Monday, June 3, 2013

Sewing Friends: Major Mama from Without Directions

Without Directions is a blog with four writers; a mom and her three daughters who all write under a pseudonym.   Major Moma is the one that participates in the sew-along of Project Run and Play and is basically obsessed with it each season.   So, she was quite excited when Without Directions was invited to guest post as part of the PRP Flickr Friends series.  But, she is in the midst of a major move and all her sewing gear has been packed up since mid-April, so creating something just for this post was not option.  And, there have been so many fabulous tutorials posted so far, we really did not have anything to add in that arena.  Instead, we thought it would be fun to share a conversation about generational sewing for kids.  
Major Moma:  When I was a child, my mom (known as M on the blog) made a lot of my clothes.  I remember it as being probably a 1/3 of my clothes being mom-made until I started to buy my own.  Then she made only the special items I needed/wanted.  Several of these special items were fancy dresses for high school dances.
Major Moma in a Kwik Sew t-shirt
M:  When I sewed for my children, sewing was a necessity; we had very little extra to buy many clothes, and three little girls.  I was raised with a mom who sewed constantly, and always believed handmade was best.   I started with baby nightgowns, graduated to little overalls, and then little dresses.  I didn't sew as much as my mom, but I thought if I wanted my kids not to wear just hand-me-downs, I had to sew.
Mc H and Major Moma in M made clothes

Major Moma:  I first started sewing for children when I was pregnant with my first child.  I mentioned to my mother that I would like to make my new baby girl’s wedding dress just like she had made mine.  To that my mom replied, “Then you better start sewing her clothes now.”  I took that advice and started to make baby items.   I have been learning more and more skills as I sew for each of my children and it has become a great joy.
From the top clockwise, Abi in Kwik Sew coveralls (her fabric choice), Abi in Kwik Sew dress, and Eli in kwik sew overalls
To get me started, my mom gave me a book with pattern sheets called Kwik Sews Sewing for Toddlers.  I have learned a ton from sewing these patterns again and again.  I also love the retro look of the clothing and think it is fun that I am sewing from the same patterns that my mom did when she was sewing for me.

Major Moma in Kwik Sew overalls and M's parents
M:  I liked sewing with knits for the kids, my mother was one of the first teachers of Stretch and Sew.  So when Kwik Sew came out with that book with all those patterns..... it was great.  Knit handmade clothes don't look homemade.

Winocologist in a Kwik Sew t-shirt

Winocologist in another Kwik Sew t-shirt
Major Moma:  Now my biggest challenge is to adjust my sewing style and gain the right skills to keep my children interested in mom-made clothing.  I still have a 2 year old that will not complain about what mom sews.  But my older children are becoming more fashion conscious and I want them to see the clothes I make more as ‘custom’ instead of homemade. 

M:  I will say, most of the time my kids felt like I did; they could get better quality and a nicer dress or outfit if I made it.   Money was always a limitation, and if you want a prom dress that didn't look like anyone else’s, (and that was always Major Moma's goal) you had it custom mom made.

Major Moma in yellow in an M dress M made
M:  I didn't make everything, even when the kids were little.  Major Moma is very ambitious.  She sews even more than I did.  I never bothered with jeans, and once the kids stopped using elastic waist pants, I bought them.   But we had some great special occasion dresses.  When I did them, I did them so my girls had really special dresses. 
fancy dresses made by M

Little did I know that it was just practice for their wedding dresses...I made all three girls their wedding dresses using the skills gained on those fancy prom dresses.  

wedding dresses made by M
Major Moma:  And now I look forward to the day when I will be making special prom dresses and someday, wedding dresses.
And of course with this many years of sewing under our belt, we have some tips.
Thank you for letting us share a little bit of why we sew/sewed for our children.  And thank you for all the inspirational sewing we see on PRP each season!

Why do you sew for your children?  Who do you identify with more, M or with Major Moma?

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  1. What a fun write up! I love all of the older photos. Hope the move goes well and you can unpack your sewing machine soon!

    1. Thank you! I loved seeing all the old photos my mother scanned for this post. Many I have not seen in decades! I hoped other's would not be bored with my family photos and trip down memory lane. ~ Major Moma

  2. This was a delightful post! Thank you for sharing!

  3. What a heartwarming story! I learned to sew as an adult but started on way too hard design school projects. Sewing for kids first is so logical.


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