Sewing as an Art

I have always sewn. I grew up in a home with a sewing machine and I still own that machine; A Singer 401A. My mother told me that she bought that machine when my brother Randy was 2 so she could make him a clown costume for halloween. So that would have been in either 1959 or 1960. The machine is heavy duty, all steel and most of the time runs better than my newer computerized machines. It will sew heavy denim and I have even used it to repair sails for my Hobie Cat.

I was a Girl Scout and earned all the sewing badges. I remember 7th grade Home Economics and the sleeveless dress we all had to make. Despite removing every seam at least 3 times, I received an A on the dress. When I was 15, my mother had my youngest sister; Baby clothes and little toddler outfits were the range. does anyone remember the pinafores that crisscrossed in the back with little elastic bloomers?

In high school, one of my 1st jobs was at a store called Minnesota Fabrics. One of the perks was that if you agreed to sew something that could be put on display, they would give you the fabric. I remember a deep rust velvet Medieval Gown with heavy ivory lace that taught me everything I needed to know about fabric nap.

 After I married, I had my 1st business doing tailoring in my home. I lived in Detroit then and remember women bringing me beautiful wool coats to reline or to lengthen the sleeves. When my children were born, I made costumes every Halloween and my daughter wore the most beautiful dresses at school. We always had a sewing machine up in the house and I still fondly remember a young 16 year old friend of my son's who sat and sewed in the dining room while all of his buddies were outside skateboarding. I remember a Halloween party when he showed up with a Wild Things Costume he had made himself!

1975, I made my best friends wedding dress. I remember offering to make my sister Tracy's wedding dress for her when she was getting married. She looked at me with big eye's and said, "what, a homemade dress?  Needless to say, when the bridal store order was mismanaged, I ended up making the most beautiful pink silk dress with a white organza overlay and all the bridesmaids dresses that we purchased and had to tailor to fit the wedding party. My skills came in handy and my sister's dress was prettier than the one shown in the bridal magazine.

Of course, this was when fabrics were really nice, when I go to fabric stores today I have a difficult time selecting due to all the polyesters, UCK!!!!

I am drawn to textiles, I love combining different fabrics and I love anything with texture. I love loose threads, hand sewing and natural fibers.

It is sad that sewing has almost become a "lost art". Today's generation did not grow up with mother's who sewed. Due to budget cuts, Home Economics has been cut from the schools. It's not cool to be in "scouting" and at Halloween there are stores that sell costumes cheaper that the fabric costs at the Fabric Stores.

I get lost in the Fabric Store! I love all the beautiful colors, I love the texture. Now I spend my time looking for unique fabrics to dye. Fabrics that will eventually become Art-to-Wear.

As an artist, I create my fabric designs, then I sew the objects together to create one-of-a-kind Art-to-Wear and Home fashions. Yes there are little imperfections, but don't you just love the fact that the piece you are buying is entirely handmade!


Suzanne ConnorsComment