Be joyful even though you have considered all the facts...practice resurrection. -Wendell Berry

Sunday, March 29, 2009

is it genetic?

This is the lovely sewing caddy that belonged to my paternal grandmother.
She was a thrifty gal.  Worn bed sheets were cut down the middle lengthwise, flipped, and stitched by hand down the middle.  Now, the old worn middle fabric was on the edges and the stronger, less worn fabric was in the middle of the renewed sheet. She also hand stitched her curtains and pillow covers for her kitchen rocking chair.  She mended clothing and sewed new satin bindings onto woolen blankets. 

This sewing basket belonged to my great grandmother, Namine. When my maternal grandmother was nine years old, her Pa, who was a carpenter, fell off a roof and died a few days later.  Namine and all four of her young daughters, Beatrice, Margretta, Elsie and my gram, Muriel, gathered themselves together and started a dressmaking business. They even made wedding dresses. 

My Mom made most of my clothes growing up, and her sister, (my Aunt Margretta) made most of the clothes her daughters wore.  I remember my cousins and I had mixed feelings about our homemade clothes, but I know back then, our families saved a lot of money staying out of retail shops! I do remember having fun picking out patterns and fabric and buttons when I was old enough to go with my Mom to the fabric store. And because I have always been very tall, my Mom could lengthen a pattern to help me out.

I sewed some of my clothes as a young adult, and made my wedding gown.  I sewed for all four of our kids when they were little, too. I got into quilting in the early 70's and I've been a fiber addict ever since.

So, I think the answer is yes, IT'S GENETIC!  On BOTH sides of my family. And it's been handed down to a newer generation. Our Gretta, (whose full name is Margretta), has quite the fabric stash, and knows how to wield a needle quite nicely. 

And that's a chapter from my sew and sow life!


  1. What a lovely sewing caddy and basket, and what a rich heritage of talent! No wonder you are so gifted!
    I, too, made my own wedding gown and now cannot believe I did it!!
    Very interesting to read about the ladies of your family and good to hear that the designing gene has been passed to the next generation!

  2. I do hope that these skills and desires will pass to our own children. I too grew up learning to live like this.

  3. Very interesting to hear about your strong and talented female relatives, and what a beautiful sewing caddy and sewing basket you have. And delightful that Gretta is carrying on the family tradition!