Did you love sewing classes at school? What was the hardest: sewing on sleeves or threading a bobbin? Would you have preferred to do metalwork or woodwork?
Many young girls’ first sewing experience was at school, which involved making an apron and cap for domestic science class. While some pupils found Domestic Science O-level to be the hardest exam in history, others loved sewing classes so much that they actually went on to teach textiles or work in dressmaking.
Perhaps the prevailing loathing of needlework is routed in previous ‘tyrannical teachers’, the dreaded theory side of lessons, or (for a few) the awkwardness of left handedness.
Members of our Spring Chicken community have been reminiscing on their sewing classes:
‘I wasn’t allowed to use machines. My sewing and knitting were wonky, but when I turned 20 I used a hand turned machine and taught myself until I was confident enough to buy an electric one. I made most of my clothes and ended up working in a wool shop and knitting complicated orders for customers – don’t let school failures put you off!’
‘71 now, and I have never been without a sewing machine. I still make all my soft furnishings and clothing alterations, and my friends/neighbours come to me to do theirs. There is a saying: never underestimate the power of a woman with a sewing machine. It’s true!’
‘Sewing is my worst nightmare. I once took 40 minutes to thread the needle (which was the whole lesson).’
‘Never underestimate the power of a woman with a sewing machine’