Steaming July days remind me of how much I hated sewing as a child and how much I love air conditioning today.
My mother always insisted that I take sewing as one of my 4-H projects. Back then practically everyone sewed.
The first year project I didn’t mind so much. We made simple things like tea towels and pillowcases to teach us to sew a straight seam without the machine’s needle going through a finger. The hard parts were pinning the hems so they would be straight and threading the bobbin.
Each summer the required items became more difficult and more time consuming. The clothing started with aprons and basic play clothes. We practiced making them from the less pretty feedsacks. Inevitably I progressed to Sunday dresses (ones made from the new synthetic we bought in town) and, the item I hated most, slips made from a slippery synthetic that radiated heat.
Sitting at the sewing machine without even a fan on a hot, humid summer afternoon was bad enough, but other steps in the process were even worse. It began with
draping the tissue-paper pieces of the pattern over my body to adjust it to fit. That involved a lot of my turning and stretching while my mother pinned. Once she had the various pieces of the pattern adjusted, we pinned them to the cloth. The challenge was to pin them on so that the pieces would match in the end product while using as little of the cloth as possible. Tricky stuff.
I dreaded cutting out the cloth. An errant cut could ruin the whole thing. The cutting done, we did another fitting, usually with me standing on a kitchen chair. Then the sewing, And more fitting. And taking out any seams that weren’t straight. And more fitting.
By the time my mother and the 4-H leader declared any garment perfect, I hated it.