My Most Precious Sewing Supply

Nov 21, 2012

When did you first discover your creativity?

I discovered my creativity when I was 5 years old. My kindergarten class made enameled and kiln-fired clay projects—a pretty complicated undertaking for 5-year-olds, now that I consider it.


The elephant that
changed my life.

I decided to make an elephant and how I labored and loved my elephant. It took a tremendous amount of painstaking time, and I wonder now at the patience I brought to the task.

I had learned that I could MAKE things, and it was the discovery of a lifetime.

I remember clearly how my elephant was shipped off to the kiln, and I waited forever, it seemed, for the it to return.  When we each were given our creations, we were warned not to touch them for a couple of days as they were still fragile from the kiln.

I couldn’t resist. I gently touched a fanned ear, and it broke, along with my heart. There was no fixing it, but when I took the elephant as a gift to my mother, she exclaimed at my talent, and I could tell that she really meant it. I swelled with pride. Suddenly, the bad ear seemed more like a badge of courage than a defect.

The elephant went wherever all children’s gifts to their mothers go. I thought of it often over the years, and it became a touchstone for my faith in my creativity. But I assumed it had broken or been lost in one of our many moves, and would live on only in my memory.

Fast forward four decades: My mother, who really could have been a museum curator with the exquisite care she has taken of memorabilia, visited, carrying one of her annual packages. Each year, she would unearth some treasure from my childhood and ceremoniously hand it over to me.

That year, it was--you guessed--my elephant. I can’t tell you the surge of emotion I felt as I held a prized elephant that I had thought long gone from my life.

I had just finished organizing my first dedicated sewing space, and the elephant took a watchful, safe, and secure place on a shelf—a constant reminder that I am a creative person at heart. That little elephant is my most precious sewing supply.

For plenty of projects and products to ignite your creativity, check out the Thanksgiving sale in the Sew Daily Shop.

When and how did you discover your creativity? I would love to hear your story.

Happy stitching!

 

 

 


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dablmo wrote
on Nov 21, 2012 8:26 AM

I discovered my creativity around the same age, 5, with scraps of fabric my mother had discarded while sewing. I would wrap those scraps around my cherished Barbie doll and made the most exquisite creations. Sometimes I would borrow a pin from my mother's pin cushion to hold the creation, sometimes I would use another scrap as a belt or tie. I would spend hours on the floor at my mother's feet creating Barbie designs while my mother sewed above. It was my time of discovery. Turns out my father designed windows for JC Penneys and did the exact same thing with entire bolts of fabric, pins, and mannequin. He had no formal training and never sewed a stitch, but would create the most beautiful dresses with pins and fabrics and lots of draping. Once a movie star (I don't know who she was) came to the store, saw the mannequin dressed in her finery, and asked to buy the dress. They brought my dad out and he told her it wasn't actually a dress but just pins and fabric to advertise the fabric being sold in the store. He took all the pins out and the fabric fell to the floor in neat folds. He then picked it up, redraped it on the mannequin and created another dress. She was amazed. He should've been a clothing designer. I get my talents from my grandmothers who both had designing talents beyond imagination. And my Dad and my Mom of course! I have designed garments and dance costumes for years since that day at the feet of my mother and those marvelously imaginative moments with Barbie and scraps of fabric. - Darlene Moore

on Nov 21, 2012 8:26 AM

I would love to share my story for "most precious sewing supply" but how. The link for it "I would love to hear your story" just brings me back to this page. But then maybe this is the place to be ... ???

Mizrae13 wrote
on Nov 21, 2012 8:32 AM

When I was in kindergarten I was so happily painting my first painting at an easel when the teacher looked at my creation and said "Carol, there is no such thing as a green flower."  I was shocked and humiliated.  From that moment on I found a determination to find my own unique voice through art and started taking great pleasure in breaking those "rules" about art that kept that poor, unfortunate teacher in

such a restrictive place.  Since then, I have seen many green flowers in nature and I am still drawn to them as a reminder to keep my creativity authentic to who I am.

JDNow wrote
on Nov 21, 2012 9:07 AM

I grew up in a very creative household with my mom always sewing and my dad busy in his workshop. These activities were ( and still are ) what fed their souls. Being creative was part of my everyday life just like breathing- I didn't think about it.

I am now in my fifties and in the last five years there has been a growing realization that not everyone is what I call a " maker ".There are people who LOVE to make stuff and people who absolutely don't.

You must be creative to be a " maker " so I was 47 before I realized not everyone is creative.

check out my creativity at WeSew.blogspot.com

Langtonian wrote
on Nov 21, 2012 9:29 AM

I'm enjoying these little trips back.    My Grandmother taught me to knit when I was  about six or seven.    However it was my Aunt Chris who introduced me to embroidery, two or three years later, with a hemmed piece of cotton stamped with

a flower ready to sew.   From there I graduated to hand towels, tray cloths etc.

and I soon left behind the "iron-on" designs.   A few of my early "works" still hang

on the bathroom rail but Embroidery in all its varieties has always been part of my life.     Sooo, thanks Auntie Chris.

Margaret Gourlay

carolee1945 wrote
on Nov 21, 2012 9:37 AM

What a beautiful story you have told!!!!  Here is mine: I had these 8 inch dolls called Ginnie dolls-- for hours and hours my cousins and I would create story after story. One Christmas, my aunt, without any pattern, crocheted lovely ballet costumes for all our dolls.  It amazed me.  With thread, this woman created this spangled confection for MY doll?  Then my uncle made an entire dollhouse for my cousins' Ginnie dolls.  Upstairs, downtstairs, wallpaper, the works.  I begged and begged my dad to make me one.  He just would not, even though he had a workshop full of tools and was very handy with them.  So, guess what?  I decided to make my own dollhouse.  I used scrap wood and my dads hammer and nails and saw. Sure, mine did not look as good as my cousins, but that was the day I discovered I could make things.  I went on to make many little outfits for these dolls after learning how to sew in junior high.  Gee, I was kind of old to be playing with dolls!!!  

Gramma Owl wrote
on Nov 21, 2012 10:17 AM

My creativity began as a child of seven. My grandmother taught me how to knit a pair of booties. Amazingly I memorized the pattern and 12 years later I taught my "dorm-mates" to make adult sized booties using the same pattern only using larger needles and heavier yarn. This was when I began to realize my design abilities. I have gone on to alter or design many things from quilts to needlework to floor plans and am prud to say these projects brought me much pride and many compliments. To me creativity is a process. I spend a great deal of time thinking about a project before I actually start working on it. Often it is a matter of combining peices of several patterns together to create something totally different. That's what make it fun!

MM Rose wrote
on Nov 21, 2012 11:21 AM

On my 9th Christmas I was given a paint by number set. I fell in love when I saw the picture of a dog come to life. A Grandmother taught me how to cross- stitch pillow cases I fell in love again. Next by 11 I could crochet and knit and I found that I really did love to create with fiber. So my love for sewing and handwork  grew when I started to designing doll clothes and simple things for me to wear. All the while being gently guided by my  Mother, Grandmother and Aunt. I am very thankful that these women took the time to help me learn and discover my creativity and talents.

gdie66 wrote
on Nov 21, 2012 12:49 PM

All great stories.  Thanks for sharing everyone!!  

Personally, I never considered myself a 'creative' person until I was in my 20's and had returned to knitting after a long hiatus (university, career etc).  I began altering patterns to make them work for me.  This concept was also reinforced this past summer when I sewed new curtains from existing curtains for our summer place.  I had it in my mind that I was not going to spend any money and was going to use what I had on hand.  I was able to take one of set curtains and make them in to two sets.  My husband was so impressed he bought me a new sewing machine as he saw what pleasure I took in the whole process!!

BWalters wrote
on Nov 21, 2012 12:58 PM

Being the youngest of 3 children (brother and sister were 6 and 8 years older) I spent alot of my early years at my mother's feet while she sewed on her sewing machine.  When I received a little red, tin, battery-operated sewing machine I thought I was in heaven.  I started making clothes for all my dolls, and continued to do so through junior high, moving on to making mommie and me matching outfits for my daughtet when she was a toddler.  Later, I made her prom gown and couldn't be prouder of my accomplishments.  But, as I started college later in life and grew into a management job, my sewing machine stood in the closet.  Now that I am retired and a grandma of 4, I moved from the east coast to join my youngest daughter and her young family in California.  I just bought a pink battery-operated sewing machine for my 6 year old grandaughter and can't wait until Christmas for her to open it.  She has just learned how to handsew on a button and is so eager to learn how to sew.

notimetoknit wrote
on Nov 21, 2012 6:16 PM

Amber, that is a beautiful story!  Thank you for including a photo of your wonderful elephant.  

CypressJoan wrote
on Nov 21, 2012 11:53 PM

When I was in second grade, we were drawing a farm in which to place a "sticker cow." Mine was chosen as BEST and I got to take it to other classrooms to proudly show off my creation! Then and there I decided that I would be an ARTIST and i never changed my mind!

MMArie wrote
on Nov 24, 2012 11:47 PM

I got the creating bug around the age of 5 or so, too.  My grandmother had been lovingly overseeing our attempts to make purses with the dish towels that came in boxes of detergent.  One day, my grandfather brought home a bag of denim scraps from a nearby sewing factory.  They were all about 4 inches wide and 18 inches long.  I overlapped them to make two pieces wide enough for a pillow.  The selvages were white, and I kept that side on top of the overlap, and it gave a nice striped effect to the pillow.  I learned on that day not only to sew with the sewing machine, but to use 'found' things to create, as well as using elements of the fabric in the design.  I still have that pillow in my sewing room.

Danielle50 wrote
on Nov 27, 2012 2:09 AM

Well I remember wanting new baby doll clothes when I was 8 years old.  My mother showed me how to take the brown paper grocery bags and pin down my baby dolls current dress laying it down flat and pinning to the paper.  Then cutting it out giving enough seam allowance to sew.  Then she showed me how to thread a needle, tie the knot and sew by hand. I also learned to sew on hook-eyes and snaps.  And from then on I made all my dolls clothes with any fabric I got my hands on from my cousins who then introduce me to the world of sewing machines.  And now at the age of 50 my passion for this style of life is as strong and exciting as then.  Also it is a great memory of my mother.

AmberStitch wrote
on Dec 3, 2012 2:17 PM

Thanks fgr all your wonderful stories. I shared this post and the comments with my mother when I was home for Thanksgiving, and it really made her day!

KittyF54 wrote
on Dec 20, 2012 6:37 PM

at age six our first grade teacher told us to bring in three or four pieces from mom's rag bag that reminded us of a picture or maybe it was something we could make a picture with.   at school we were supposed to use the fabric scraps to make the picture we imagined.  My teacher told me that it was the most creative use of fabric she'd seen.  I used the patterns in the fabrics to represent stars, sand and water.  She made me think I was creative.