As I was writing the last blog about my Mum I was also thinking about the stuff she had passed down to me. Poor eyesite, a loathing of physical exercise and a love of reading being just three. However, it was she and my Nanna that taught me to sew.
Like a lot of children of my generation I had ‘sewing lessons’ in primary school where we were taught how to sew embroidery stitches onto large square holed fabric called binka.
I loved this!
But even before then I remember sewing bits of cloth together just for the joy of holding a needle and thread and weaving it through the pieces of fabric. My dollies had hand gathered Dirndl skirts that had to be sewn onto them as I hadn’t figured out elastic yet.
Before making your own presents was cool my mum was doing this out of necessity and I loved watching her magically create things on her old, pale blue Singer sewing machine. It was a 21st birthday present and was still going up until a few years ago!
All sorts of things emerged from that machine – quilted jewellery rolls and make up bags, soft toys, rag dolls, a denim trouser suit for me! While the sewing went on we would chat about all kinds of things.
Maybe it is the act of doing something else that diffuses the intensity of the conversation. I have had discussions with my friends about this and several have mentioned fishing has the same effect. The focus on a fishing rod or sewing machine while chatting about other stuff paves the way for the quiet correction in the way to hold a needle or the flick of a wrist to launch a fly.
However, sometimes as a parent it isn’t easy to teach your own child. I have had this with my own daughter, who when she was much younger was really interested in making things for herself, hairbands, scrunchies and little purses, but now she is older and a teenager, what mum does is definitely NOT cool! So I hope she will come back to making things later in her life, for now though horses take priority.
But we don’t just have to share our knowledge with our own offspring if other peoples are more interested in what we are doing. We see this a lot in our workshops both with the children and some adults too who were frustrated with learning from a parent, but would happily sit with a Grandparent or Auntie and sew, bake or make things.
I and the other tutors we have really enjoy running the kids workshops. We usually end up chatting about all kinds of stuff from who said what to whom at school to “why do cats meow?”, and everything in between. All the while helping them to safely sew something they can take home and be proud of.
Children, teenagers and adults can seem quite segregated at times, but by sharing activities and hobbies the generations can come together and learn from each other. The Great British Sewing Bee and The Great British Bake Off TV programmes have shown this clearly with the age ranges of both their contestants, as well as the viewers that sit at home together enjoying them.
One of the things I love to share is how to tie a magic knot! (Those that have been to some of our workshops will know exactly what I mean). And I learnt the other day from my daughter that the only month that sometimes doesn’t have a full moon is February.
Our Kids Summer Holiday Workshops are available to book online now. If it’s not working at home send the kids our way and we’ll teach them the joy of sewing!