I’ve been looking forward to this moment for years, and it snuck up on me almost by surprise. I had been patiently waiting for Isadora to turn 5 so that I could start teaching her how to sew, and then it happened and I forgot all about the sewing. No matter – she had her first lesson a couple of weeks ago. How do you begin to teach a 5-year-old the skill of sewing? I wondered. We started slow, and with a minimal understanding of the components. “The most important thing to remember,” I told her, “is that it should really be called Pinning and Ironing instead of Sewing, because those are what we do the most of.” It’s what I would tell anyone just learning to sew, one of the disappointing realizations that hit me like a brick as a young girl learning to sew from my Grandma. We all want to sit down at the machine and make it fly, don’t we?
We began the sewing introduction with a project for her brother – a cowboy-themed pillowcase to go with the new Big Boy Bed he’ll be getting for his birthday in a few months. With this, I’m hoping that she can master the concept I’m still struggling with – allowing ample time. I’m also hoping to share with her the gentle, but omnipresent guidance of Grandma, who taught me impeccable craftsmanship and that the insides of what you’re sewing should look as nice as the outside. With every single thing I sew, Grandma sits on my shoulder, like a cartoon angel, overseeing all that I make and pushing me to be a better sewist. In real life, she laughs at this image I have of her, but I’d guess she is proud of her student and satisfied that the lessons have sunk in. While she doesn’t do much sewing herself these days, I think she can rest assured that the next couple of generations will do her proud.