Teach the One 2 Sew: Evy from A Bit of Stitch

September 24, 2015 in News

Our last guest post for Teach the One 2 Sew comes from Evy Hawkins of A Bit of Stitch. Today, she’s sharing her learning-to-sew journey and how a special woman encouraged her along the way.

Totally Stitchin': Teach the One 2 Sew with Simple Simon & Co.
I realized while thinking about this story telling invitation that I couldn’t remember ever not sewing. My earliest sewing memory is the awful trouble I got in when I lost a needle in my mother’s bed. (That wasn’t a good day for either of us.) Yet, when I was small mom didn’t sew – as in make things from scratch. She did mend, patch and fix, so there were always needles and thread in our house, and I was resourceful. My first stash was comprised of worn-out socks, paper towels, the bottom two inches of the curtains in the spare bedroom and, more often than not, my own wardrobe. I think mom thought if she just let me at it long enough, I’d figure it out.

Then my great aunt Agnes came to stay with us one summer. Aunt Agnes knew her way around a needle and thread like I had never seen. AND, she was willing to spend her time showing me – a grubby, eternally questioning, impatient, insatiably curious and probably whiny child – how to make pretties with that needle and thread! That was the summer the love of sewing truly spread its roots and took hold of my heart. And that sweet lady is the reason my love of sewing continues to bloom strong today.

Totally Stitchin': Teach the One 2 Sew

I can still hear her soft, Irish brogue telling me, “…a bit of stitch, Evy, just a bit, neat and tidy in a row…” while she encouraged me to learn backstitching – twelve per inch. (You try that!) I had the tendency to let my stitches get longer and longer and further and further apart, because I wanted to see what it was going to be now, not later. She taught me the value of neatness. From her I learned that anything worth doing is worth doing well. I remember her rule of “no more thread in your needle than will reach from your lap to your nose.” That meant re-threading the needle a LOT.

She was teaching me that sewing was a friendly occupation. It was encouraged that my hands be busy when visiting, especially with any “significant” others. The reason for the short thread was: “Ach! Evy! You don’t want to poke him in the eye, now, do you?” And then there was the single-strand-thread sewing lesson. Not doubled and knotted. Not even knotted. Just one strand of thread folded down past the eye a bit. Take two tiny gentle stitches, so you don’t lose the end, and then one tight stitch to lock. Careful, careful pulling lest your needle part ways with your thread! Patience, my dears, that lesson was patience.

Life’s best lessons are learned with a needle and thread in hand and someone who loves you by your side!

Who knew the act of sewing could truly teach so many life lessons! Thank you for sharing this story, Evy. See more Teach the One 2 Sew posts here.

7 responses to Teach the One 2 Sew: Evy from A Bit of Stitch

  1. Great story! I actually now recall sewing with just one piece of thread when I was little too! I did have a knot though. I did not know my great (maternal) grandmother, Gammy, but she sewed quilts and those was a perfection of beauty. I sewed doll clothes with my paternal grandmother, and everything beyond! Do you know the funniest thing? I used to sew cigarette pack holders and a tiny pocket on the outside for the lighter! The 70’s! I sold them! I clearly remember our neighbor lady had one–a heavy yellow/orange plaid. Oh, the memories–thanks for sending me back!

  2. My great aunt Barbara sewed for my mother when she was young. She sewed for me in high school and college. When I was impatient that the project was going too slowly or not quite as I imagined it, she encouraged me to learn. She was a reuse, recycle person. I made her and my grandmother and other great aunt handbags out of a cut velvet upholstery material. They didn’t use them much so she turned them into pillow tops. I filled them and still have them decades later.

  3. I remember the story I was told of two young tailors competing for the bride. The first one done with his wedding suit would win her hand. But, the young lady had a preference, so she threaded his needle with the short thread and a very long thread for the other. The short thread won while the other spent time untangling his thread. Obviously before thread heaven! I’m sure the bride and groom lived happily ever after, and I still use a shorter thread so I can be a winner too.

  4. What a wonderful story (and a beautiful picture of Aunt Agnes)! I am envious because I never had someone sit by me and show me how to sew. I’m mostly self taught. I devoured the pattern instructions, read books, and asked questions at the fabric store, but I didn’t have any friends or family to show me. Funny thing is I found out later in life that my Grandmother was a seamstress at a men’s clothing factory sewing mostly buttonhole openings by hand for years. Thanks for sharing your story, Evy!

  5. My mother taught me to thread a needle the same way. But she did not love sewing. I learned in home ec, she got me a sewing machine and she rarely sewed again. I took to it like a duck to water.

  6. Sorry, was looking for the second part of how to put the first part of the t-shirt quilt to the back,
    That’s all i really need if you don’t mind.
    my e-mail address is:
    I have lost my user name and password as it’s been so long that I have had to use it, so if it asked for that, I will never be able to get out of this whole that I’m in. I just want to see how to sew around the quilt and then turn it out, of course not catching anything but the appropriate amount of the edges of the ends of the stitches, I have waited to long to turn out on.
    Judy Prater

    • I just wondered when I get ready to put the front to the back, if I want to use the technique to binding the front and back edges, I want to be certain that I’m catching all the edges to turn it out right. Is there a special step to reassure this?

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