Sewing Your Story  

by Ginger E. Mangie

I recently had a good friend tell me she doesn’t like to show off her needlework because she feels it doesn’t compare to others in her sewing group. I think most of us who sew do it for a multitude of reasons. In my 50 plus age group, we learned to sew in junior high and home ec. classes and 4-H clubs. We sewed and put our projects into our hope chests. Remember those? I always felt like mine was so hopeless and besides I didn’t have a chest—both the bosom kind and the wooden blanket chest kind.


Girls from my era were destined to be teachers, nurses, secretaries and wives, not lawyers and doctors like today. Being able to run a household and take care of our families ranked very highly during that time. Our mothers told us to learn to sew so we could make curtains for our first home, clothes for ourselves and our children as well as tablecloths, napkins, and of course Barbie Doll clothes. Sewing was cheaper back then, not today.


Many of us have left utilitarian sewing and have embarked on a new hobby of quilting and “fun” sewing. We indulge ourselves and spend a lot of time and money on our “fun.” But like everything else in our society, perfection is a must. There is always a new and improved everything. We have sewing machines that will do everything for us but make our dinner and sweep our floors. Just when you think you’ve got one thing learned, here comes another technique to learn and along with it perfection.


I love perfection and do strive for it like so many of us. The problem is, we sometimes forget the journey. Remember the first sewing project you made with your mother, or perhaps your grandmother? Your first stitches weren’t perfect, but you remember the good time you had---- it is the bonding that we do with family and friends that really counts. The next time you are stitching with friends, take the time to ask them about their background in sewing.

Everyone has a story to tell. It is surprising who among us did alterations, made custom drapery, knitted neonatal hats for children’s hospitals, crocheted blankets for nursing homes, or who made charity quilts for aids and hospice organizations. Then there are the ladies who just sewed for their families, mending and making prom and wedding gowns. How much more important does it get than doing things for the events in your family’s history. No matter what kind of needlework we do, it is all done with some kind of a needle with the thought of doing something for others.


So…. be proud of what you make or design, and share with others. The story behind the project is what is really important, and if along the way you achieve a blue ribbon for those perfect stitches, enjoy the ride!!!!!