Sunday, November 6, 2011

GIVEAWAY!!!

Thanks so much, everyone, for the lovely comments on the Butterfly Back Dress. I can't wait to see it on Sophie. Your comments are always appreciated. They are so appreciated, I have decided to have a GIVEAWAY! The following bunch of goodies will be shipped to someone in the U.S. who has left a comment on this blog. I'lll use Random Generator and will pick the winner Tuesday evening at nine o'clock.

ETA:   I forgot I will be at the polls past closing time tomorrow which will have me not home at nine o'clock. I will draw the winner on Wednesday morning probably around eight o'clock so keep the great stories coming. I have really, really enjoyed reading them. We have so much in common. Thanks for understanding and if it's voting day where you live, get out there and vote!
Our Give Away consists of a copy of Sew Beautiful Magazine, a copy of "Sewing Classic Clothes That Fit" by Rene Bergh,  two, yes two, Frixion pens ( I still love them to pieces) and a set of five pewter clasps.

All I ask is that you leave a comment and in that comment tell me how old you were when you first used a sewing machine to sew real clothes, not dolly clothes. If you want to add a little backstory that would be really fun, so thanks for that if you do.
.......Bunny

50 comments:

  1. I first used a real sewing machine to make real clothes when I was in the 7th grade. I guess that would put me at 11 or 12 years old? My mom wouldn't let me touch her machine until I took a home ec class at school first. Fortunately, she let me sew after a couple of weeks in the class. I think I made a red maxi skirt. It was the 70s, after all.

    Anyway, I hope I win! You have some nice items there.

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  2. The first time I sewed something was in my freshman year in high school. I made a navy blue wrap skirt and took lessons from a woman in my town who had them in her home. We made what we wanted, worked at our own pace and she just went around and helped everyone. She also made us homemade desserts every week! This is probably why I like going to sewing classes, it seems like it should be a social experience to me! Thanks for all the posts on the dress! It is just beautiful and something to aspire to.

    Eileen

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  3. I can remember my Mom teaching a friend and I to sew halter tops in 5th or 6th grade. I hated it (probably because she loved sewing-I was a contrary child). 20 years later I started quilting and taught her! 15 years after that, now in my 40's I have started sewing clothes.

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  4. Beautiful work you do! I visit often, comment never I think. Sorry. I really should.

    I first used a real sewing maching in the summer after 4th grade. The lady who was our sitter believed all girls should learn certain things, sewing being one of them. I used a treadle machine and made many pairs of elastic waist shorts to wear that summer. I remember we visited a "cloth store" and bought colored denim for 50 cents per yard.

    She also taught me to can food, garden, clean, quilt, crochet and many other things I have enjoyed doing my entire life.

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  5. I think I was in eighth grade when I began sewing clothes for myself. One of my first projects was a culotte/jumper out of lime green and white daisy fabric. (Yes, this was the late 60s.) Another early dress was made of a blue and white paisley design with a stand-up collar and bell sleeves. I didn't know enough to know I "shouldn't" try more difficult patterns, I just did them anyway -- like the plaid dress with a princess-seamed bodice, a dropped waist, and buttoned cuffs and pockets.

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  6. I was eleven (in 1951). My mother had bought a new Singer to replace her old treadle. It came with sewing lessons and she didn't want them. She should have taken them but that's another story. So she signed me up. I clearly remember the blue rayon damask that I bought for a jumper and the lovely organdy for a blouse with a bow at the neck. It was a disaster, partly because of my choices, but partly because the teacher didn't want to bother with an eleven year old. I persevered. I am not an excellent seamstress; I still have lots to learn. But I've had adventures along the way. I love reading your blog and learning about fine sewing. Thanks.

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  7. I was twelve when I began sewing, and made A line dresses (ah, the sixties!). I also made Empire dresses which became fashionable a bit later. My mom didn't like them because it made me look pregnant! I never did make doll clothes because I really didn't play with them, but I plan to make them for my granddaughter! I love the pewter clasps and am already thinking of what I'll make with them. I love your blog, and in fact will be looking for your pj techniques as I'm making a flannel nightgown for the GD.

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  8. I was in junior high and made an A line dress out of the cutest flowered cotton with brown background. I wore it forever. My stepmom had a machine which was super temperamental and I tried to keep sewing but that darn machine was possessed (at least the tension discs were). My stepmom was uninterested in me or my sewing. I took it up again off and on in adulthood and then seriously in 2008.

    I really, really like those pewter clasps, and the books, and the pens... :-) ...crossing fingers...

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  9. I was 12 and in the sixth grade, 1970. Maxi skirts. Several. Two seams, elastic waist and a machine hem on a treadle machine no less!The same machine my mother used to make most of my clothes. I wish I'd learned more from her. She could do hand sewn buttonholes I'd love to be able to do today.

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  10. I made my first dress that I wore to school in the 4th grade - that made me 10. I still remember the print of the dress. It was a sleeveless shift dress. Mom did have to help me some with the zipper. I was very proud of that dress! great memory!

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  11. That would be 7th grade. First we made a wrist pin cushion, then an apron (to use when we did the cooking units) and then a "weskit" (one piece pullover vest.) I didn't do them well, but it got me started.

    Then I made A-line dresses (1960's) and when I married (1971) I made my own maternity clothes. Didn't get really into it until the early 80's though. I made most of my two daughter's church dresses and such and then their formal and semi-formal wear for school dances. And along the way I made cloth dolls and stuffed animals, also.

    Thanks for the chance to win!

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  12. Just thought I might as well add my story. I first sewed on a machine and made something when I was ten. My mom, a big utilitarian sewist, wanted me to learn and I wanted to learn. She also needed a new machine. We went together to Singer and she decided on the top of the line at the time. When they offered the classes , my mom said absolutely not and that the machine and classes were for "my daughter", me. The salesperson said I was too young for the classes and had to be twelve. My mother got into a big bruhaha and told them they could either keep their TOL machine or give me the classes and she would buy it and she started to walk out. I was mortified. The manager came after her and said I could take the classes. I remember the teacher was huffing and puffing over this. I went to the classes, learned a lot, completed my circle skirted, dolman sleeved little dress with a zipper and was very proud. I was off and running!

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  13. Oh those goodies would help me out tremendously! When I first used the sewing machine, I didn't start out making clothes I actually started out making pillows (small ones of course). When I did start sewing on the sewing machine I was about 12 years old. I would actually love to be able to get some more insightful information on sewing clothing because of my situation. I just started sewing a few months ago and been expanding my sewing abilities, and love it.

    Loved your story Bunny!! :)

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  14. Gosh, I'm thinking that it was in elementary school (probably about 9). I would sew the straight seems and Mother would do the sleeves and zippers. I had been making most of my clothes by the time that I took Home Economics in 9th grade. By the time that I was a freshman in college, I was making tailored wool and corduroy suits.
    Beckie in Brentwood, TN

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  15. I first started sewing at the age of 12. My parents did not have a lot of money and buying fabric was much more economical. Also, my mother would go to the good will and buy the largest dresses possible and we would take them apart and use the fabric for new items. I have sewn ever since for myself and for my family. I have tried for the last several years to conquer fit and that is why I appreciate your blog, because I have learned so much.

    Thank you
    Marie

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  16. I earned my first 'real adult' sewing machine when I was somewhere around the 5th grade, around 1970. I made appliques on a bedspread with it, which matched the drapes, for a custom home that artist Thornton Utz was building on Siesta Key. His wife Maude hired me through a mutual acquaintance I used to spend summers with (babysitting). The machine was a 1940's Necchi with its own cabinet and it was almost like driving a stick shift car in that everything was manual with levers. It was not unusual to have your right hand engaged with the machine while guiding the fabric with your left hand. It also had a knee lever which was a totally new concept for me. In retrospect, I am glad that I learned on such a machine, it helped me develop a good bit of sewing know how and coordination. I started making money with that machine shortly after.

    I will never forget the Utz home either. It was a seven level split floor plan; it had nooks and crannys and spiral stairs all over the place and the front door was a (real) castle door that had been imported from somewhere in Europe. It was massive and concave and his studio must have been at least three stories tall with windows just as tall. I will never forget that experience and it was nice, just now, bringing the memory into the 21st century.

    And in honor of that memory, here are a few reads about Mr. Utz:

    http://www.curtispublishing.com/bios/Utz.shtml

    http://www.saturdayeveningpost.com/2009/06/13/art-literature/artists-illustrators/thornton-utz-salute-dad.html

    P.S. I am pretty new to blogging and find your blog so inspirational and your work beyond compare. And excellent tutorials too. I am going to try the starch on the sheer hem s0on :)

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  17. I learned as an adult. I took an adult home economics class after work to learn how to use my machine and I did a few curtains and home projects. It wasn't until I had my daughter that I really got inspired to learn and try to make her some clothes. I started with decorated burp clothes and five years later I have learned to smock and do all kind of special projects for her. She inspires me to learn new techniques and try different materials. I hope to tackle a coat this winter.

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  18. I started sewing around 3rd grade because I loved clothes and was inspired by my great-aunt who was a fantastic seamstress. A woman in the neighborhood gave me personal lessons, I made a zip front lined wool jumper. Then I took classes at the Park & Rec and the Singer store, with lots of time spent with my aunt. By high school I was making most all kinds of clothes, prom dresses, outfits for tennis, even a down jacket. Once I started a career I made all my business wear, and my clients would quiz me about my outfits, amazed that I actually made them.
    To this day I continue to learn, get every new book at the library and try new techniques all the time. But I still have the same sewing machine I started on, a Singer 401 that my grandmother bought new. It works fantastically and I could never bring myself to get a new machine when I can spend on fabric instead!

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  19. First sewing was done for a home ec class in high school... made one of those wrap skirts. Didn't pick it up again until I was expecting my third child and desperately needed some new maternity clothes. Haven't stopped since! Especially love sewing for children and absolutely LOVE smocking!

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  20. P.S.S. - Just having remembered that experience was prize enough for me, I have more than enough books and clasps and fabrics and sewing stuffs. Thank you, Bunny, for the opp to share that story; I am still smiling just thinking about it.

    I could kick myself though for not accepting a position in the Ringling Brothers Costume department when I was 18! Same Sarasota connections whom I love dearly and stay in touch with to this day. At that time it would have meant a move to Washington D.C. which was just not an option a Florida beach girl could manage. Oh! what's that saying about hind sight!

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  21. A walk down memory lane! I seriously can't remember when I first began using the sewing machine to make clothes. I remember mom cutting out a wool plaid skirt for me that I sewed when I was probably ten or eleven. My baby sister was born when I was 13, and I recall making clothes for her. In the ninth grade, I took home-ec, and sewed my first pair of pants - corduroy.

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  22. Funny...I'm not sure exactly how old I was, but I know exactly what machine it was...my grandmother's treadle Singer. I must have been 8 or 9 and used to spend weeks in the summer visiting her at her rural Tennessee home. We made lots of things together, and the first clothing I made for myself was a simple sleeveless shift dress...it was blue and white seersucker, and I wore it to church and was so proud! Sadly, no pictures exist to show how it looked. I loved sewing on that treadle, and lately have been wanting one. Last year I taught a wonman who had learned to sew in her African home on a treadle...it was fun to see her first expereince on an electric machine. She thought it was funny that an American woman had first learned on a non-electric machine just the same as she had in a Burundi jundle town!

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  23. Hi Bunny! :) First time I used a sewing machine was when I was 14 during Home Ec class, which was once every 2 weeks for a semester (we had to fit in woodworking, electronic and cooking classes as part of our Home Ec syllabus for the year), just enough time to make a skirt. A classmate had a scary accident with one of the machines, and that pretty much prevented me from ever sneaking on my mum's machine. My husband bought me a machine 2 years ago when I said that I will finally conquer my fear of machines, but I only started using it last year to sew easy stuff. This year is the year that I say to myself that I will learn to sew my own clothes, at 32+. Right now I have just a few handmade ones, but I found myself reaching for them and the ones I thrifted and refashioned/altered more than the store bought ones... :)

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  24. Hi. I first used a sewing machine when I was 18! I was pregnant with my first daughter, wearing those 60's dresses that went straight from shoulder to hem. Stopped by my mom's in my lunch hour and she told me I HAD to start wearing maternity clothes immediately because I "looked like you swallowed a basketball!" Borrowed her machine, went to the cheap fabric store, bought two patterns and some $1.99 per yard fabric. I made one outfit every night for a week to wear to work the next day.
    Since then, I've sewn everything from bras to suits. I'm now a sewing devotee!
    Lynda

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  25. I started just recently at 28 (glad to see I'm not the only one who got a late start). My grandmother was a true artist with fabric and thread. Her love was quilts, but she also made dresses for my dolls (and teddy bears) and I suspect most of her clothing as well. I always admired her skill, but decided that I couldn't even attempt to learn to sew due to having no one near me to teach/mentor me.

    Then, three years ago, I made some really big changes in my life and decided to stop letting a lack of perfect circumstances keep me away from at least trying sewing. My first project was a pair of pajamas pants that I wore through and fixed several times before I finally gave up on them last year. Since then, I've made several pairs of pajama pants and a few costume pieces. I get better every time and really starting to build some confidence for more complicated work.

    A huge part of what helped me get over my hang-up about never having a teacher were the amazing blogs out there with such fantastic tips, tutorials, and techniques. I decided I could have dozens of virtual mentors/teachers. Bunny, you are definitely one of them!

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  26. Bunny, my mom taught me to sew when I was 11. She was a great sewist, and a total perfectionist. She made me rip out the entire seam if it was crooked at all! I still laugh about that, and am totally grateful that she passed along her love of textiles to me. I took home ec in school (of course), and made a lined 2 piece suit (navy blue linen lined in red broadcloth) and a white linen coatdress as my final projects. Pretty ambitious for a 13 year old!!

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  27. My first real sewing was at about 12 or so. My grandmother kept me for an afternoon and we made a jumper out of blue & white cotton. My mom is an amazing seamstress (she made wedding gowns for my two sisters and I). I learned a lot watching her, but she never really encouraged me to try it myself. I've been sewing a few things for myself, but more for my kids. Now that we have a little girl, I have big plans for this Christmas!

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  28. I sewed my first real dress and wore it to school when I was in second grade, so that would be age 7.I still have it, pinked seam allowances and galloping hand stitches on the binding around the armholes. By the way, the BB dress reminds me of a Junior bridesmaid dress I wore about 1965 that had a full skirt, with a "petal" shaped piece in both sideseams that had a tie on it and it folded forward and tied in front, or to the back. Hard to describe, but that extra something that older patterns seemed to have a lot of. Have to look for a picture.

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  29. I was in third grade so age 8. I made an apron as part of 4H class. The next year I made a skirt and the next year a dress. Each year the project got a little more complicated. By the time I was in high school, I made most of my clothes. I had a wonderful 4H teacher. Today I mostly sew for my two granddaughters.

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  30. my first sewing project was in 9th grade home ec class. i can still see the pale yellow coolottes (sp??) i made. gave it up until my stepdaughter hit the 8th grade, then made a few outfits for her...gave it up again until recently. am sewing some for my self and some for my niece's daughter...wish my mom was still alive. she was a great seamstress, i could use her help!!

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  31. Bunny,
    I paid $5 for a treadle machine with my babysitting money when I was 12 years old. I asked another neighbor if she would show me "how to sew". She helped me to make a circular skirt which I finished and wore for a long time! My mother thought I was a "funny little girl" indeed. She had absolutely no interest in sewing EVER!! I have been on my own with my sewing endeavors ever since. It is my greatest enjoyment in my retirement. That is why the sewing blogs are such an important part of my life now. I finally have sewing friends that share my love of all things "sewing". Thank you for your wonderful blog. I have learned so much!!
    Best regards!
    Janet

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  32. It was Junior high home ec, I believe. After that I used my Mom's machine until at age 19 I bought my first ever purchase on time...a sewing machine of my own, of course.

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  33. I guess the first time that I used a "real" sewing machine to make "real" clothes was in Home Ec class in the early 60's. It was a required class back in those days and our project was a shirtwaist dress. I remember that it called for 5 yards of fabric !! and was not at all becoming! However, it started me down a path that has given me much pleasure ever since.

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  34. I was probably under 10 years old when my mom first let me use her machine. I remember making several pairs of shorts, pajamas, a skirt, and a bathrobe long before leaving for college.

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  35. Like many of the others, I was required to take a home ec class before I was allowed to touch my mother's machine. We also had a TOL Singer. My mother made 4 wedding dresses, for my sisters and myself, and all our prom dresses. By the time I had children, I started making stretch n sew shirts for my babies, then let it all slide when there was no time what with work and 4 children. I restarted sewing about 5 years ago when I admired some of the coldwater creek skirts but refused to pay $125 for one. The rest is history. I simply love to sew and virtually make all my working wardrobe. I am very inspired by the work Bunny does and enjoy following her on the blog.

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  36. The first thing I ever made was a wrap around skirt for 4-H in the 5th grade. After that I was hooked. I have been sewing ever since expanding my creations to include smocking and heirloom sewing for my girls and others. Sewing is my "therapy"!!! My first machine came from a roadside yard sale for $5.00.

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  37. I learned to sew at age 11 - my mom taught me one summer on her Singer Touch 'n Sew. First item of clothing: shorts. I wore those shorts - fine cotton - until they were sheer in the seat! 48 years later I am still at it, making things for me, my daughters, my home and occasional gifts...

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  38. I was in 7th grade home-ec. I made a blouse. I had been using a machine for a long time before, making doll clothes, and crafty things, aprons, etc. I hated the class sewing machines. They were clunky and didn't sew well. I didn't like the home-ec teacher either, so the whole class was a bad experience. But it didn't deter me from loving to sew.

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  39. 10. I was ten. It was a skirt. Some sort of purple cotton. I sewed it with aqua thread, because that's what I could find. Knew nothing about darts, zippers, buttons or anything else. No pattern. Squares of fabric and a waistband. No elastic either. I was sooo proud of that skirt...

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  40. I was about 7 when I started my first real sewing. I never did make doll clothes began making my own clothes with my Mums supervision. I sewed on her Singer and Dad says I wore it out. My best story is making a pair of corderoy trousers when I was 10 and cutting the front and back with a different nap as I did not wait for Mum to check my pattern layout. I still made the trousers and the following year a national chain store had trousers for sale with the same light fronts and darker backs!

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  41. I started sewing at the sewing machine very young. I taught myself. It was my connection to my mom who died at the age of 37. I love your blog, you inspire me to get the projects done. I'm always amazed that you have so many irons in the fire and get them all done !!!Kats50@aol.com

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  42. Sadly I am not in the US so don't qualify for the prize, but wanted to add my story too. My mother used to sew to earn extra money at a time when things were tough - I can remember that she once made the doctor's daughter a coat in exchange for medical advise. I got my first sewing machine when I was about 7 years old, it was a realistic toy machine and I used to make clothes for my twin's dolls.

    Good luck to all you US readers boo hoo sob sob....

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  43. I really don't know. I could sew well when I started Home Ec in grade 8 -- I use to help others sew. Probably a year or two before that.

    I probably am not eligible as I live in Canada but I love to read what you have done on Stitcher's Guild.

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  44. My goodness! I was five when my mom parked me in front of a sewing machine the first time with the admonition to watch my fingers! But sewing for real and by myself, I was in about fifth grade and I was in a 4-H sewing club and made a top and a skort thing (they didn't call them that back then). I think I got a blue ribbon on it. Then of course, I had required home ec in 7th grade and made a jumper (A+). But I really started sewing when I was 18- 19, I started making all of my clothing. Before that, my mom and I pretty much sewed together (I laid out and cut out our patterns, she sewed, I did finishing work). I had been an ardent sewist for many years but quit about ten years ago. For what reason, I don't know. Then last summer, my daughters gave me a sewing machine and I have been enjoying sewing so much again!

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  45. hmmm, I entered earlier today, but I don't see it posted so here goes again (I didn't really answer the question correctly anyway!)

    After 8th-grade Home Ec class I was a non-stop seamstress. The first item I made was a cotton broadcloth jumper with a set-in zipper down the back. what fun!!

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  46. Hi Bunny, your grandchildren are the luckiest ever! What a beautiful dress. You continue to inspire me in my sewing endeavors. Perhaps someday I will be a more faithful blogger....so much to do, so little time. I was 11 when I began "puttsing" with mom's sewing machine, the following summer came the real classes, and mom's new viking to learn on. Full lined draperies at 13, clothing at 14. Haven't stopped since, quilts, handbags, jewelery, anything that takes a sewing machine or needle and thread calls my name.

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  47. Your blog is one on the few (of many subscriptions) I read daily. I have found some inspiration in your handbags.

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  48. I started with my own machine when I was 25. I bought my singer when I was living in Tennessee for a few months. I began with quilting then I move to Venezuela and changed to clothing because the fabric stores there did not carry quilting fabrics.
    Beautiful dress and thanks for the chance to win!

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  49. Can I mention my proudest moment - after trying to teach 4 disinterested daughters how to 'drive' a sewing machine? Daughter #3, as a work-study student, was assigned setting sleeves (in the costume department of her university) because no one else could do it. Don't know what they looked like, but felt that she'd won an award with that one! LOL And I was finally vindicated...

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  50. I started sewing when I was in grade school. I grew up quite near where you live now. Clothing stores were few and far between and I was such a scrawny kid that nothing ever fit me. So I started to make my own clothes. My mom and grandma both were experienced sewists and were great teachers. It has been 40+ years now and I still can't get enough of it!! My greatest accomplishment thus far was my daughter's wedding gown for which I won a blue ribbon at the New York State fair in 2010.

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