I’ve enjoyed watching the Great British Sewing Bee, Series one, on TV lately. I realise that this show was shown some time ago in UK, but it has only just reached TV down here in New Zealand. In fact, I think Series two has already been aired in UK, so hopefully will hit our shores next year. This show has been responsible for an increase in home sewing, I believe, which can only be a good thing.
Who can remember taking sewing classes at school? In fact, are they even taught these days? I can remember making an oven cloth out of plain brown hessian – there was none of the fancy coloured hessian back in those days. This would have been about Standard 3 or 4 at Primary School. We carefully pulled a couple of threads in from the edges of our hessian piece, and did rows of large cross stitches between the drawn threads using brightly coloured knitting wool. Then our creation was backed and bound, with a brass curtain ring added so it could be hung up.
We graduated to using sewing machines at Intermediate School, and I remember making a white cotton apron and matching head band to wear to cooking classes, but first we had to hand embroider our names on them. Then there was the ghastly pair of baggy pleated shorts with leg bands we had to whip up – required to wear in our Phys ED classes.
Once we were grown up and left school, we could make what we wanted, such as a full skirted dress to wear over voluminous stiff petticoats to the Saturday evening Rock and Roll dances. Shirt-maker dresses were another favourite. My sewing changed dramatically a few years later once marriage and babies changed my life. Then it was all about pretty little dresses, boys shirts and shorts, and multiple pairs of pyjamas for them both.
These days it’s all about patchwork and quilting, with a little household sewing such as aprons, tablemats, bags, cushions and tablecloths still getting done. I stitch away at home, and enjoy attending my local Quilt Club meetings. And I really appreciate the smaller groups related to the quilt club, such as my Sew Wot fortnightly group of ladies, and the monthly Remnants stitching group. Even after all these years, I’m not an expert, award winning quilter. But that’s not the point, I sew because I enjoy it, and I love getting together with other like minded people. That’s what it is all about, wouldn’t you say?