Saturday, April 14, 2007

Sewing Lessons

I learned to sew when I was 10 or 12. My mother taught me. I remember she would use case knives instead of straight pins to hold the pattern down when she was cutting things out. It never occurred to me that not everyone did that. When I think back, I realize that sewing was one of the first ways I learned to express my individuality and creativity. Like the white sailor dress with miles of red rickrack every size imaginable. I loved that dress.

Sewing taught me to think in the abstract. I learned to solve puzzles, to solve problems. I learned to appreciate details, the importance of completing a project, and the disappointment when it wasn’t as I expected it would be. Like the black broadcloth straight skirt with the perfect zipper – except that it was inside out.

Fabrics fulfilled a need for color, patterns and texture, and were much like paper is to me now. Fabrics provided a memory of the past and gave life to visions. Though I don’t sew any more, I think learning to look at things in terms of how to construct it and how to change it to make it my own, is part of just about everything I do now.