I’ve been sewing since I was little girl and given my first sewing machine for my 18th birthday. Ever since then I have wanted to run my own business and ventured into my first attempt making ‘Puffalumps’ for family and friends. If you are too young to remember, these they were soft toys, mainly cows and sheep, that would be dressed in pink or blue frilly dresses, but which were very popular in the 1980’s.
Then I made the mistake of telling the careers adviser that I enjoyed sewing and that was it, banished into factory life, like many other girls of my age at that time. Factories where hundreds of young girls, usually straight out of school worked until thankfully, or maybe not so thankfully, clothing production got sent abroad where they could pay even less than they paid us? How do they manage?
Me, well I escaped by taking a job as a strawberry picker for the summer, until I could start a course at college. (I wouldn’t have qualified for any dole money had I just packed in work). So a year and a half after starting life in a northern factory, that was it. The sewing machine was banished to the loft and I had no interest in ever sewing again! Even when I was blessed with two gorgeous daughters, I would tip-toe around it in the attic as if it was some kind of demon I didn’t want to wake.
I often wonder if this mind numbingly boring, but very hard work is what stifled creativity in the young over the past 20-30 years? This, as well as the availability of super cheap clothes. The combination of the two seems to have led to a decline in the love of sewing and embroidery that used to be the norm for many years before this.
So what brought me back to sewing? Well it was Halloween. The girls were going out ‘trick or treating’ and wanted something to wear. I searched everywhere and just couldn’t find anything worth paying good money for. When I saw this gorgeous fabric and thought, if I just get that machine out and run up two capes, I could quickly manage that and then put it straight back from where it came from. Well that was the plan.
The capes were as I thought, easy to make (and used for years) and I actually quite enjoyed it! So that was it, I had the machine serviced and found my creative side again, which had always been strong. I like saying, ‘I made that’. I don’t know why and it’s not meant to be a way of showing off, I just have this sense of pride, which you can only get from making something yourself. That feeling just doesn’t come from saying, ‘I bought this, do you like it?’ Well not for me anyway, unless its fabric.
I hope others can rekindle their love of sewing, or even have a go for the first time and start to discover the gorgeous fabric and projects that are being produced nowadays.