I have always loved visiting the fabric store, I was like a kid in a candy store! Walking into a fabric store one can instantly see the rainbow of colors (that look like lollipops!), then there is the soft furry fabric that begs to be touched, and the shiny costume fabrics begging to be made into something glamorous. As a child, I can remember visiting the fabric store and I loved the adventure as I wandered up and down the aisles. My mother sewed clothing for myself and two sisters with her singer sewing machine. I marveled at that sewing machine that was housed in a wood cabinet and when the lid was pulled open, the machine raised up into place! (I truly thought that was magical!) Today, she does not sew very often, but when she does, it is with that same singer sewing machine! My mother often sewed us girls matching outfits, and sometimes she would also make a matching outfit for herself! Mom had rules regarding her sewing stuff, never touch her machine no matter how tempting the dials were, and do not ever cut paper with her sewing scissors! I adopted those same rules and have to remind my curious grandson to not touch my sewing machine dials. It is no fun to start sewing only to realize a curious hand adjusted the tension, and the stitches need to be removed and re-done! I shudder to think how many times my mom discovered her sewing scissors were dulled by cutting paper dolls.
I can remember my mother receiving a gift of handkerchiefs with delicate thread tatting around the edges that my Great Grandmother hand sewed. They were so pretty, with pastel rainbow-colored thread sewed onto crisp white hankies. Mom allowed me to marvel at the hankies before she wrapped them in tissue paper and put them away. She told me they were very special and to not mess with them.
My Grandmother hand-embroidered pillowcases for all her granddaughters in the mid 1990’s and gave them to us at Christmas. When I opened the wrapped gift, my grandfather said, “You take care of those, they were made by precious hands.” I have never used those pillowcases as I didn’t want them to get ruined.
When I married my husband, my Mother-in-law crocheted a dozen delicate doilies for me to decorate our home. She later crocheted an outfit and blanket in the softest yellow for our first grandchild. That outfit is cherished and stored in a special box and pulled out for each new grandchild. Our third grandchild was just born and will soon have her turn in the hand-sewn outfit! Oh, how I cherish those items.
I too, am very passionate about sewing and love creating hand-sewn items. I first sewed in Junior High school in home-economics class. I loved learning how to crochet and sew on the sewing machine. I made a stuffed animal, although I cannot remember what kind of stuffed animal! A bear? Maybe?
Hand sewing comes in many forms, crocheting, knitting, tatting, quilting, embroidery, lace making, and I am sure there are more than I can think of. I call it hand sewn even if a sewing machine is used, as it is hand-crafted or home crafted. Whatever type of sewing it is, one thing remains the same. The precious hands that created the item. Knowing that a loved one once held that item in their hands and took the time to create it is truly special. My grandmother and mother-in-law have passed away, but I still have a connection to them through the items that they once held in their hands and made them with love. The crocheted blankets that I made for my grandbabies were made with love and I truly hope they feel the love when wrapped in them.