I think that sewing goes back to the book of Genesis in the Bible right after Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit. While writing this post, I can't help but play in my head the scene I imagine them running through. Once Adam and his temptress Eve discover their nakedness and are shamed, they rush to the nearest fig tree and start tearing at it's branches, grasping for the largest leaves they can find. Next, Eve in her desperation grabs some vines pulls and begins stringing fig leaves along it. She only needs three, Adam just one, thus is born the first string bikini.
The art of sewing did infact originate for the purpose of clothing to shelter early humans from the elements. Sewing predates weaving and knitting as well. Most early clothing was formed of animal hides, furs or plant. The twine used to hold it all together was created from plant fibers or animal sinew. Sewing needles were made of bone, or woods strong and whittled down. The first sewing machines were built in the late 1700s, but tailors in France were worried that the simple machine would eliminate their jobs and so production of an industrial machine was halted. In the 1850s Isaac Singer began the first successful production of sewing machines for industrial use. It was not until later in the 1890s that the Singer model reached homes and beyond.
So, for our theme, where does this trail lead us? Well for me, sewing projects were born from my mother's hands. Still to this day I believe she can sew anything she puts her hands too. My childhood was filled with trips to the fabric store where my mom taught me how to choose proper fabrics for specific patterns. Cotton knits for t-shirts, flannels for sheets, airy linen for a dress, and raw silk for my wedding dress. Alway wiling to teach me and accomplish anything I asked for she was a superhero with the power of sewing.
But where does my generation stand on sewing? As a child, my mom sewed, I did not. Historically, every member of the family sewed to participate in the household work. Yet when men became boys, the sewing was passed to mothers, sisters and daughters. To me, being a woman of the prarie meant work from waking till sleeping, hard detail oriented work. The detail and care that it took for a sewing project sans patterns and electric machines must have been immense. For young girls though, sewing became bigger than just family needs it was their marriage resume. A girl spent her entire young adulthood preparing the contents of her hope chest which could range from linens to clothes to lace. Can you imagine having ti prepare all that? Really? That's not easy sounding! Well, some of it was handed down from their mothers, but really think about those sateen sheets, 500-threadcount, that you registered for from Pottery Barn, with the lace edges? You would have had to cut, finish the edges, and crochet the lace to tack it on, oh, and it would not have been a 500 threadcount fabric weave. God bless the women who went before us!
The few solo sewing adventures I have had were birthed from my frustration at the lack of individuality in most places now of days. Most recently, I've sewn myself a case for my knitting needles which turned out awesome and was economical! So, as My husband Ryan and I are getting ready to move into a new-to-us home, here is my commitment: I commit to design and sew pillows, a headboard and something else that will be determined shortly, like maybe some appliqué, for my own home. Photos will be posted upon accomplisment!
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