My mother didn't sew or do anything crafty. She read books. And she also read books. And sometimes she would read books. So I don't get my crafty gene from her. Her sister Nancy, on the other hand, did sew. She moved in with us for awhile after my father died and her creativity may have spilled over some on me. She wallpapered our house with sheets (it totally worked), cut the legs off an old dining table to make it into a really wide coffee table (i loved that table) and she "found" some old lamppost covers and put them over naked bulbs. She didn't make too many of her clothes from scratch, but she would do a lot of restructuring and transforming ready-to-wear.
I learned how to sew the same way most people did - in 8Th grade Home Economics class. After that semester I asked for a sewing machine for Christmas and got it. Youth makes you really adventurous and when I think back on some of the stuff I made back then I am really proud:
A bright red Qiana shirt and skirt set. Qiana was the essential disco fabric and I probably wouldn't be caught dead in it today.An authentic poodle skirt made from flannel - the kind that you usually see as squares in craft stores. It was really cute.
A pair of chocolate brown wide-wale corduroy jodphurs that I made in high school and wore until they almost fell apart in college. Loved those!
I took my sewing machine with me to college where I found several kindred spirits. Lots of girls at Florida A & M University were seamstresses. And we needed to be, because anyone who has ever gone to a HBCU (historically black college & university) knows that that are a lot of sorority and fraternity formals to attend. Unlike our counterparts at other colleges, everybody went to them whether you were a member or not. Maybe it was because it was Tallahassee, Fl and there wasn't anywhere else to go!!
After a couple of years (yes, I was in school for a long time - paying for it myself: one semester on, one semester off), I got a job in a fabric store (after working in a bookstore - you know I was still reading!). Then it was on!! My roommate also worked there as Assistant Manager and let's just say we took a few "liberties" (one of them is a serger that a customer paid for and never picked up; I still have it today).
Part 2 to come....