Have I mentioned that I am a quilter? If not, now you know, and you can understand why I am excited to talk about National Sewing Month. It is also Shameless Promotion Month, according to Chase’s Calendar of Events – “the month to go out and promote yourself”, so here I go…
I love to sew.
My grandmother taught me when I was young, so I have been sewing as long as I can remember and honestly can’t recall a time I didn’t know how to use a sewing machine.* She started me off making clothes for my Barbie dolls, and yes, we had the patterns. She also took me with her into the city to meet with like-minded peers, which we still do, so yeah…
I belong to a quilt guild.
My first quilt was a traditional Nine Patch, because grandma said I had to do that first before I could try any other design, and since then I have completed Jacob’s Ladder, Rail Fence, Birds in the Air, Delectable Mountains, Diamond Jubilee, Log Cabin, Triple Irish Chain, one paper pieced quilt with flowers and three art quilts, to name a few… * I made my prom dresses two years in a row back in high school, and in college I made a housedress, curtains, slipcover and tablecloth all out of the same fabric for “The Last Mama-on-the-Couch Play” sketch in our black theater group’s presentation of The Colored Museum.* I also had a quilt tour in the International Quilt Festival*, so it is true…
I am decent with a sewing machine.*
It’s cool to make things with your hands; it is so satisfying. Quilting is a big deal to me because it is an art that I’m learning from my grandmother and her peers that I will be able to pass down to the next generation. And there is so much that you learn while sitting with these women that isn’t written anywhere in a book! But book person that I am, I can’t end this post without recommending a few titles for the future quilter, tailor, or seamstress in your life:
- The first one it is my duty to recommendation is Uprising, by Margaret Peterson Haddix. I read it several years ago, but I will never forget it because it is about the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire, which resonates with me for several reasons: women, sewing, New York City, labor, the list goes on. It follows the stories of three different women and it made me cry. So good.
- My next must-read title is new - Disenchanted: The Trials of Cinderella (Tyme, Book #2), by Megan Morrison. I enjoyed the first book in the series, Grounded: The Adventures of Rapunzel, but book two took things to a whole new level – so deep! Cinderella is passionate about the plight of laborers working in what are essentially sweatshops in the fairy tale world, and she also makes her own clothes! This book is actually a great title to pair with Uprising, now that I think about it.
- My final recommendation is Tar Beach, by Faith Ringgold. Her work is legendary and this picture book is based on the first quilt in Ringgold’s “Women on a Bridge” quilt series. Story quilts are among my favorites, and each of the three art quilts that I have made tells a story, but none of them are as amazing as Faith Ringgold! My masterpiece is yet to come.
Here are a few more to round out the age levels:
- Rainbow Magic Fairies: Zadie the Sewing Fairy (The Magical Crafts Fairies, Book #3), by Daisy Meadows
- Crafty Chloe, written by Kelly DiPucchio & illustrated by Heather Ross
- Sew Mini Treats: More Than 18 Food Plushies to Stitch and Stuff, by the Editors of Klutz
- The Patchwork Quilt, written by Valerie Flournoy & illustrated by Jerry Pinkney
Rail fence quilt that I made for my niece when she was born.