My 9 year old daughter and I are undertaking our second sewing project. The first project, which we started last year after she got the Hello Kitty Janome sewing machine as a birthday present, was an apron which I ended up sewing mostly (but which she likes to show off to people as her own work!). It did come out pretty cute, even if I say so myself. That was a project without patterns or instructions, just done on the fly with some creativity. Now I feel that it’s time to graduate to a more difficult sewing project that would involve tracing patterns and following instructions. This time we are going to try our hand at sewing a shirt! One for her and one for me. Quite ambitious, no? But we are excited!
In Finland, where I grew up, it is part of every student’s curriculum to learn to sew. Sewing is considered as one of the basic life skills that kids should learn as they grow up. I can still remember some of the projects I did in school 30 years ago. And one of those projects, a kimono-type terry cloth bath robe, is still in use every summer at my parents’ summer house. I love it!
Unfortunately here in America there are no sewing classes in school. There are also no woodworking, or cooking classes (all of which are kids’ favorites in Finland). I guess in this day and age nobody really needs to sew, or know how to work wood, unless for a hobby. Cooking might come handy in every day life, though, and it is astounding to me that it is not taught in schools! But knowing how to do something on your own, even if you never have to do it, is a good feeling. And knowing something about the construction of the garments that we cover ourselves up with every day, and realizing how much effort and skill it takes to create them, is important.
I am a horrible teacher…not patient…not kind. But my daughter puts up with me, because she’s so excited. She’s constantly sketching outfits.
She is going to be a Famous Fashion Designer when she grows up (or a TV reporter, or a CEO).
I was going to be a fashion designer too, long before it was cool on reality TV, and even made most of my clothing for a few years in my teens and even in early twenties, until sewing that much became too tedious. The Burda magazine was my bible then, just as Vogue and InStyle are now :-) My sewing skills are very rusty. But it is so rewarding to create something with your own hands. It doesn’t have to be perfect, for you to proudly say “I made this”.