Dear readers, you have been so kind and complimentary as I've shared the recent posts relating to working on my new spring shower curtain.
Any talent I may have in the field of sewing or quilting, I owe to Miss Brown, my 8th grade sewing teacher.
Back in those (ancient) days, we girls didn't have a choice. One semester of sewing was mandatory. Beyond that, we did get to make it an elective. We could take more sewing classes if we wanted. I loved sewing and took as much of it as I could.
(Short rant insertion: I know sewing and/or cooking classes are not even offered in most middle or high schools these days. My, my, how much our educational system has lost. The push seems to be single-mindedly toward preparing all students for college. Never mind teaching common sense, down-home, practical skills that will benefit a person for a lifetime. Grumpf.)
Miss (this was way before the introduction of the politically correct label of "Ms.") Brown was a regal lady somewhere in her 50s, nicely, although amply, shaped. Sturdy. Stout. Hefty. (Let's just say she was no lightweight.) She was an excellent seamstress and made all of her own clothing. Most often she was dressed in a tailored suit, jacket and skirt, worn with a pretty blouse. Her dark hair (with the help of a little dye, I'm certain) was elegantly coiffed, her make-up was heavy but tastefully applied and her long fingernails always manicured with polish to match her outfit.
She was a perfectionist . . . which might not have been the best personality trait considering she was attempting to pique young girls' interest in learning how to sew.
She insisted on checking every single step of our sewing attempts, and if the job we did didn't pass muster, we had to rip it out and do it again. And again.
Many of my classmates hated sewing because they could "never get it right" and labeled Miss Brown as "way too picky." Not that she was ever mean or unpleasant. She simply wanted us to learn the basics of sewing and the correct way in which to do them.
With all that I absorbed under her two years of instruction, I was able to make all of my own clothes up to and through the years I was out in the working world. I also made dress shirts for my husband, then clothes for my daughter and various parkas, ponchos, jackets, and even bug screen liners for tents and beds.
When I first tried my hand at quilting, it came easily for me because of my strong sewing background. To be successful at quilting, you must be accurate whether it is in understanding how to prep fabric, cut it, or sew precise seams and small pieces of fabric together.
I know there are seamstresses who are self-taught, and it's possible to learn to quilt without having had any previous sewing experience. But I feel sure I wouldn't have had my lifelong interest in sewing and whatever skill I may have if it wasn't for the one-on-one instruction I got from Miss Brown at such an early age. Because I was fortunate enough to have her as my first sewing teacher, I obtained a thorough and sound foundation in sewing, and it's certainly helped great heaps and bunches in making me as good a quilter as I might be.
Thanks, Miss Brown. I hope somehow, some way you know you taught me a life-long skill for which I'm very grateful.