Sunday, August 19, 2012

In which we begin sewing lessons

One of the items on my curriculum for Thing 1 is some basic sewing lessons.  First it's using McGuffey's and Ray's for reading and math, now it's sewing lessons with the possibility of a sampler.  I'm definitely obsessed with the 19th century!
Queen Mom and I start with a trip to the only Jo-Ann Fabrics in the five boroughs--the one on Staten Island.  Yes, Manhattan has better fabric stores, but the materials cost about an arm and a leg.  Thing 1 needed a sewing kit.  The only pieces I couldn't find were inexpensive thread nippers and a bobbin that worked more like a needle.  I also stocked her up on Aida cloth so that she could learn the stitches.
Last week, Thing 1 and AriSparkles had their first lesson in stitching.  To continue in my theme of all things old-fashioned, our sewing lessons came straight out of the Mary Frances Sewing Book.  I have two copies--a reprint from Lacis that has the original language and patterns, and the 100th Anniversary edition that resized the patterns for American Girl dolls.  Unfortunately, it also resized the language for modern-day stupidity.  So, we're using the original book, and I'll take the patterns from the new book when we get there.  The first two stitches taught were even and uneven basting.  The book suggested using Aida cloth so that the stitches come out nice, straight and even.  Thing 1 actually could make the stitches on her own, but we hit a snarl when I discovered that my sweet little daughter cannot tie an overhand knot.  This, of course, is the first step to sewing anything.  So, this week, we're going to work on that.  Since she can tie her shoes, it can't be that much more difficult.
Of course, I'm making the stitches along with my little sewing class.  This helps because then, my students have a working model.  I'm also planning to create all the garments in the sewing book.  I did them once, but because I had to re-grade the patterns on my own, most of them don't fit right.  (It should be noted here that I am the proud owner of three American Girl dolls.  Since Rebecca is from around the time the books were written, she was the beneficiary of this new wardrobe.)  Once the garments from both the sewing book AND the crocheting book are finished, I will post my creations.

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