When I was a young stay-at-home mom, my sister-in-law introduced me to the world of sewing. With young children at home, I was looking for ways to save money, so I used my new skills to make clothing for my growing babies. Eventually, I began to make clothes for myself and for my husband, and my confidence and skills grew.
In the 80’s, I had the opportunity to sew for a small company called Canvasbacks. They were in their infancy and looking for seamstresses to sew from home. Seamstresses picked up cut pieces at the warehouse, sewed the products at home, and then brought back the finished goods. Eventually, business picked up and they hired in-house seamstresses. My children were still young, though, and a full-time job out of the home wasn’t an option at the time.
Instead, I started taking in alterations and sewing orders from my home. I even expanded to bridal wear, making wedding gowns and bridesmaids dresses as well as doing alterations. I worked at a bridal shop doing alterations, and later managed a fabric store until it closed.
By then, my children were getting older, and I went back to my first profession, nursing. Even though I was doing less professional sewing, I never really put down my needles. I took up quilting, worked on my knitting and crocheting, and sewed things for my family and neighbors.
No doubt about it, my mom is my inspiration. When I was young, my mom taught me how to sew, and it was a skill that always stuck with me. I worked on sewing projects for the County Fair and participated in the 4-H Style Review, but never really understood what a life skill I was learning.
In college, it occurred to me that sewing wasn’t a skill that everyone had. My friends were impressed when I was able to put together a simple Halloween costume with my needle and thread. A popped seam or a lost button was a major tragedy to my girlfriends, but I barely broke a sweat.
Later, when I worked in commission sales, I realized just what a feat my mom accomplished in building her business from the ground up, by word of mouth. And she did it all while raising four kids!
Now I’m a stay-at-home mom myself, and I have a three-year-old and a one-year-old who keep me pretty busy! I’m following in my mom’s footsteps by sewing clothes at naptime and after my little peeps have gone to bed, and I’m learning how to stretch a budget by turning to simple, homespun solutions.
About Once Upon a Sewing Machine
The sewing machine has always been a place for us to come together as mother and daughter. It is a place where we can brainstorm, laugh, and sometimes cry. Any catching up after being apart means a trip to the sewing room or craft table to share new projects and check out the latest fabric purchase or crafty little item.
So call this our labor of love—a collaboration, something for us to work on together even though we live six hours apart. This blog will share tutorials, training, and even finished products for you. We’d love for you to join us!
Rachel & Donna
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