Laziest Daisy, and a Question

comments: 1257


While I was taking pictures of the puppers, I went into the guest room and found my laziest daisy, Violet Paulson, lying on a pillowcase-covered bread board I had brought upstairs last week — a makeshift ironing board I was using to iron in bed while watching TV. (Okay, maybe I am the laziest.) I am trying to iron all of my fabric scraps so I can cut them up into little patches for my patchwork pillows. IT. TAKES. FOREVER!!! I've lost count of the number of hours I've spent doing this. Good thing the Tori and Dean: Home Sweet Hollywood marathon was on!!!


"Oh, I'm sooooo tired! Because I have to sleep on a bread board !!!"


"I. Am. Soooooo. Pretty. Though."


"Ya know?"

* * *

In answer to several questions yesterday, that is a little vintage reading light that hangs on the headboard of the bed and yep, my pillowcases are thrifted — I have a large and well-used (and well-loved) collection of flowery cases from the '60s and '70s. We have so many pillows in our house it's nuts. I believe I am going through a pillow phase. Has that ever happened to you? No??? Try it. It's good.

Secondly, here's my question for you: Do you sew?

Lately I have been getting a lot of emails from people who don't sew, or are just learning to sew. They always interest me, because I come from one of those families/circles of friends where everyone sews, or knows how to sew, and doesn't really think too much about it. It's just what you do. For most of my life, I really did just assume that everyone grew up with big piles of fabric in the dining room, or pieces of thread all over their shirt. But now I know that's not right. So my question is: Do you sew (with a sewing machine)? If you do, what age did you start? Who taught you? What do you make now?

If you don't, why not? What would you need to start? Do you even want to?

I'm just curious, so if you have a minute this weekend, please comment here, and feel free to expound — I want to know. I am going to report back on the results, so even if you don't usually comment, see if you can this time. I really wonder how those numbers will break down, don't you?


Yes, I sew. From the first of my memories, my mother had a sewing room, and we would always go check out the new fabric when we would go shopping. I don't think I had a single bought dress until I was a teenager, as a matter of fact. And I don't even remember learning to hand sew I was so young, but I was probably in fourth or fifth grade when my mother taught me on her sewing machine, and I got my very own (which I still have and still works great) for Christmas when I was in sixth grade. :)

Now, I make clothes for my daughter as well as myself, and toys and quilts and purses...pretty much whatever I get the notion to make. I LOVE the feeling of basically making something from "nothing" and then standing back, looking at it, and thinking, "I made that!"
It's an awesome feeling!

Back when the earth was cooling every girl HAD to take "home ec" beginning in jr. high, and yes, every home had piles of fabric and pins everywhere. Although I went to class, I learned more from home. We had little $ back then and dear ol' ma insisted we make doll clothes etc. By the time each of us girls was in the third grade we had hand sewing, needle work, and embroidery down pat. By 5th grade or so we could make our own clothes with limited help and/or an occasional question.

As a young mom I had little $ and back then it was still cheaper to make your own clothes. I'd use a pattern for myself and design my own pattern for the kids' clothes.

I'm not the best seamstress in the world, but I get by. I haven't sewn much in the past 15 yrs, but I'm getting back into it now that my offspring are producing amazingly gorgeous grandchildren, one of whom is a girl! I like doing small crafty type projects as well and hope to get into machine quilting...although I had no idea the cost of machines had gone up as much as it had....yikes. If you'd like to read my "Hey, let's buy a new machine!" experience...


BTW... That is one cute kitty kitty. My favourite 'breed'! I just wanna squish her tummy.

I'm 39 and am just learning to sew on a machine. I was always involved in dance classes so I didn't spark an interest in sewing things myself until a few years ago, but it has been a slow process for me to learn. I sewed doll clothes by hand and always did embroidery as a child (I told my mom, I can do, it's just like coloring).

My mom, however, is an excellent seamstress and I grew up around her sewing and piles of fabric around her, so I definitely have an appreciation for fabric. She actually taught me colors by taking me to the fabric store and pointing out different fabrics and colors. When I went to kindergarten I knew turquoise and chartreuse and lavender in addition to the basics. I still can't go into a fabric store without touching everything.

I just learned (yesterday, actually) how to do button hole and am making a pair of pj bottoms. I'm trying to get up the nerve to sew my belly dance costumes on the machine, instead of by hand, but that is still a little daunting.

Your blog helps me feel like I can do it. That is how I got up the nerve to try socks and cables and now I do both without any problems. Thanks for all of your lovely posts!

Hi Alicia,
My Grandma and Mum were brilliant seamstresses and they passed on their skills and passion to me.I LOVE sewing! My first project was making a dress for my doll on my mum's hand singer sewing machine when I was 7. From then on I was hooked.. I always had a drawer of half finished projects, much to my mum's horror... I was just too keen to move onto the next project. I made all my own clothes from the age of 12/13.I have had a business designing and making wedding dresses... had to give up due to the demands of family life. Since then I have made children's play tents.. and all manner of things. I actually love any kind of craft, but sewing is my first love. My sewing machine is a Viking Husqvarna... I really love it.
I only wish I had kept a record of all the things I have made over the years.. I could write book!
Thanks for your inspiration

Yvonne xx

Oh my god this kitty is too much, I just want to bury my face in its belly (probably a dangerous thing to do!)
To answer your question, I do sew (not as well as I'd like that is for sure), my grandmother taught me the basics when I was about 10. She was an amazing seamstress, who actually made wedding dresses for people (for FREE!) in her spare time. She made me hand-smocked and liberty dresses when I was growing up. My mom can sew as well, she used to make my dolls and barbies the cutest outfits (pleated skirts, doll quilts etc...) My favorite thing to sew is baby stuff (even though I don't have kids myself). I also usually get good results with skirts. Dresses are usually a disaster!

I definitely didn't sew as a kid. I went to private schools all along, with no home ec classes, and my mom DEFINITELY didn't sew -- she's a high-power corporate attorney and couldn't see why women could possibly need to sew anymore. One of my grandmothers did sew, but she didn't ever teach me.

I do sew now, though. I just learned to sew about a year ago (I'm 33), after wanting to learn for a few years. I took classes at a local sewing studio, and then went and bought my own machine. Now, I'm totally hooked. I sew a lot of clothes for myself, some from vintage patterns and some from new. I also make things like purses (for myself and as gifts), yoga bags, etc. Right now, I'm sewing a case for my new laptop :-)

I grew up in the home you just described with homemade Halloween costumes, piles of fabric,and those lovely, loose hanging threads. I always thought of it as my moms thing and not really something I could get excited about. In high school my costume ideas started to get a little extravagant so I pulled out the sewing machine and started experimenting, that was about nine years ago. I still have so much more to learn but I have tried quilting and garment sewing and I am totally hooked.

I, too, thought everyone made things. I've been sewing since.... ummm... well, I was too young to remember learning. I do remember my grandmother letting me play around with her sewing machine as long as I only used white thread -- supposedly it was cheaper than colored thread. I must have been around 7 or 8 then and had already made lots of projects, sewing and knitting. I'm 40 now and make mostly clothes for my little daughter or projects to organize and make my life prettier. I haven't really gotten into quilting, but that's more an aesthetic reason than a lack of interest.

I just can't fathom a life spent relying on others to make things for me or buying everything at a store. Where's the fun in that??

I grew up with my mom sewing everything. I could point at any pattern, pick out fabric and she would make that dress. I think she tried to teach me, I didn't have the patience then. My mom is a superwoman, she knits, crochets, sews, gardens and bakes. I think I assumed everyone's mom did that too. Now I sew, I'm just beginning, but somehow just the memories of my mom sewing somehow comes back and makes it easier. And all the phone calls to my mom help! I sew little bags, pjs, market bags. I'm starting easy-hoping to work my way up. I did always do some embroidery. I like to hand sew on wool felt. I like any type of handiwork. . I'm not the best at following traditional patterns. I kinda like to do it my way. I love Amy's book Bend the Rules Sewing.

I sewed a bit in a Home Ec class in middle school, then didn't touch a sewing machine again until I was 24. I remember a good bit from that long ago class, and the rest I'm making up as I go along. It's been 8 years now, and I make clothes, quilts, bags, and most everything in between. :) One of my friends is learning to sew; no one else is interested.

I sew. I started four years ago, when I was 25. I decided I could make skirts I liked for much cheaper than what I wanted to spend at Anthropologie. My mom isn't into sewing and I didn't know anyone else that did, so I taught myself. I make a lot of bags and some skirts now, and am considering making myself a jacket in the near future.

I don't sew! When I was a kid, I did hand-sew outfits for my dolls and stuffed animals, but I never learned to use a machine. I wish I did, but not enough to do something about it, I guess.

Both my mother and my grandmother sewed and tried to get me into it. I would make little projects (pillows, aprons) with their help but never had much interest in really taking on projects by myself.

In the last year, I've realized that I want to learn how to sew -- not just to hem pants and mend things but to really create things for myself. Of course, mom's long gone and grandma's 1,000 miles away, so I'm taking classes locally. Wish I'd paid attention when they were trying to teach me... the folly of youth, I guess.

I recieved a Singer sewing machine as a graduation present from my grandmother when I was 18. I used it to sew a shirt and a dress but was a bit frustrated with the patterns I was using. I never took a class and just learned to sew from books and patterns. When my kids were younger I sewed pants and shirts for them. Now that they are older I sew the occasional skirt for myself but am much more interested in quilting. I always have a quilt in progress and love, love, love quilting. Reading blogs has been a great source of inspiration and I find that I am happiest when I have a project in the works.

I sew like a fiend. I prefer to embroider but I'm 50 and have been sewing since I was 8 when my mother said it was time to learn. One of the best skills I have ever acquired.

I sew everything from pillows and curtains for my house to reproduction historical clothing from the 14th century. that's me.

Love you blog,
Cynthia in Seattle

kathleen says: June 12, 2009 at 09:38 AM

I do sew. I have sewn since I was around 9 yoa. I have a nice singer now, does everything I need, I am in the market for a serger too. One of my favorite things to sew are, what a friend of mine and I call "House Pants", I sew everything, drapes, business suits, quilts you name it I can do it. I always thought people sewed too but I have found that most people don't know how to sew a button on even. I have taught people how to sew either by hand or with a sewing machie. I come from a long line of sewers also. I think one of the things sewing has taught me is that I can figure out how to do anything, if I just find some instructions, I'm good. I can fix anything with instructions I can put anything together. I think its because I started sewing at an early age and had to "learn" how to follow instructions. Perhaps at an early age like that it develops "instruction grooves" in the brain. I enjoy sewing its relaxing.

I sew. My mother taught me as well as my schoolteachers (I grew up in Norway). I've been knitting a lot more than sewing but since I had my son I've upgraded to baby clothes from curtains and I'm enjoying it very much. Now I'm picking up tricks from my Mum and a couple of very clever friends who sew a lot.

Yes I sew and learned in about the 4th grade. I don't sew much now except the odd curtain or something for the house. Making clothes is a waste of time IMHO, because they never fit right. I need to TRY THINGS ON to get a good fit -- impossible when you sew them. Also, fabrics can be more expensive than finished items. But my sewing machine stays set up in the basement in case it's needed. If I had to set it up every time, I would never do it.

I've known how to hand sew since I was about ten and I learned how to use a machine when I was about twelve.

I didn't start really sewing until I was about twenty, I just never had the desire to learn more.

Now at twenty-five I love to sew and am thankful to my mom for taking the time to teach me. I enjoy making clothes for myself and my nieces.

I grew up with my mom making outfits for herself, my sister and I. She sews beautifully! I also grew up with grandmas and great grandmothers who sewed.

I learned to sew in 4H when I was about 10 (I think). My mom and my grandma both helped me out during that time. Then I didn't really sew again until my freshman home ec class, where we made log cabin quilts. I then stopped again for about ten years until a couple of years ago when I asked my mother-in-law for a sewing machine for Christmas (she does big gifts like that - bless her). I taught myself the basics again, mostly using the Sewing for Dummies book, and have since sewn a couple of aprons and lots of nursing covers for friends. I have tons of fabric and patterns for projects, I just don't seem to have as much time as I need. I've also been taking a hand piecing and quilting class for about a year now.

I sew with a sewing machine. My grandmother and aunt were in town visiting and taught me how to sew when I was in high school. Long before that my mother taught me how to sew on a button by hand and do all sorts of hand mending. I now sew all sorts of home decor stuff for functional purposes, but also clothing for me, quilts, gifts, etc.

I don't sew well enough to bother. Which is a shame as both my grandmother and great grandmother were seamstresses. My mom is great at it, but I've just never been quite detail oriented enough to do stuff on my own. But having custom kid clothes was great! My mom even made my favorite prom dress- basic black velvet lbd, in the early 90's when that just did not exist in stores. But I surely envy anyone who DOES have the patience and talent!

I prefer to hand sew, but I do use the machine for a lot of projects (like curtains, costumes, quilt binding). I don't remember when I first sewed with a machine. By six or seven I was doing cross stitch and tapestry. I made a lot of doll's clothes when I was about 10 and by 15 was doing my handsewn template patchwork. I learned a little at school and more from my mum. But I only had about 12 weeks of needlework lessons at school. I am 45 year old, and English.
I'll be impressed if you get to the end of these comments.

Tronchik says: June 12, 2009 at 09:42 AM

I am learning how to sew. Mainly I quilt. I started learning how to quilt when I was about 18 and I recently picked it up again. I'm 27 now. I've quickly finished two quilts and I've got another top that is waiting to be finished. I am addicted! I love your patchwork quilts, by the way. To answer your question of who taught me, I got the basics of how to use a machine from my mom and my aunt, but the rest I've taught myself from books and such. It would probably be useful for me to take a sewing class. Thank you for your blog. I visit it often and it inspires me to keep sewing.

glittermom says: June 12, 2009 at 09:42 AM

my mom sewed, but did not like it. We had matching outfits a few times when I was little, and she made me some doll clothes, then stopped until the Stretch and Sew phase appeared, then she went nuts with the polyester!! I have sewed since I was old enough to hold a needle and not stab myself. My dad taught me how to sew on a button, and off I went. Doll clothes, DOG clothes, people clothes, finishing friends outfits in home ec, and at times in my life I have worked sewing for someone else. I made my wedding dress, sewed for my daughter when she was little, make halloween costumes, and whatever comes along. I have buckets of fabric that I will NEVER get to....

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About Alicia Paulson


My name is Alicia Paulson
and I love to make things. I live with my husband and daughter in Portland, Oregon, and design sewing, embroidery, knitting, and crochet patterns. See more about me at




Since August of 2011 I've been using a Canon EOS 60D with an EF 18-200mm kit lens and an EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro lens.