She sewed my clothes until my last year of high school. I'm pretty sure that after I left home, she made most of my sister's clothes as well.
I'm not sure where she learned this art, for I don't remember her Mother doing any sewing. Grandmother may have sewn in earlier years, for most housewives did at that time. Sewing was just part of what homemakers did then. But when I first knew Grandma, her husband had died and she was working at a publishing house in St. Paul to support herself and those of her children still living at home. She may not have had time to sew.
I would have been happy to spend my life dressed pretty much like this.
My little sister and me.
But Mother would have none of it. She wanted pretty, dainty, feminine looking and acting girls. I am afraid I was something of a disappointment to her, with my preference for blue jeans and flannel shirts.
Mother saw to it that my sister and I usually had new dresses to wear to Easter church services and to the annual Sunday School Christmas program. I liked dressing up at Easter, but would have cheerfully skipped the Christmas program, for I had a fear of speaking in front of a crowd. Still do. The only thing that made me go through with it was knowing when it was all over, each child received a small brown paper bag full of my favorite Christmas candies.
Mother sewed our school dresses. At that time there was a dress code in Junior High and High School whereby girls had to wear skirts/dresses. Jeans and slacks were not allowed. These were the dresses Mother made for my sister and me when I started 4th grade.
When Mother's youngest sister married, Mother sewed her wedding dress. Emily was married in the front room of her Mother's home. I remember how Mother fussed over making that dress, getting it just right. Emily was a beautiful bride the day she married my favorite uncle.
Mother had way more patience than I ever had. She exhibited that patience when teaching me to sew. My 4-H project was sewing and it required us to make a dress or a skirt and blouse all by ourselves, with no help from parents. Mother had me practice by making several blouses and skirts that were play clothes before beginning the 4-H project, which was a light brown blouse and a full, flowered skirt to match. Each year there was a county wide 'Dress Review" that was a judging of the quality of work and a modeling of the clothes we had made. Mine won me a trip to the State Fair and I have to give the credit to my Mother, who had the patience to keep at it. It could not have been an easy job for her.
Money was sometimes tight and Mother had to get creative when the price of fabric exceeded the cash on hand. When I was very young, Mother took apart an old coat of hers to make a winter coat and bonnet for me. Another year she found that one of the stores was selling flour in the old timey printed flour sacks. She made sure that when Dad bought flour he got enough of the same printed sacks to make my matching skirts and blouses. They were so pretty that nobody knew where the fabric had come from.
I think that home sewing is another one of those skills that are going the way of the dinosaur. I no longer sew clothing, mostly because the cost of patterns and fabric has become prohibitive. I can buy ready made for less. But at least I have the skills to be able to make my own clothing should the need arise. And that is a good thing.