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Home arts: Sewing stitches generations together–sister, mother, and grandmother

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Home arts: Sewing stitches generations together–sister, mother, and grandmother

A few exmples of some of the outfits Sierra has made in the past.

A few exmples of some of the outfits Sierra has made in the past.

Susan Rossman

A few exmples of some of the outfits Sierra has made in the past.

Susan Rossman

Susan Rossman

A few exmples of some of the outfits Sierra has made in the past.

by Sierra Rossman, Guest Reporter

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The short URL of the present article is: https://lhslance.org/qowyk

Art comes in many different forms. One of those forms that is quickly declining in popularity is sewing. What little we have left of the art is partially contained in stories.

My grandmother tells stories of how she would hand-sew full-size quilts with her mother, neighbors, and girls from their town. They would create designs with varying difficulties like the Dutch girl, wedding ring, and starburst.  My sister and I both have Dutch girl patterned quilts on our beds that she created, and they mean much more to us than any store-bought quilt.

“When I was growing up, my mom and I would sew squares together by hand for the quilt, and then we would work on the pieces that go in between them on the quilt. Sometimes we would have three people working on one quilt at once. My mom and I would make these quilts all the time, and I’m so grateful that she taught me because it was a great time for bonding with my mom,” said Virginia Barnard, my grandmother. 

With sewing machines becoming increasingly digital and computerized, it seems that sewing would be increasing in popularity, too, but, for most women and men, sewing is something “grandma knows how to do.”  I’m grateful that my grandmother taught us, but if you do not have a relative who sews, any JoAnne Fabric store offers lessons, often free with the purchase of a sewing machine.  They also have sewing workshops so anyone can learn.  

I began sewing before I could read. I copied my older sister who felt the urge to learn the art due to the 4-H project she yearned to enter. When I was old enough, I joined 4-H and took part in the clothing projects and other sewing challenges. Fairs and community shows over the past dozen years have experienced a steady decline in sewing entries. Local groups, like 4H groups, have sewing workshops and competitions.  Every year I participate in the Central Cluster 4-H fashion show, and I’m proud of my ribbons, but I also wear the clothes I make.  They aren’t just an art project.  

An outfit Sierra has made in the past.

For one of the events, my sister Sydney and I took our grandfather’s oversized button-down shirts and transformed them into belted dresses.  Very little sewing was required, but the results were great.

“Competing with my sister has always been a challenge for me because, of course, we would sew different garments, so we would never be against each other in construction, but modeling was a whole different level of family competition. I realize now that my sister made me compete harder than I ever did,” said Sydney. 

Dedicated to her girls, my mother began to teach herself with books, pamphlets, classes at Jo-Ann’s Fabrics and with guidance from my grandmother. Watching my older sister sew when I was very young sparked an inspiration and desire to take up sewing myself, part to be like her and part to be better.

“I learned to sew because my oldest daughter was interested in learning for 4-H. It gave me the opportunity to bond with both of my daughters and provided us with a creative outlet. Teaching kids to sew at a workshop is really rewarding because we get to brighten up a child’s life while in the hospital,” Susan Rossman said. 

Sierra Rossman
Pillow cases made for Ryan’s Case For Smiles.

There are local charities that take sewing donations like Ryan’s Case for Smiles that accepts simple pillowcases to comfort children with varying illnesses and The Linus Project that accepts blankets for children. Learning to sew something as easy as a pillowcase can brighten a hospitalized child’s room and bring a little joy where it’s needed.

Sewing is an art to connect with my mother, sister, and grandmother, and it taught me many lessons of patience, how to overcome obstacles (and sharing–when my sister and I choose the same pattern.)

Handing down the tradition of sewing will continue to become a lost art if more people don’t become interested. Even if someone doesn’t want to sew a difficult outfit, I challenge you to try a blanket or pillowcase.

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1 Comment

One Response to “Home arts: Sewing stitches generations together–sister, mother, and grandmother”

  1. timothy a miller on December 10th, 2018 10:05 pm

    Great Article Sierra! Proud of you!

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Home arts: Sewing stitches generations together–sister, mother, and grandmother