Hobbies: Sewing
Buttons, Pins and Needles

By Faith McClenny

When I was growing up, my mother had an old treadle sewing machine that sat in one corner of the living room. It had fancy ironwork legs, a long black slender machine head with gold writing on it, and a submarine shaped bobbin. Mother had to keep an eye on that bobbin because my brothers and sisters were often tempted to play with it.

As a very young child, I was fascinated by how the machine worked. I would often sit cross-legged on the bare wood floor and watch mother's feet move up and down, When I got tired, I would jump up and stand under my mother's elbow and watch the needle go up and down through the material.

It was wonderful magic. It took me a very long time to understand that when my mother's feet moved faster, the needle would go faster. Mother enjoyed sewing because she often sang and hummed.

When I got a little older, she showed me how to thread a needle and sew scraps of material together. I was so excited when I managed to turn the scraps into dresses for my dolls. Hand sewing hems around flour sack dishtowels was the next step in my sewing education. After much begging and nagging, my mother gave in and showed me how to work the sewing machine.

It took quite a while for me to learn how to work the pedal with my feet, to hold the material steady, and to make the needle go through the fabric. Needless to say, many of those first sewing projects required a lot of ripping out and sewing again before I got the hang of the machine. Often there were tears and frustration.

A wonderful day came when I went into the local Penney's store and picked out a simple apron pattern and some pretty print fabric. I was so thrilled.

When I got married and my children arrived, it was fun to sew frilly little dresses for my two girls and shirts and shorts for my son. However, when I started full time teaching, I didn't have time for sewing.

Since retirement, I have returned to my favorite hobby. Sewing projects have included helping my church ladies group sew baby quilts and lap robes for the local hospital, the Crisis Center, Hospice and the Veteran's Hospital in Spokane. Then there is sewing for the annual church bazaar and the local museum gift shop. Once again, I am having fun with fabrics, thread and needles.

My sewing hobby has brought me hours of enjoyment, pleasure, new friends, and a sense of accomplishment.

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