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Sewing in America

For centuries and centuries, women prepared all the clothing and household items. Nothing was mass manufactured. Imagine – learning to grow cotton or flax and weaving fabric to then cut and hand sew clothing or from leather… whew – that was a lot of work.

It wasn’t until 1755 when Charles Weisenthal, a German immigrant in London, took a patent out for a special needle which could be used for mechanical sewing. Thirty-four years later, Thomas Saint, an Englishman, created what is thought to be as the first actual sewing machine in 1789. And the race was on to make improvements on each idea and Walter Hunt built America’s first sewing machine in 1834 that was successful. It is laughable to think Mr. Hunt was worried that the machine would be unpopular and result in a rise in unemployment for women who were sewing by hand.

Elias Howe (Invented White sewing machines) received the first patent for a sewing machine in America but it was still clumsy and not ready for mass marketing to Mom’s in America. Isaac Singer (Singer sewing machines) used the same technique as Howe- further developing the lock stitch – which is still used today. Mr.Singer was later sued for stealing the technology and had to pay Mr. Howe a percentage of the sale price of each machine sold).

White and Singer sewing machines are still manufactured and affordable and accessible for the beginner and the expert seamstress. I still have my grandmothers 1933 sewing machine – yes, it still works.

Image result for images of old white sewing machines

In the past, everyone knew how to attach a button and to mend a hole or darn the socks. Home-making skills, such as basic hemming or easy button repair has decreased with each generation since the 1980’s. The Millennial generation now has the weakest homemaking skills, cooking, sewing and even laundry care.

How do we know this? American consumer trends show us the popularity of retail sewing and fabric stores or craft stores and the dollars spent, and social trend studies reveal.

“After surveying 502 women, researchers at the University of Missouri found that Baby Boomers reported a greater ability to sew, hem, repair buttons and clean laundry, while those in the 18 to 33 age range reported lower mastery of these basic maintenance skills.” https://bit.ly/2IUahgw

Today learning to sew is easier than ever with blogs, you tube videos, and affordable beginner sewing machines are available in all retail outlets and specialty stores, there are classes at the local rec center, fabric stores offer classes, you can scroll through Pinterest… girls ( and boys) and women can begin to sew even if there isn’t a sewing class taught at school anymore.

Fabric and craft stores are busier than ever as new and experienced crafter’s and sewers choose to create their own clothes and home decor. I love sewing for the grand-kids, baby blankets, burp clothes , crafts or quilts for myself. Look at these adorable stuffed tigers made from fleece – the girls loved them.

My latest obsession is making fleece jackets – fancy sweatshirts. Only your imagination is your limit. You use your machine, hand quilting, and embroidery with designs and fabric you like – for you or for gifts.


the tiger cats for xmas.jpg

My Daughter and one of my younger son’s began sewing when they were 10-11 years old, they learned by hand sewing little toys and pillows. My son lost interest once he took sewing in jr. high but my Daughter today is the co author of our books and teaches the Sew Crafty Bainbridge classes – her Mother in Law had far more patience to teach her than I did – and she never gave up.

small toy bob made.jpg


Happy sewing.

#easysewing #beginnersewing #thebestsewingblog #sewingwise #sewcrafty #starttosew

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