What does 1980 conjure up for you? I realise many of my readers weren't even born in 1980 but stay with me. For me, 1980 was the year I bought my first two singles (Another Brick in the Wall by Pink Floyd and Brass in Pocket by The Pretenders), when Look-In was my comic of choice and my hair was lovely, long and straight, not yet subject to the horrors of a 1980's perm. 1980 was a big year in many ways - it was the year my baby brother was born and the year I had my first sewing lesson….
Why am I wittering on about 1980 you might ask? Well, Karen's recent post about revisiting the first garment she ever made got me thinking. I realised that the first thing I actually made myself was in a sewing lesson in 1980. My sewing teacher was firmly in the 'no praise, but plenty of criticism and public humiliation in front of the whole class' camp, so the memories aren't especially golden. Yes, Miss Dracup, I'm talking about you… We each had to make an apron in readiness for our cookery lessons the following year. Mine was navy blue gingham (naturally) with JANE painstakingly chain stitched across the front. I really, REALLY wish I still had it, I know for a fact I'd wear it every day - maybe I should recreate it?
The style comprised very long straps that criss-crossed across the back, through loops at the side and tied at the back. Now this is going to make me sound about 100 years old, but my school only had two electric machines back in 1980. The rest were treadles, set into tables. The afore-mentioned straps were about two metres long and one thing I distinctly remember about sewing them was building up speed on the treadle machine, pummelling away with my feet like a loony!
Yet despite the Victorian equipment and dragon of a teacher, there were lots of things I learnt in those school sewing lessons that came flooding back to me nearly 30 years later, when I took my first sewing class as an adult. So, back to the original point of this post, the first garment I made as an adult was a very simple A-line skirt. It was my mum who persuaded me to make a simple skirt rather than a complicated wrap dress and I'm glad she did. The relative ease with which I made it gave me a good dose of confidence at the very start of my sewing journey.
|It's too hot to model the skirt today so here's an old photo of it.|
Looking back now, I'm astounded by how confident I actually was. I used New Look 6843 which calls for a standard zip and has no mention of a lining. With the help of my teacher, I went straight off piste and inserted an invisible zip without an invisible zip foot AND a lining. I can't believe how cocky I was or maybe it's just as Karen says, "ignorance and lack of fear can go a long way." Exactly. Looking at the skirt today, there are several dodgy bits that show it for what it is - a first garment. If I was making it again, I'd give the inside waistband a neater finish (it's just zig-zagged and sewn down) and the same goes for the hem. The seams on the lining were also unfinished which I probably wouldn't be happy with today. Despite this nit picking, I've worn it a lot because it's such a great basic shape and colour.
Flush with the success of that first skirt, I then went ahead and made another from the same pattern without the guidance of my teacher!
Like the first one, it's got a perfectly inserted invisible zip, and is fully lined in daring red, but this time the lining seams are finished. Interesting, maybe it was my teacher who told me it wasn't worth finishing them first time round? I can't remember.
Again, I'm astounded at my daring - instead of a separate waistband, I've added my own strip of bias binding to finish the top edge. How did I think of that?!
All in all I'd give myself a hefty pat on the back for my first adult efforts. Good work Jane. Sadly, I can't ever remember hearing these words in 1980, but thankfully it didn't put me off and I'm grateful I was taught the basic skills at the age of eleven.
So there you are - my first experiences of sewing, both as a child and as an adult. Were you taught to sew at school? Was it a good or bad experience? And of no consequence to this blog but just because I'm nosey, what was the first record you ever bought? I can see a future blog post in this so please don't hesitate to reveal all. Happy Sunday. x