When I was a 10-year-old girl growing up in the small town of Casselton, North Dakota, my parents recognized my interest in sewing, cooking and social activities. They found a 4-H chapter led by a neighborhood mom. I learned the art of “demonstration,” and remember my first food demonstration at the grade school a block away from our home. Although it was nerve-wracking and required a lot of preparation, I enjoyed the feeling of standing up next to my carefully-crafted poster board and sharing my knowledge of cooking!
From there, we moved on to sewing…my favorite section! I loved having my own scissors, pins and needles. We made felt cases for each, artfully decorating them with cut out felt letters. I’ve often thought about these items in recent years, wondering what happened to them. Today I made my way to my trunk and dug out my scrapbooks. Look what I found! My very first sewing project..my needle case!
That letter “C” on the cover was a puzzler. I soon learned the answer after opening my “4-H Clothing Note Book”. It stood for the “Casselettes,” our chapter name. My treasure hunt brought back many fond memories of my early sewing days!
Following my great success with basting, snaps, a scarf, and an apron, I moved on to a jumper. I chose a fabric that I would find dreadful today. I can imagine my mom tried to talk me out of it, but I was probably my strong-willed self! It was olive green with a black windowpane plaid. The fabric was also too loosely woven, causing issues for this perfectionist girl when I needed to rip out the zipper. Luck was with me, as my mom offered to rip out half, not wanting me to lose faith. I entered it in the county fair and earned a red ribbon! Thanks, Mom, for your patience while teaching me the ropes.
Much later, when in my late twenties, I completed a Master Clothing Construction course though the North Dakota State University Extension Service. I felt honored to pay back by judging the regional 4-H Fashion Review. Little did I know, I had become an expert!
I imagine many of you have fond memories of your early days, and I’d love to hear about them!
I am also throwing out a challenge. Take the time to teach a girl or boy to sew. It is a valuable skill they will use the rest of their lives. Volunteer with your local 4-H, Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts or Boys and Girls Club to make a real difference!
Next up, Halloweens of the past!