough to teach me how to use it. She also made me a lovely red and white dress which became a firm favorite until I sadly grew out of it.

I took ballet lessons in Que Que and so would walk out to the (farm), as we children called Rangeview, and spent wonderful afternoon with all the cousins until it was time to walk back into Que Que and catch the bus to travel the 10 miles back to Redcliff, where we lived.

The walk there was rather long but the road was lined with beautiful Jacaranda trees in the town and out on the dirt road was lined with indigenous trees which formed a complete arch over the road. It was no hardship to walk there and back

. It was a huge shock to me to learn, when I grew older, that Rangeview was not a farm but a small-holding of 10 acres or so. Gosh, how we all loved it. Such happy memories.

Sew Prop

Sew Props

The first sewing machine I owned was an Empsal given to me by my parents for my 21st birthday.

Matt and I used to foster children from the Johannesburg Childrens Home and also from the Queenstown Childrens Home and whenever we collected them and I sorted out the clothes they had been sent with, I knew I would need to go shopping for fabric. With so many children to feed and clothe am not surprised that they sent clothes which were in such poor condition.

It was very sad but I really enjoyed the challenge and when they went back to the home I made sure they all had lovely new dresses, pajamas, dressing gowns and panties to match their dresses, which was the usual thing in those days.

How we loved those children and we were very keen to adopt but the law was that there had to be 25 years between you and the child you wanted to adopt and these were too old and we too young. It broke our hearts when we took them back.

They would be back with us for the next holidays and then the sewing would start up again. I often wondered who got all the new things I had made the holiday before as it wasn’t possible that they could have outgrown them already.

The Empisal came to an untimely end when my second son took it to pieces when I was out. I was quite devastated as you can imagine.  One day I came home to find a brand new Bernina sewing machine on my bed, as a surprise from my dear husband. What excitement, that was all of 43years ago and I can recall it as though it were yesterday.

My word, did I make that machine earn its keep. What joy it brought me.

When we moved to Port Elizabeth I became very friendly with our dentists wife who was also mad about sewing and had a beautifully set up sewing room. For a few days each week I would cart my trusty Bernina over to Lorna, fabrics, patterns and all the parafernalia, we would sew until it was time for me to collect children from nursery school.

Variety Sews

Lorna and I then decided we wanted to go further with our sewing and enrolled at the Technical College in Port Elizabeth to do courses in tailoring, I had done a course in pattern making in Grahamstown, when Matthew, my husband, was studying at Rhodes to become a Presbyterian Minister.

It was time to learn a new skill, hence the tailoring. Many of the clothes we wore then were tailored. Suits, slack suits, dresses and jackets etc. So very chic.

While in Port Elizabeth a very kind soul donated 56 huge boxes of woolen knitted fabric to the church. I was asked if I could do anything with it or should they donate it elsewhere. Wow, what a bonus.

I should have recorded the number of tracksuits, dresses, tops and jerseys I made but I didn’t. All I know it was a huge number and all done on my Bernina which had never given a spot of bother.

I bought a cut and trim foot for my Bernina, which, as it overlocked the edges it trimmed the excess fabric away, this helped tremendously. At that stage I didn’t own an overlocker.

The Church benefited and so did I with all that experience. The wife of the friend who donated the fabric, knew how busy I was with the sewing and came and did my housecleaning while I carried on with the sewing. It was rather strange to me to have someone else cleaning up after me but she insisted and I was truly grateful.

We are friends to this day.New Sew Prop

New Sew – Prop Change

The next move was to a small town in Northern Natal called Vryheid, which means Freedom. Matt had a call to the Church there and so off we went.

Shortly after we arrived in Vryheid, I started teaching gym classes in the Church Hall and saw a need for gym wear so off I went to Durban and sourced all the various fabrics which would be necessary to make leotards, more tracks suits and managed to find an outlet factory-shop in a town nearby who supplied us with legwarmers. Yes, they were very fashionable then!

It was then I realized as good as my Bernina was, I needed an overlocker and ordered one from Cape Town. It is a 3 strand Babylock. This great little machine has worked overtime for me for the past 36 years.

While we lived in Vryheid I began teaching dressmaking , also in the Church Hall. We had tremendous fun and I sincerely hope that some of my pupils are still sewing and making gorgeous garments.

At one time I decided to make a change and hinted for a 5 thread Elna which my dear husband bought for me for the next Christmas but unfortunately as I have rather poor eyesight (that is putting it mildly) I could not cope with the threading and gave it to my daughter-in-law, Janet and she still uses it. Thank goodness I didn’t get rid of my Babylock.

The next stage of my sewing career called for different skills as I was asked t make wedding dresses and matric (prom) dresses. This was such a fun time as was able to use my skills of pattern making and design.

The Drama of the Sew

When it became difficult to make wedding dresses due to my eyesight and so many almost invisible crystal beads to be sewn on with invisible thread, with a thin needle with an almost invisible eye. Although I have a super light ,with a magnifying glass, it was a battle for me to thread the needle. it was time to begin something new, hence my venture into the world of medical garments.

My word, what a change that was.

We had a very dear lady in our congregation who made breast prosthetics and she called me one day to invited me around as she wanted to speak to me about something. It was with great curiosity that I set off.

This dear soul had been making prosthetics for years and had clients from all around the world and she found her eyesight failing and asked if I would take over the business from her if she taught me how to make them. It was a wonderful thing to work with her and she taught me so much.

That day changed my life and for the next eight years I had the privilege of being able to make garments for a great number of people all over the country who were in need of garments that would make their lives more comfortable and easier to bear.

The referrals were always from Doctors or Specialists. Had many very interesting and challenging cases and loved using my creativity and problems solving skills to work out what would be best for each person.

These are some of the garments I made for those suffering with different problems.

  • Breast Prosthetics and bras and bathing costume
  • Stoma hernia belts for people who developed hernias after their operations for colon cancer.
  • Special wear for the problem of living with a prolapsed bowel.
  • Supports for keeping people secure in their wheelchairs.
  • Incontinence garments, Pretty with lace and bows for the ladies and normal looking underpants for the gents
  • Draw sheets
  • gadgets for helping to hold a pen or pencil which attached to the finger

I Worked a lot with the Stomal Therapy Association of South Africa and also made various items for people with Multiple Sclerosis. Attended their meetings and conferences, to see what would be helpful to their members. It was such a fascinating and rewarding time.

I had this business, which was called Lexies,( Named for my Mother who was also Alexa) for eight or nine years and then gave it over to a friend of mine who carried on with it. At that time had my elderly Mother still living with me and she was requiring more of my time.The Sew must go on

The Sew must go on

As I always need to have a project to hand and being involved in the Church Outreach Group we hosted parties at athe Maitland Cottage Hospital, which is a hospital for children from all over Africa, who require long term hospitalization. They are usually disabled in some way or have had orthopedic surgery.

I suggested to the group that we make pretty quilts for their beds to cheer the wards up. Not all of the group ladies are able to sew but they contributed by collecting fabric or donated money to buy suitable fabric.

When I was phoning around to find the best price for batting I spoke to Dot, who owned one of the quilting shops and she suggested I go in and see her. This I did and when I told her what we were planning, she asked when we wanted these done by. When I told her, she offered that her quilter would quilt them for us when she wasn’t busy with other work.

I was thrilled by this amazing generosity and once we had 20 quilts ready to be put together took them along only to find that the quilter had quit her job. I suggested that I learn to use the machine and do them myself. It ended up with me working there for close on two years and learning such a lot.

Not only how to use the big quilting machines but also to do free motion quilting. I also did all the quilting on the big quilting machine, for the shop and ours in between. and on my off days.

Will always be very grateful to Dot of Dot’s Quilts and Una, for their loving help. If it wasn’t for their generosity I would in all probability still be hard at work finishing them off.  All in all we made 68 quilts for the hospital.

Quilting became a passion of mine and I have made a number of quilts for family members and also for orders. All the quilts I have made since the ones for the hospital have been done on my little Bernina. All free motion quilted. Have made up to King Sized quilts which can be a bit tricky on a small machine but there is a knack to it.

A very close friend in Krugersdorp had begun to sew with an embroidery machine, a Husqavana and when we went to visit her, she introduced me to the joys of machine embroidery. What a great time we had.

Have spent so many holidays with Kirsty and usually took my sewing machine up with me and we would spend hours sewing together.

She gave me a new Bernina 1500 which although is not an embroidery machine has a lot of embroidery stitches on it. That was my introduction to embroidery on a machine. That Bernina is the machine I currently use as I have now given my original machine to my grand-daughter Kate.

Kirsty wanted to upgrade her Husqavarna and instead of trading it in, she chose to get a Brother Embroidery Machine and gave me the Husqavarna as a gift. I think she now has a Brother Embroidery Machine again, but the big one.

I passed on the Husqavarna. to my  daughter-in-law, Kelly when Kirsty passed the Brother on to me. This Brother is a pleasure to work with. Hope you can keep track of all of the to-ing and fro-ing of machines.

My one big sadness is that Kirsty is living so far away from me and we can no longer get together for our sewing sessions. She taught me such a lot about the embroidery machine and we have both made so many great items as gifts and for sale over these 45 wonderful years of our friendship.

She was the first friend I made when we went to serve our first Church which was in Krugersdorp. In all the years Kirsty and I have lived in different cities, I was able to travel either by car or fly to visit her and always took my sewing machine with me. I won’t even mention the amount I have paid the airways for excess luggage over the years.

We would happily sew together all day, having to remind each other to eat or have tea. Food was the last thing on our mminds.

Such fun times.

Its Sew Time

Have always felt that there is a time and place for everything, especially sewing.

Did however, learn the hard way that what might be the right time for me, was not always the right time for my neighbors. Soon after Matthew and I married (all of 53 years ago) we lived in an apartment block. I had made a shirtwaister dress and really wanted to wear it the following day and was finishing off the belt.

My dear husband gaily hammered in the eyelets not realizing how late it was. The next day we were buying something at the cafe when we saw one of our neighbors who commented on the noise the evening before.

Only after we left her did we realize it was we who were disturbing the peace.

Forthcoming Attractions

Forthcoming Attractions …….

Would love to hear from all you avid sewers out there. Perhaps you have unique sewing projects that you can tell us about.

What are the 5 things you can’t do without in your sewing room?

Mine would probably be:

  1. Bernina sewing machine
  2. Overlocker
  3. rotary cutter and self healing mat
  4. good scissors
  5. tape measure (always measure at least twice, before cutting) and really good quality pins.

Happy sewing everyone.

CHEERS!

Jill

Jill Alexa

Jill of all Trades. Master of Many. Virtual Assistant to Lauren Kinghorn. Too busy to die.

99 Comments

  1. Yet another stunning post, Ma. Your cute, clever headlines made me giggle. I learn so much about you every time I read your gorgeous articles. Thank you for all the amazing things you made for me over the years. I remember you working throughout the night before one of my birthday’s to sew colourful ribbons on my new night gown to make it extra special. Then of course there was all the hours and hours of loving care you sewed into every stitch of my beautiful Matric dance and wedding dresses. And our magnificent quilts. And so many, many other precious, stylish items of clothing over the years. You are a superb seamstress.

    • Thank you my darling, I always loved sewing for you, just not with pink fabric. You are so kind with your comments and I really value them. Fond love Mom

      • Haha, and the weird thing is, since I became a Mom myself, I’m quite partial to pink. Absolute pleasure, thoroughly enjoying your posts. Keep writing.

    • Jill, I enjoyed your post from start to finish! In fact I wish there had been more about your life and your sewing machines, I will just have to come back and read more posts. You present your facts in an entertaining manner, and your life is one anyone would be proud of I think. You are a blessing to your husband, your children, your family, and your friends. It is a beautifully designed website, and I wish you every success.

  2. Hi, Jill. Wow, You really know your stuff regarding sewing. I think it’s pretty much a lost art today. When I was young my mom sewed our clothes, dresses for the girls and shirts and pants for the boys. She even made me a suit once when I was about 12 years old.
    When i got married my wife sewed some, but after a while the cost of patterns and cloth, etc., began to outweigh the cost of just buying clothes, so she quit. Maybe someday the art of sewing will come back. Thanks for your post.

    • hi Grant. I know fabric can cost a lot but I found overall that I can still manage to make clothes that cost less than buying  ready made garments and have the satisfaction of keeping up my skills. Hope your wife gives it another go. Thanks for the comment. All the best. Jill

  3. Like Grant said I think that sewing is a lost art. My grandmother used to sew and taught my younger brother how to sew. Who knows maybe I’ll take it up one day. If so I will be coming to this site for sure. So detailed and I definitely can learn a lot from you.

    • Hi Owain, Thank you so much for your lovely comment. Sewing is such a rewarding occupation. Perhaps I was a bit too long winded but was enjoying just being me. Maybe you will take it up one day. All the best. Jill

  4. Great info. Love reading your backstory on sewing!
    My mom learned how to sew from her mom, and she passed that knowledge down to my sister. She enjoyed cross-stitching and sewing in her free time, and really inspired me to let loose with my creative side with many of my projects and hobbies.

    • Hi Jacob, Am so pleased that you commented on my site. I know its not for everyone but I so enjoyed your post and did hope you would like mine too. Your Mom sounds like a really wonderful person. Hope you still have time for projects and hobbies. All the best, Jill

  5. Hey Jill! Loved your post. You always keep me engaged, even though I have no sewing knowledge. I only know pretty much the basics and am quite afraid of sewing machines. Lol! I always imagine my finger getting caught in those needles.
    I grew up with a mother that had a passion for arts and crafts and I remember she would sew up dresses for dolls she made herself, for us to play with. I rather regret not having inherited her sewing talents, but I am grateful she has inspired me in other aspects of the arts.
    Lastly, I just wanted to say what a great human being you are and sharing your talents to help those in need. You are truly a gift. I wish you all the best!

    • Hi Kate, What a great comment to write for me and my post. I am so touched. I have had a needle go through my finger and also had a needle break and shoot the point into my eye which needed attention. So sewing and I guess most hobbies have their dangers. Just taught me to be a bit more careful. All the best. Jill

  6. What an amazing post Jill. I read every word to the end. I’m an avid sewer as well and couldn’t do without quality scissors (which I won’t let anyone else touch, haha), long sharp pins and my Husqvarna. My grandmother taught me how to sew as soon as I was big enough to sit at a sewing machine, and was self taught after that. My mom passed her Brother machine to me when I was first married and it was well used until my daughter got engaged. I had always promised her I’d make her wedding dress, but my poor machine couldn’t handle any more, so I finally purchased my first machine, a Husqvarna. I use it to this day, happily sewing for my grandchildren.
    Blessings,
    Suzanne

    • Hi Suzanne, Am so pleased you read my post and such a great comment. I didn’t realize it would end up so long but when I got going there was so much to say. Now I have interviewed my first “STAR” of the Sew and will hopefully be writing about her soon. Have another interview tomorrow. All very exciting. I loved my Husqvarna so much but as I had the Brother embroidery machine decided to give it to Kelly who was also keen on sewing. also made Laurens’ wedding dress and it gave me so much pleasure.
      Love and blessings,
      Jill

  7. Hi, Jill,
    Thank you for your lovely post! I admire you how persistent you are about persuading your happiness!
    I am considering to start sewing, and your message touched me and inspired me!

    • Hi Valeria, It was so kind of you to write to me. I do hope you begin sewing and learn to enjoy it as much as I do. Good luck. Lovely to meet you. Please thank Anton. I do things like sending things twice all the time. Best wishes, Jill

  8. Hi Jill and thank you for writing this great and inspiring post about sewing. I must, however, confest, that I don’t know anything about sewing. I have of course tried to fix some button that got lost on my shirt but that’s all I have done.
    //Patrik

  9. Hi – I’ve always had a passion for sewing, done it through high school and that’s were I made my first garment. I really enjoyed the time making the dresses for my wedding and it just gave everything that more personal touch. I think when you make something yourself one gets emotionally attached which is a special thing. Great post!!!

    • Hi Kelly, Thank you so much for commenting. You made such a wonderful job of all the dresses for your wedding. I wish you had more time to sew now. Your time will come. Love, Mom

  10. Wow,
    you have covered so much information here. I loved the story of your Aunts. s. My mum too used to be always at her sewing machine. It brought back some great memories I just loved watching her work.

    I cannot think of one thing you could have missed out. You are a pro at this. What a fabulous post and how in engaging it is too. So full of excellent Information.

    I am looking forward to reading more of your blogs in the future. Definitely saved in my favourites list for sure.

    Thank you ~Deborah.

    • Hi Deborah,
      Thank you so much for the fabulous comments. As you can tell am passionate about sewing and all things sewing related. Also love painting but now with Wealthy Affiliate cannot do that too.
      Have just published a post about my first “Star of the Sew
      Hope you enjoy. Best wishes, Jill

  11. Hello Jill! Thank you for sharing your sewing passion. I love your clever play of words in the headlines.

    I do sew a little here and there. I made my son a blouse, my husband a blouse, and my daughter a dress. I also sewn a baby weighted blanket and called it the Beebee Blanket. I sold a few but didn’t pursue it further when my singer sewing machine broke.

    I have forgotten all about sewing until I read your article. It reminded me of my sewing projects and how I enjoyed making them. I am so glad you followed your passion. It has blossomed over the years. Thank you for sharing. It is very inspiring.

    • Hi Roda, Thank you for the lovely comments. So glad it reminded you of your time sewing for your family. Perhaps you will feel inspired to get another machine and begin again.
      Best wishes, Jill

  12. I really enjoyed reading your experiences that you remember growing it up. Your story really shines through. I feel like I can picture you at the moment it happened.
    I also remember the Singer sewing machine because my mother used one while I was growing up. In fact, this article had me reminiscing the times I spent with my mother. Thanks for stirring up the past.

    • Hi Maurice,
      Thank you so much for the lovely comments. Am so glad I stirred up these memories. When I am writing I can just picture my old aunts, one was so terrifying but am sure she had a softer heart than appeared. I know her husband, Tom. absolutely adored her.
      Wishing you all the best. Jill

  13. Hi Jill,
    You have a way with words and it is a pleasure getting to know you and your passion for sewing. You are good at explaining yourself and I feel like I know you a bit more. Your headlines are really clever but fitting with the topic. Thanks for sharing your passion it motivates me to continue on in the things I enjoy.

    • Hi Melissa, Thank you so much for your kind comments. I love reading your posts too and am always thrilled when I find another one for me to read and learn from. All the best. Jill

  14. Hi Jill, I adore reading your posts. They take me away to another place. I could picture you sewing all these wonderful garments, and your excitement with each new sewing machine. I pictured the smiles on the faces of the little ones who received the clothes that you had so carefully and thoughtfully made for them. Your post title made me chuckle. Thanks Jill.

    • Hi Melissa,
      I absolutely love my machines and sewing with them. It is lovely to see something you have created worn by someone you love.
      Wishing you all the best. Have another “Star” on the horizon.

  15. Hi, Jill. Great and interesting article, You really love what you do and i can see that you know your niche – sewing. My mom used to sew for pupils in schools as a way of contracted job. She was so good at sewing that many colleges preferred my mom to any other in her time. In the same vein, two of my younger sisters also venture into sew business as a passion and are really making head way. Lots of art included and I do enjoy it when I see them come up with new and beautiful designs.
    Your explanation was really simple for anyone to easily understand. Well done Jill. I hope to see more interesting articles of yours.
    WealthyBen

    • Hi Ben,Thank you so very much. Yes, another article will be coming out soon. Have a new “star” on the horizon.
      All the best. Jill

  16. Very creative indeed! My mum has a passion for sewing and I guest thats where I get a little bit of my creativity from.
    Thanks for sharing your wisdom!

    • Hi Santana, Thank you so much. I really appreciate you reading my post. It has all been such fun.
      Hope you are loving what you do.
      All the best,

  17. Hi, as I read, there were a couple of similarities for me in your story. I had an old singer sewing machine as I grew up, and I also received a sewing machine for my 21st! I remember my mum also doing a lot of sewing for me when I was small. I used to admire my mum’s sewing skills so much, that I had to learn it for myself when I went to high school. Although I don’t feel confident in my sewing, I know I can create new garments and fix items too. I am grateful for learning this valuable skill and admire your wealth of knowledge and enthusiasm Jill. A wonderful post.

    • Hi Kat, So happy you read my post and commented so positively. The only way to get your confidence back is to just go for it. Perhaps don’t start with a huge complicated item like a king sized quilt but get a pattern you like and just go for it. I went through a period of uncertainty, especially as I changed shape and size as I got a bit older but they have bigger sized patterns or I just make up my own. All the best. Jill

  18. Wow, what a detailed post! You definitely know your craft. No doubt about that. I’ve only ever hand sewn things. How hard is it to use a sewing machine? Is there any machine in particular that’s good for beginners?
    Thanks,
    Calista

    • Hi Calista, Perhaps you should think of trying out a friends machine, if she can assist you and see how you like it. Another avenue you could persue is looking for a second hand machine in good condition and giving it a try. All patterns come with instruction which are easy to follow. Go on, give it a try. It could be yo will get hooked on it. All the best. Jill

    • Hi Calista, Thank you so much for the kind comments. I am a great Bernina fan but there are so many wonderful machines out there. Perhaps its a good idea to find a secondhand machine to see if you really get to love it. All the best. Jill

  19. Your article just made me so happy because I have long admired sewing but felt like it is a lost art. This post was so inspiring and maybe I may look into sewing with time. Thanks for putting this together, Jillian.

    • Hi Debbie, Do hope you take up sewing again. It is good for the soul to make something and it turns out just as you hoped. Good luck.

  20. This is a good looking site with a lot of good content. I was drawn right into the events and activities your talked about in the article. Beautiful pictures and everything was clear and easy to read.

  21. Hi Jill. There are very few people with the capacity to make a topic, of which one has no knowledge, nor experience, interesting.

    You make it all come alive, with your enthusiasm and creativeness.

    All these little childhood stories and later life tales make it like a spoken movie. So creative and so interesting.

    What wonderful talents you have Jill. I’m a great fan!

    • Hi Goran, You are so kind. It is great that you took the time to read my post about sewing. Am impressed.

      Love reading your articles as you write so well. When your name pops up, I make sure I don’t miss reading what you have written.

      Best wishes, Jill

  22. Lovely post on sewing ! I always wanted to learn from my Mom but did not ! Regret that till now ! One day maybe…

    • Hi Dini, Thank you so much for reading my post and commenting. It is never too late to learn. I am 73 and only now learning to blog etc.
      All the best. Jill

  23. Awesome post Jill,
    So much information on a topic not many people know much about.
    Loving the passion you have for sewing. Always good to find out so much from the person writing the articles.
    Great stuff!!

  24. Hi Jill
    I love your article, my mom is so used to sewing and currently makes even dresses ( Nama dresses), just check it out. She can even knitt by hand and she still has the first type of sewing machine. I see really see forward for future posts to read Jill. I think I am also going to share this article to our people here in Namibia. They like sewing a lot.
    Great article.

    • Hi Engelhardt, Thank you so much for reading my post and for commenting. So glad that your Mom still sewing and knitting. It gives one so much pleasure.
      All the best, Jill

  25. Hi Jill,

    I loved reading your story and seeing how your passion for sewing has evolved and led you to new things. I tried to give it a shot once to hem but couldn’t even figure out how to setup the machine! It’s great to see that you were able to help so many people with your skills.

  26. Hey Jill, what a great read this was! I do not know how to sew, but luckily my husband does haha. I was engaged the whole time with my eyes glued to the screen. My grandmother was a great seamstress and made me an outfit when I was a toddler, in which I passed down to my daughter. I can tell you love what you do. Keep at it!

    • Hi Miranda, Thanks so much. It is amazing how many men actually love sewing and even knitting. Thanks so much for comments. You are very kind.

  27. Wow! what a great story this was I’ve always wondered of sewing worked with those machines, I really enjoyed your story and I learned a lot.

  28. Wow! What a great story this was. I really enjoyed it, I’ve always wondered how sewing worked on those matching, they can me scary but they crest beautiful things. Anyway, in all the articles I read, this was different. Good job!

  29. Hi Jill, Great post and very witty. I tried my hand at sewing a few years back but I didn’t have time to really get into it. I’d love to try patchwork quilting, or making clothes for myself, can you recommend any good online courses or videos for this? Cheers, Karen

    • Hi Karen, Thank you so much for the kind comments. I actually haven’t ever looked on line for any courses but am sure they must be out there. Have just interviewed a wonderful person who has been crafting for as long as she can remember and has made 190 quilts. Will be writing about her in my next blog. Will try to find out the information for you.
      All the best, Jill

  30. What a delight to read about your passion for sewing and learning all the different sewing machines you had. I found it very inspiring especially with your fostering and your venture in sewing medical garments. Thanks for sharing.

  31. There is sure a wonderful world of sewing. Just amazing tat there is so much to learn which can make this an interesting hobby.

    It sounds like you were born to sew. Thanks for sharing your story and also providing me some insight into the world of sewing.

    • Hi Vince, Sewing is a wonderful hobby which I turned into quite a few businesses over the years. Thank you for the comment.

  32. What an amazing story! I remember visiting my grandma every weekend and it was just as you described, always in the sewing room, full of fabrics, threads and buttons, we had a lot of fun back then. I bought my first sewing machine some time ago and took a class last year about pattern making and basics of sewing, it was not as easy as it looks and you need a lot of practice, but I’ll keep trying. Thx for sharing!!

    • Hi Jenny, It is so good to have these wonderful memories of childhood. I hope you really enjoy your sewing machine and it does take practice but so worth the effort. All the very best, Jill

  33. Awesome post.. It carried me to my days when my grandmother used to sew different dresses for us.. I too learnt sewing from her.. And same like you my elder sister is also talented in sewing crochet embroidery and all… Your post connected me to my life experiences… Enjoyed reading it..

    • Hi Huzefa, Thank you for the lovely comments. So glad it brought back childhood memories. Don’t let your sewing skills go.
      All the best Jill

  34. Hey Jill,
    As someone in the military, I generally just take my uniforms to the cleaners on post to have my badges and insignias done. But your sewing journey has given me the courage to try learning how to sew stuff on my uniforms….fingers crossed.

  35. That is quite a good presentation into the world of sewing skills and a real eye opener of what our mothers and grandmothers done so well. Knowing how to sow seams and other skill, i’m glad that some still keep the art alive. Excellent

    • Hi Andrew, Thank you for reading and commenting on my post. I really appreciate it. I love sewing and all sorts of arts and crafts.
      all the best, Jill

  36. You write beautifully! Loved reading this. Your family’s rich history with the artform has clearly fueled your passion and it shows! I love how you have turned sewing into your own with your cool projects. I may try my hand at it at some point, thanks to your article… 🙂

    • Hi Janani, Thank you so much for your kind words. I hope you try it out for yourself and find it rewarding.
      all the best.

  37. I was fascinated by the thought that most of your loved ones got interested in sewing. Not very many are able to pursue their passion and keep doing it. My mom used to sew and embroider at the same. I remember I was the one cutting the loose threads and arranging them, I was like 8 or 9 years old. I have a very close friend who also loves sewing and always have in mind to pursue this. She can relate to this very well. Great post.

  38. Sew I’m wondering how many sewing puns you can tack into one article? This is a long thread, so I’ll cut it short….This was not only very informative, it also pricked at my desire to dust off the old Singer, while making me laugh until I got a stitch! I’m pinning you as a favorite,

    • Hi Kay, Am sew happy you are inspired to dust off the old Singer and sew again. Thank you for reading my post and commenting. You are so kind.
      Best wishes, Jill

  39. Hi Jill
    I loved your post. It was very nice reading your sewing journey ! It not only kept me entertained but its also very informative and inspirational for people who are keen to start sewing!
    Happy Sewing!
    Best wishes
    Priya

  40. Great post! I used to sew when I was a teenager, but sadly no longer. It is my daughter who does the sewing in our house now, and she has made some amazing tops; as well she makes all of her own costumes when she goes to her Anime cos-play conventions.
    Thank you for your entertaining and enlightening stories!

    • Hi Irma, Thank you so much for the lovely comments. So happy to hear that your daughter loves sewing. She must have inherited that from you.
      All the very best. Jill

  41. Beautiful story! I really love the part about you thought maybe Aunt Ethel didn’t talk much because of how dominant Great Aunt Flo. That makes me think about my Great Aunts cause the 2 of them were just like that. Great titles too they were pretty catchy. The info. Was great too. Thanks for allowing me to read your story!

    • Hi Fred, I really appreciate you reading my post and commenting on it. I wish you all the best with your camping site. Would love to still go camping but with my husband in frail care, that is not a possibility for me now. All the best, Jill

  42. Wow, Jill, you background is ‘sew’ impressive!! Truly, you sound like you have accomplished so much GOOD for so many people with your wonderful sewing talent over the years; you have done more than many people could in six lifetimes! My mother was a wonderful seamstress, and made at least 90% of my clothes until I was a teenager. I’m afraid I was more into other academic pursuits, and never really managed to “bond” with our sewing machine, but I could relate so much to your stories. When I was in my early twenties, my mother had my aunt put together a ‘bonnet girl’ quilt for me from scraps of all the dresses she made for me as I was growing up. It is so special! So I loved the fact that you gave quilts to the hospital, and persisted with the project even after their quilter had left! Thanks for such a beautiful, beautiful post!

  43. Hi Jill! What a great post! It took me back to when I was young. We had a Singer sewing machine too, it was my grandmothers’. When I married and have my own home, I displayed that sewing machine in my den, which became a conversation piece.
    I got inspired by your sewing talent. When I was in my late 20’s, I started a uniform business. My plan was to sew myself, along with dressmakers that I hired, so I enrolled in a technical school. But I guess, I really didn’t have the talent for it. The business thrived for only 2 years.
    Thanks for sharing this post and inspiring me to venture into sewing again.
    Gigi

    • Hi Gigi, Thank you so much for reading and commenting on my post. It would be wonderful if you began sewing again. It is such a rewarding thing to do. Perhaps sewing uniforms was not creative enough for you. Check out some of the wonderful creative sewing you can do and get inspired again. Let me know if you do. All the best, Jill

  44. Hello Jill,

    I can see by the comments here I am not the only one who enjoyed your post! You should write a book or teach courses! You have such an amazingly diverse history with sewing!

    I don’t sew much but I did learn how when I was young. Nowadays it seems kids don’t even know how! I also learned to knit and crochet, and have thought I should try it again. I remember my Mom sewing and darning socks when I was a kid. We lived in the mountains of Alaska so of course we always had holes wearing in something and she would fix it. That seems like a lifetime ago now. My grandma made pillows and wall hangings. We still have one for Christmas that I love.

    Thanks for the great story!
    Jessica

    • Hi Jessica, Thank you so much for reading and the lovely comments. I am thinking of writing a book as had a very exciting and eventful childhood. You should really go back and sew again, it is so rewarding to make something and then wear it. All the best, Jill

  45. You are a wealth of sewing knowledge. So passionate about your niche. I haven’t heard some of these sewing terminology since my mother years ago.

    Enjoyed very much reading this post and you sharing your life and chosen passion.

    My mother was a Great Depression baby back here in the US and she used to sew everything me and my siblings wore. We did not have a lot of money back then and she dressed us the best she could. Great memories.

    Good work and keep the passion alive.

    • Hi Don, Thank you for reading my post and for the great comments. It is lovely to write about ones passion and sewing and craft work are just two of many. All the best, Jill

  46. How wonderful experience you have! I really enjoyed reading this post, look forward for more. My grandma’s sister used to sew and I remember every time I visited her, I got something new, be it a dress, T-shirt, trousers or even a jacket. I really loved that clothes because it was unique and nobody had the same.

    • Hi Blanka, Thanks for reading my post and the lovely comments. I have more posts that I am busy with so look out for them. Wishing you all the best, Jill

  47. Sew, yes it been part of my life since childhood. As my country India belong to one of the oldest and traditional handicrafts business and only known for this important work called sew.
    As part of traditional clothing here, everyone here all over country prefers nicley sewed and knitted clothing with good designs and this the way which has been great source of employment for majority of women population. it’s been in our blood from inception and me too still prefer to sew any type of clothing during requirement.
    Your post is good,describing sew as part and passion in your life and glad to see there are other people in world as well, who really know and passion about our important old tradition)

    • Hi Ganesh, Thank you so much for reading and commenting on my post. I do indeed love to sew and absolutely love fabrics. It was so encouraging for me to read this wonderful reply. All the best, Jill

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