Monday, August 19, 2013

An Old Passion Making a Comeback!

Do you sew? I do. Not so much clothes anymore, but I do love adding a pillow project, or make a quick handbag. I used to make all the Halloween costumes for my Daughter and then for my Grandkids, such fun! And all the cute little sundresses, shorts, and jammie pants, so many memories of when my Daughter and G-kids were small, wow it all went by so fast. But have you noticed all the new sewing sites that have popped up lately, and especially on Pinterest. Love to see the younger generation getting into this "New" fad! LOL And the knitting and Crochet sites too, all the new ideas are just wonderful! You know my Dad was a Tailor in the Navy for a time, making the uniforms on the ship, which led him to make things for me. There were three things that I remember him making, My Angel costume for the School play, (when there could be angels in school plays) and a green skirt for another school play that we danced the Virginia Reel , and then the most beautiful Grey Wool Box Pleated skirt that was so full, I loved twirling in it. It was just something so wonderful. When I went to graduate from High School, I needed a half a credit, so my counselor said I could take Home Ec! Ahh the begining! Home Ec was split into three sessions, the first was sewing, the second was cooking, and the third was decorating. Do they even have this in schools anymore? Probably not. Well the sewing class began with two projects, we had to make an apron with the front bib, and then we were going to learn to make a simple A-line dress, sleeveless. I guess it was in the Genes I inherited from my Dad, but man I caught on to this sewing thing so fast, I was done with my apron and the teacher said for me to go around and help the others. When it came time to make the dress, I asked the teacher if I could choose a more complicated pattern, one that was fitted with long sleeves and ruffles, my reason was I was a Senior and would not get another chance at this.She agreed and at the end of the sewing session we had a fashion show and I won top honors and my picture in the local paper! Fun!

Yep that is me at 18 years Class of '65', I chose white with navy polka dots, a ruffle at the neck and sleeve. I used the same pattern for my Graduation dress, in white with a plain neck line.

Oh yeah I was bitten by the Sewing Bug!
After High School we moved to Florida and I started working at Sears part time, as I rode the bus everyday to work, the drop off point was in front of a beautiful shoe store called LaRose Footwear. I would look in the window everyday, wishing... his shoes were so expensive. One day Mr LaRose came outside to talk with me and invited me in the store to try on a special pair he had selected just for me! Well I could not afford them of course, he said that he had never extended credit to a teen before, but if I came by every Friday to make payments, he would let me take the shoes!! I came by every Friday like clock work, Mr LaRose and I became such good friends along with his wife Trudy, he said if you ever need work Rena you are welcome here. Come to find out after Christmas Sears laid off all part time help for a month, well not being able to be without a pay check for a month, I went to Mr. LaRose and asked for a job. That is when I started Modeling shoes for LaRose. I was a Model for him for two and a half years. The most wonderful job ever. My sewing continued all along, and when it came time to go the Midshipmans Ball, I designed my own formal dress. Back in the mid sixties you had to be invited to this formal affair. The LaRose's had submitted my name.  For my formal I chose a material that was shimmery gold and pink, with a pink organza overlay I added pink Ostrich feathers around the neckline.It turned out fantastic!

This is a picture of the dress taken at a USO Valentine Dance, I was 19.
Sewing has been such a fun part of my life, I never look at a pattern for what it is, I always see it the way I design it in my mind. Here are two more looks that I've made, One a jumpsuit ( I still have the bracelet), and a A-line dress with a bow. I used to love to sew with Kettle cloth or Voile.

Sorry for the blur, had to take pictures of old photos.

When it came time for me the Marry, I made my own Wedding Dress from a Vogue pattern, I was 22. The dress was of a fabric called Candlelight, it had a slight shimmer, the front of the boatneck dress had a cotton lace panel that ran down the front, wide at the shoulders and narrow at the hem. The Train was made of the same heavy cotton lace, in the shape of a bow. A little pearl crown that I gathered tulle on to form my veil.

I have tons of projects to show, but these are pictures of the "Beginning"
I often think of my Home Ec classes, it was such an influence on my life. If I'd only known I would have loved it all so much, the sewing, the cooking, the decorating, I would have started taking it in my Sophomore year! I say that because the Senior girls that had done this all along, were learning to make Mens Suits!! Holy Cow!


  1. I love your stories.. I always wondered how you became a shoe model.. now I know. I loved the dress with the feathers at the top.. and the wedding dress.... oh my. With all to do BEFORE a wedding and you made your dress too. WOW. You were certainly born to sew.. and you were indeed very good at it

  2. Rena, Thank you so much for inviting me to read your blog. I love these stories and the dresses you made are beautiful (wonder where they are now?). If it's ok with you I'm going to share your blog with my other sewing friends and I've signed on to follow you. I'm looking forward to more sewing stories. Cheers, Adele

  3. You are quite the talented seamstress! I love all of your creations.

  4. Kathleen, Adele and Laura, I thank you for your kind comments, I love to sew, but I'm afraid I am more into recovering pillows, making Christmas stockings and the occasional Handbag now. I do plan however to try my luck at making curtains for my living room, just single panels, so how hard can it be?? LOL!