Sewing Woman

Image Credit: Shutterstock

Thought to have begun in the Paleolithic Era, or Old Stone Age, sewing is one of the oldest known textile arts. It is believed that sewing predates spinning yarn and fabric weaving. According to Wikipedia, “Sewing is the craft of fastening or attaching objects using stitches made with needle and thread.”

Mask Pattern

Image Credit: You Tube

During the Middle Ages, those with means hired seamstresses and tailors to produce clothing. Sewing was considered to be one of the few acceptable professions a woman could have and most women worked out of their homes and didn’t usually make enough money to live on comfortably. For most common people clothing was an expensive investment. The women of the household were tasked with maintaining every family member’s clothes. Sewing was used for mending as well as producing. Nothing was wasted. Old worn clothing was sometimes turned inside out and reinvented. If a garment couldn’t be mended or saved the fabric would be cut up and the better pieces were used to create some new garment or some new thing such as a quilt. Women often did piece work. There are several steps involved in the production of hand made garments and women often developed a “specialty.” If one woman was great at assembling a garment, she might trade her specialty to another woman who could do beautiful decorative embroidery. By bartering in this manner, women could cut their workloads, produce more, and tend to their mending.

Thomas Saint

Image Credit: Fiddlebase

Home made clothing was the norm in most homes until a man named Thomas Saint patented the sewing machine during the Industrial Revolution in 1790. With the invention of the sewing machine it became possible to mass produce clothing. Fifty years or so later, sewing machines were beginning to be available and affordable for most households. The demand for sewing machines began c.1850 which led to the demand of sewing patterns.

Paper Sewing Pattern

Image Credit: You Tube

By the early 20th century a man named Ebenezer Butterick began offering paper sewing patterns that could be traced by home seamstresses. These paper patterns were sold in small packages and were reusable. The demand for these patterns was huge and several companies began producing them. With the advancement of technology modern clothing can be mass produced at an incredible speed and most people can still learn to sew their own clothing as well as perform many other sewing tasks. Sewing is considered both an essential skill as well as a hobby.

Paper Sewing Packets

Image Credit: Sew Obssessed

As you have probably guessed by now, the Dewey Hop blog has moved into a new Dewey Decimal classification category. We are exploring the 646 category, Sewing, clothing, management of personal and family life. Sewing is not restricted to making clothing. Other items that can be made include but are not limited to interior design products such as curtains, bedding, pillows, uphostry, toys, pet items, decorative items, and gifts just to mention a few items. Anyone can sew from beginners to experts and anyone can improve and add new skills to their repertoire.

If you would like to learn to sew there are many books in the library that can walk you through the various stages of sewing. Many libraries, including the Fulton County Public Library, are beginning to offer maker spaces. Maker spaces include sewing machines and areas to work. There are many free online sewing classes for all skill levels. Additionally you might learn to sew from someone you know or by joining a sewing club. The possibilities are truly endless.

Though I wish I could show you all of the books that the Fulton County Public Library has to offer (and trust me that’s a lot of them! It should also be mentioned that many of these books also include paper sewing patterns that circulate with the books.) I will have to settle for just showing you a few of the books I checked out this time.

101 Ways to Use Your First Sewing Machine

Image Credit: Amazon

The Complete Photo Guide to Sewing

Image Credit: Thriftbooks

Handmade Interiors

Image Credit: Walmart


Creative Kindness

Image Credit: Amazon

Is sewing something you are interested in? Do you own a sewing machine? What skill level would you place yourself at?


13 thoughts on “Sewing

  1. I’ve sewed all my life, taught by my mother who was a highly skilled seamstress. Over the years I’ve made clothes for myself and my family, including suits I wore to work. I also made pillows, curtains, bags, towels, toys, quilts, I could go on and on. One of my first purchases upon leaving school was my own machine. When I got into doing art, first I made craft items and then moved into fabric wall hangings that I sold for several years before I then moved into paper mixed media and painting. I recently made masks, and I’m signed up for an online class making fabric journals starting soon. I have so many memories of fabric shopping over the years and I still read sewing books for enjoyment. Thank you for the post, as it’s caused me to reflect on this activity I’ve participated in of almost 60 years.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. It’s been a very useful skill to me over the years. Now I don’t make clothing or functional items, but I do art projects with fabric – I am about to start a class in making a fabric journal next week. It’s one of those things that if you learn how to do it, it will repay you forever.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. This one I am a student. It’s being given by the Smithsonian (online of course). I am eager to see what we do, and to renew my friendship with artwork involving fabric – I haven’t done much for a long time but in the past year have inched back to doing some. I thought a class would set me toward a habit of thinking about fabric art again.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Yes, I will. I have been writing up different events or classes this winter (normally I would not, but I enjoy it – it helps me keep the info learned in my mind, and I think maybe other people might like reading about what places or things there are to learn things these days that we did not have before.

        Liked by 1 person

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