Growing up, I was lucky to spend a lot of time with my great-grandmother. She babysat me nearly every day when my mom was working, and I learned a lot from her. My Great-Grandma made the best eggs and toast, she fed me Mrs. Grass soup for lunch everyday (she’d even let me drop the flavor ‘egg’ in), and she would read books with me for hours and hours (I still have many of these books – including my favorite book, Peppermint, that I used to read to The Goose when he was younger).
One thing my Great-Grandma did that always fascinated me was use a sewing machine. With her sewing machine, she made countless Raggedy Ann and Raggedy Andy dolls for her grandchildren and great-grandchildren. She made almost all of my clothes, and she made clothes for all of my baby dolls. To me, her sewing machine was magic.
When my great-grandma passed away nearly 15 years ago, she made sure that her sewing machine was passed down to me. Now, this sewing machine is old. Really, really old. And, I’m embarrassed to say, in the 15 years that I’ve had it in my house I’ve never even opened it. Why? Because I didn’t have the first idea of how to use it. I knew that the machine used a bobbin, and that she pressed her foot pedal to make it go, but that was where my sewing knowledge ended. And it made me sad. Sewing was something that brought my great-grandma such joy, and I wanted that for myself, too.
Then it happened. My mother-in-law called me out of the blue to ask if I wanted to visit with my husband’s aunt and learn how to sew the hooded bath towels that she makes and sells at craft fairs around town. I jumped at the chance – I’d always wanted to learn how to sew, but I never had anyone to show me. Plus, The Goose absolutely loves the hooded bath towel that she gave us as a gift when he was a newborn, but now that he’s five it’s time for a bigger one!).
I went to her house that Sunday afternoon, and she taught me, step by step, how to sew the bath towel. (Unfortunately, I can’t share the details, as I’ve been sworn to secrecy). She also lent me a portable sewing machine that she’d used, but no longer needed. I brought it home and immediately got to work. Though it took me less than twenty minutes to make the towel when I was at her house, it took me nearly three hours to do it on my own. (To be fair, most of that time was spent trying to thread the machine. All I can say is thank God for YouTube, or I’d still be sitting at that table!).
But, once I got the hang of it, I was a pro! I started sewing like nobody’s business. I’ve made a few hooded towels (I’m not confident enough in my sewing to list them in my Etsy shop just yet, but I’ve made a few towels as gifts and I’ll be listing them soon). I’ve made patches for The Goose’s pants, fixed a torn seam on his favorite blanket, and this summer I’ll be working on my big sewing project – making curtains for the 15 windows in my sunroom.
But I’m not the only one learning to sew…
As luck would have it, a few weeks after I got my hands on a sewing machine for myself, my sister-in-law called and asked if
I wanted a kids sewing machine that she was getting rid of. Knowing that The Goose loves to do things that I do (he loves helping in the garden, rolling pasta dough and putting away laundry), I knew he’d be excited to have his own sewing machine. (Even if it was a Barbie sewing machine).
And I was right. As soon as he saw the machine, his eyes lit up. He started opening the box, examining the machine and all of the parts that came along with it. That boy was ready to sew – and he knew just what he was going to make. A ninja turtle pillow.
The next day, The Goose was ready to sew. Luckily, I already had some fabric hanging around from when I patched his knees with The Pants Monster. I found green fabric for his face, orange fabric for his mask, and white fabric for his eyes and teeth. While The Goose was at the library with his dad I measured and cut all of the fabric and pinned it using safety pins (I can’t trust The Goose with regular sewing pins just yet). I filled the bobbins with green, orange and white thread, got stuffing to fill the pillow, and laid everything on the table, ready to sew.
When The Goose came home, we got right to work. He was in charge of pressing the foot pedal, while I worked to guide the fabric through the machine. It took a while for us to get the hang of it, but it ended up working really well. In less than an hour, we’d sewn the eyes, mask, mouth, and pillow (except for a small opening in the corner that needed to stay open so we could stuff it).
The pillow turned out great (though not so great that I’ll be selling it on Etsy). And when we were done, The Goose was so proud of himself. So proud, that he is now itching to get started making pillows for the other characters, too.
Who knew learning to sew would be a family affair?