We graduated from Lane Technical High School in Chicago in the 90's *cough cough*... not too long ago. I had no idea about her skill of sewing back then, but I was a ditzy teen who thought the world revolved around her. I've heard that's a common trait among teens. LOL!
I was so interested in her sewing journey and since I have only just begun, I hope to instill a love of sewing into Olivia just as Leslie's mom has for her, and for Leslie to pass on to her sweet Nola.
Here's Leslie's story:
I’m the daughter of a seamstress, so I I had no choice but to learn how to sew. My mother first taught me how to sew by hand when I was maybe 7 or 8 - one of my first projects was a teddy bear I wanted to make for my friend’s newborn cousin. It looked a hot mess, but it was made with love! She quickly graduated me to the machine, and began a love/hate relationship with the craft. My love for sewing took off in high school; I would often make outfits for myself from the remnants my mom kept in the big wooden trunk she inherited from her grandmother. One of my favorite pieces was a sleeveless red, white, and black color block mini dress… color blocking was all the rage in the 90’s. One of the most special pieces made was my prom dress. My mom took the lead on that… it was way too advanced and important to be trusted to me. But I remember being in charge of cutting the pattern from three different wedding gown designs, and having to dye the stretch sheer that perfect shade of green between kelly and forest.
During college I abandoned sewing; who had the time? I didn’t come back to it again until the early 2000’s when I made an outfit for myself for my company’s summer gala. Though I technically made clothes, it far under-delivered on what I expected the finished garment to look like. In the years that followed, I thought about returning to sewing, but “nah” it just wasn’t for me. Fast forward to 2016 - and I’m trying to find the perfect thing to wear to my daughter’s school fundraiser. I wanted something that made a statement and scoured the city looking for the perfect Ankara print maxi skirt. Nothing really caught my eye and I was running out of time. The night before the big night, I decided that I had to make my own skirt. I mean… it’s a simple circle skirt, right? Making a quick 14 mile trip to buy the perfect fabric and tacking on an additional 20 mi to borrow a sewing machine from a friend, with my mother’s help I cranked out this beauty the day of the event. I was worry if I still remembered what to do, but lo and behold - it IS like riding a bike. For a split second the familiar feeling of being back on the machine had me contemplating making African print maxi skirts professionally… but then I realized I’m too much of a perfectionist to do this full time. But I do think I’ll invest in my own machine for whenever the mood strikes again :-)
I’d like to do more and maybe make some pieces for my little one. It was fun and frustrating at the same time. But I wasn’t prepared for how much I missed it. I hope to someday teach Nola how to sew!
What a great piece Les!!!!
Thank you so much for sharing your story with me and my blog. Maybe we can get together soon and you can show me a thing or two....or twelve!
See you next time!