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?


I think I was taught to sew by my mother, who made quite a few of her own clothes, mostly dresses. She was very tall ( about 5ft 11inches) and found it easier to make clothes that were the right length. When I was a teenager, my sister and myself made quite a few of our clothes, and when my sons were small I made clothes for them too, but gave up on trouses when they need zipped flies. I still sew, making curtains, bedspreads, occasionally clothes for me, sometimes experimenting with free-motion embroidery little things. I think sewing is becoming a bit more popular, as here in the UK a couple of new sewing magazines have just been launched this year, with lots of bright fabric ideas and fun things to make, as well as clothes for adults (mostly women, I have to say)and children.

I want to sew I have tried I am just not very good at it but my grandmother sew for a living so I know its in my blood I just need some help.

I sew. I was taught at around age 9 but didn't really "get into" until I was an adult. But mom wanted to make sure she taught me everything she knew. I prefer to sew things like purses, curtains, things for the house or dolls and teddy bears.

I can't believe I am so late to post! Yes I sew. My mum sews too but none of my aunts or my maternal grandmother sews. My mum caught the bug when she was in high school Home Economics. She sewed so beautifully that in a fit of unusual kindness my Grandfather went out and bought her a sewing machine. There is nothing my mother has not tackled! She is a very accomplished embroiderer and has even done some beautiful stump work. I remember her sewing things for me as a little girl and remember her letting me have a turn at her machine. I go through phases where I do lots of sewing and other phases where I am more into knitting or crochet. I have tried my hand at lots of things, mostly self-taught, but I have been to a few classes. We have hand-made quilts, made clothing, lots of baby items like wraps and bibs. Mum embroidered a bunch of stuff for our little people - all of it kept for other little people to come as heirlooms.
Here in Perth, Aus lots of woman sew or craft. As a school teacher, I see lots of handmade costumes for school events and see lots of small people's projects so the culture of passing on sewing is alive and well.

My mom sews a little, mostly curtains and that sort of thing, but she and her sisters were all given sewing machines in their teens and were pretty proficient at one point. I learned to sew in 8th grade sewing class, but I didn't like it very much because the teacher did most of the work.

In high school I started to sew costumes, but it wasn't until I graduated college that I decided I wanted to be A Woman Who Sews. I think I am pretty self-taught. Although my mother gave me her old machine, and has taught me several things, for the most part I'm learning off of the internet (thanks, Alicia, for the inspiration!).

I never thought I was an artistic person. It made me sad that I had no creative gene-- unlike my family, I cannot draw or paint or play music. But now that I sew, I realize that in fact, sewing is an art, and it's an art that I can master. I feel like there's a new part of me I didn't realize was there, a latent artist who enjoys color and texture and pattern, and can bring to life the ideas in my head.

Once I decided that I Can Sew (and this has nothing to do with my skill level, only my confidence) I was surprised to find that, actually, I AM capable to making pretty things! My mental attitude changed so much for me in terms of my own self-esteem. Sewing has given me confidence as well as a delighful hobby.

My mother taught me to sew over 50 years ago and I have sewed ever since. The first big purchase we made as a married couple was a wonderful, expensive at the time, sewing machine. I made clothes for the kids, clothes for myself, curtains, quilts, pillowcases and during the wild and wonderful 60's, I made my husband's ties!!!! Lots of fun memories. And I still sew. Love it.

I started sewing when I was in 4-H. I never could get my darts right enough to suit out leader. I'd rip them out until there was no fabric left in that area of the dress. I sewed up til the time I was married. (Couldn't find the bridesmaid dresses that I wanted, so Mama and I made them.

I have a triangular figure - I'm much larger at the bottom than the top. God gave my breasts to someone else. So I discovered that I was better off buying store-bought clothes that I knew would look good.

I currently do a lot of monogramming. I have 5 home embroidery machines and one 2-head commercial.

Susan Delmaire says: June 20, 2009 at 12:30 PM

Everyone in my family sews, always have. My mom made everything, even my jeans! She took a class and made my dad a beautiful coat, we were all in awe. When we went to visit my gran, we always went to vicky's fabric store. There was clothe hanging down from rings suspended from the ceiling. There were huge button cases and you could turn huge pages of buttons. That store is burned into my brain. So many barbie dresses made from scraps from her store. I sew a lot. For money and for fun. I make my daughters' figure skating dresses,NOT easy but worth it to see the look on her face! The boys aren't as impressed. I taught myself how to crochet last year while we were camping, everyone made fun of me but I loved it! I used to x-stitch a lot but I find it hard to focus on now. My gran went blind and my mom is really careful with her eyes, her doc says you can't wear them out so we'll stay tied to our sewing machines for many, many years!

You certainly got a lot of comments on your post!
I started sewing young. I came from a sewing family. I can remember my mother giving me scraps to play with under her sewing machine table while she sewed. I made doll clothes of some kind. In second grade, the teacher showed the girls how to hand sew an apron for our mother. My most remembered Xmas gift as a child was a greeting card box that had tea towels, floss, embroidery hoop, and little scissors in it. I started sewing pajamas in 6th grade. Regular clothes around 8th or 9th grade. I made Barbie doll clothes and sold them for a while when my kids were young. I turned to quilting when I was about 45 and have stayed with that ever since. I can't imagine not sewing. My daughter has no interest in sewing whatsoever.

When I was little my mom sewed. She mostly made us matching dresses, beach blankets, doll clothes, and curtains for our house. My grandmother and three aunts all sewed too. Someone was always doing some sort of craft. The older I got the less my mom sewed. I think it was mostly because she didn't have the time and she preferred to cross-stitch and knit. I have done lots of other crafts but I always have gone back to sewing.

The first memory I have of sewing, I was 6 or 7. I remember taking scraps of fabric and making barbie clothes, doll house curtains, etc. I took Home Ec. in Jr. High and made my first skirt and it was all you could do to keep me out of the fabric store and away from the sewing machine.

I majored in Interior Design in college and then went to work at a wholesale drapery workroom. I worked in the front office writing up orders for our clients, mostly designers, helping them fine tune their designs. I learned so much and never sewed a single thing (at work).

About five years ago the workroom closed and I started my own business. The majority of my clients are interior designers, but I do take retail jobs now and then. I make custom bedding, pillows, linens, valances and slipcovers.

I still sew clothes, dolls clothes, misc items and I have made a few quilts. I don't have a preference either way. I just love to sew. :)

Nanna mary says: June 20, 2009 at 04:06 PM

I used to watch my mum sewing when I was little and thats how I learned to sew I sewed all my childrens clothing when I was young and when they went to school I made all their Uniforms as I could not afford to buy them ready made.I did sewing when the grandchildren were little But I have stopped all that now.Now I am teaching Myself how to quilt and loving it.
Hugs Mary.

I am a newbie sewer, having just bought my first sewing machine (a Janome!) in January. I didn't grow up in a very domestic household, failed Home Ec for a variety and amusing reasons, and was convinced I was sewing impaired. A book called Sock and Glove changed all that though and here I am!

I started sewing by hand when I was probably 6. By the time I was in high school, I spent my Sunday mornings playing with my dollhouse, and in the afternoon I sewed a new outfit. I was well-dressed. :) My mother taught me how to use a machine by making me follow blue lines and circles photocopied off an old carbon copy machine. I hated that; it didn't last long. I quickly graduated to the machine.

Now, I spend my days doing a lot of home interior things, interspersed by making clothes for myself and my daughter, as well as crafty things like fancy flower pillows and pretty hand-bags. If I see something I like, I'm apt to try making it myself.

I come from a family of sewers as well. My mom taught me when I was 13 or so. We sewed the whole summer away that year. She was a very strict and rather persnickity teacher. The older I get the more I realize she did a great job teaching me. She's gone now, but when I am sitting at my machine working away at something it takes me right back to that summer and mom working so hard to get me to learn the right way. Over the years I've sewn in spurts-I made some dress clothes for my son when he was a toddler, darling things. I made his bedroom curtains. I made myself clothes for a job I held working at a bed and breakfast in my area-loved the clothes and the job! Then I took a break from sewing and just recently got back into it. In fact, I made your Jane Market Bag today. It was a delight to make. I'm going to snap a picture for Flickr. On the project list for this summer is a pair of black linen capri pants.
I have lots of ideas I'd like to try!
Thanks for asking

Oh, how I wish I could sew. My grandmother was a great seamstress but had Alzheimer's by the time I was old enough to learn from her. My mom was a a career woman of the '80's who didn't have time for anything too domestic. I was always the girl who was good at science and math and never thought I was creative enough for something like sewing. I ended up with a PhD in statistics and work as a biostatistician analyzing data from oncology clinical trials. So my day job is not too creative! I love reading your blog and others by creative women and would love to start sewing and crafting myself. I just don't know where to start, and I don't have any friends who sew either. If I got stuck I'd have no one to ask for help! But my husband has been encouraging me to jump in and try it. I think a creative outlet like that would be a great stress reliever from my job. I would love to make cute bibs for my friends' children or a doll for my new niece. Oh, and to be able to embroider! Anyway, your blog is very inspiring. I guess I just need to jump in and start somewhere!

My grandma (my mother's mother) taught me to sew. She taught me how to use a clothing pattern and how to use the sewing machine. She sewed all the time! She had an electric sewing machine and also an old foot-treadle machine at the cottage where there was no power. She also taught me to hand-sew and gave me a big black trash bag of her fabric and notions scraps each year which was one of my favorite treasures! She gave me a very expensive fancy sewing machine as my graduation gift from college, which at the time I thought was ridiculous, but I still have and use it 21 years later!

Now I sew repairs in my sons' clothes, quilts, pillows, little crafts, and occasional pajamas.

Hi Alicia, I have a great moment to comment! First, I love your blog. been following it from the beginning, even though I don't come out of the woodwork to comment much. I hope you're doing well! Here it goes!

I learned to sew when I was nine on my mom's old Singer. Mom showed me the basics and taught me to keep my figers away from the moving needle. Otherwise I taught myself for the love of fabric and sewing machine. I took to it pretty much immediately, making simple shaped stuffed animals in the Summer. This memory always makes me happy because, as you know, you have specific things that bring you joy when you do them in the Summer. :) I continued to learn on my own and would design and sew a lot of my clothing in high school. I wanted to major in Fashion Design in college initially, but decided on another art career that better suited me. Later I learned to quilt and would love to spend hours with my fabrics making quilts for everyone but myself. That was okay except I really love doing it, but don't have a lot of time to continue sewing as much as I would like. I still make clothing for myself, which is fun and hope to do more of it in the near future!

I wanted to thank you for asking because I sometimes feel similar things that you do when working with fabric and how you articulate them into your blog with different stories and events. Thank you for letting us share our stories of sewing as well.


I sew a bit, but it scares me too. I have lots of lovely fabrics, and I collect countless patterns, designs, photos and mental images of things I'd like to make..... so many ideas waiting to be realised! (Often, unfortunately, the clothes I try to make for myself don't work out quite right - I'm not yet expert at adjusting patterns to fit). I'm planning to get together with some crafty friends soon to raise my confidence and sew sew sew!
I do like making soft toys by hand, and I enjoy whipping up simple things like aprons and homewares on the machine.
Thank you for sharing your lovely creations with us .....

Oh I most definitely sew. I remember my mother teaching me to sew by hand when I was very young, I still have the first pincushion I ever made. She had an inexpensive sewing machine but hardly ever used it, so she gave it to me when I was in middle school. I became popular with my friends by helping to make costumes for parties, etc. I still have the cheap old sewing machine and it still plugs along while I continue to sew more and more every day. I cannot imagine what my life would be like without sewing, how empty of color it would be. One of the main attractions in my living room is my giant bookshelf filled with my neatly folded fabric stash in rainbow order. I recently taught my boyfriend how to sew and he enjoys it, and I hope to teach my roommate as well. Sewing is something everyone should have a little bit of in their lives, it opens up so many possibilities for a brighter existence.

I *so* wish that I had been taught to use a sewing machine as a kid. Then I wouldn't have so much trouble now trying to indulge a (recent) passion with practically no skills! I have been given a beautiful second hand bernina and i do really rudimentary sewing on it. I am a quilter and make absolutely everything by hand becuase I am terrified of the sewing machine. Of course, this means it takes me bloody ages to complete any quilts! It would be a lot speedier if I could use the machine with confidence. I would so love to make some of your incredibly beautiful patchwork cushions but I think I need to take a machine sewing class first.

I make a lot of soft toys by hand for my daughters and have recently started making dolls for the Uthando Doll Project. This is a really really special project designed to deliver dolls to children in the Kwa Zulu Natal area of South Africa. The dolls are great fun to make and make such a difference to the lives of the children that receive them. If any of your readers are interested in making some dolls to be loved, they can find out about the project here:

I do sew some. Mostly I just like to create my own thing, but am learning the art of reading a pattern. I had an old old machine that was my Great Grandmas, and then we bought a Pfaff for me from Montavilla when our son passed away. People do that when they are grieving sometimes I guess. Growing up my Mom sewed a new flannel nightgown for me that I opened every Christmas Eve, until I was about 6 or 7. After she attempted sewing me a grey sweatshirt and one sleeve was poofy and one too skinny to squeeze my arm into she cried and vowed never to sew again. But she did make a trip around the quilt for my when I was a teenager.
My Grandma was an amazing seamstress. She would make me clothes that I stopped appreciating and now I really wish I could go back in time and ask her to teach me. A few years ago we were going to make doll clothes together but I was overwhelmed raising babies. Now she is in a nursing home and I am sad to have missed the opportunity. But so very very blessed to have treasured blankets and things that Grandma so carefully and lovingly stitched.

I really want to sew. Part of the hold up is I have no idea how to get started! I inherited my Mother-in-Laws sewing machine about 5 years ago, and I still don't know how to use it. Part of the problem is finding space to set it up and keep it somewhat safe without my kids thinking they are master tailors and next thing, the cat's tail is threading the machine. I just am not sure how to get started. I'm not good a reading a manual (not that I have one), so where does one learn?

I've been sewing since I was very young - probably about 10 or so - I'm 52 now. My mum sewed and would help me make Barbie clothes out of the nice raw silk that she had just used for her outfits. I used to make my daughter's clothes when she was small - she remembers falling asleep to the sound of the machine running - then wake up to find a new outfit at the end of her bed. At 23 she now sews a bit too.

I learned to sew a bit from my mum and then was mainly self-taught over the years using books and friends to help. And I've learned to do lots of other crafts by reading: knitting, crochet, quilting, and embroidery.

I don't make that many clothes now, mostly stuff for the house. I made 3 of your Jane market bags this weekend and really had fun using the pattern. Thanks!

I had basic training in school, then forgot everything over the last, oh 20 years since. Then I took it up again with a passion in December 2008 when I started making hand-made dolls in the likeness of my first best friend, to raise money for Cystic Fibrosis. For me, it was like learning to sew from scratch, but every minute was worth it. I create my own patterns, find fabrics at GW so the more money I make the more I can donate, and try to have fun with it even if each doll reminds me how I lost such a sweet friend to CF. I'm still working on the best ways to sew since I really make these dolls from a beginners standpoint, any sewing tips are greatly appreciated!

Just yesterday my 7 year old daughter asked me when I first started sewing. I was probably a little younger than her. She completed a little embroidery project over a year ago that I turned into a mini quilt that hangs on her wall. She's eager to start another project. It thrills me to no end that when she looks at something she generally asks 'who made this?', not 'who bought this?'

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been posted. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


post a comment

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.