Sunday, 3 November 2013

How I learnt to sew and a short bio

I first started to use a sewing machine when I left school at the age of 15.

I thought, I'd like to go to college learn typing work, in an office and become a secretary. Then I met a friend, she said enthusiastically "You should work in the bra factory they are looking for workers get a job there I have" So as I had nothing planned at that time I did!

 It was a big factory with rows of machines each with their own table big cotton reels and a big treadle which you put both feet on to machine. I did find that a challenge at first but soon it became second nature. There was one week of training to use the machine and there a switch to turn the machine on and off.

I was taught to make bra cups with bundles of linings top and bottom pieces. I learnt to pick these up quickly and stitch around carefully. They'd fall into a crate I'd pull them back and stitch across the middle. I made maternity cups the bottom cup slightly padded, the top a stiffer material and pretty cotton cups. It was interesting seeing other machinists one with a twin needle machine adding bias along the bras edges. I tried the overlocker which was quite fast this was used for making bathing suits.

After 3 years I went to work in another sewing factory, making track suits. I learnt to make the whole jacket first making the collar, adding the zip then stitching down the fronts, attaching the collar and a  label then stitching that down. I made two types of jacket one cotton with a short round collar in colours green and red and bri-nylon with a wider collar in colours red and blue with a white stripe. I  met some interesting people and at tea break we would buy snacks and beverages from the food trolley turn our chairs around to chat.

After another 3 years I decided to see more of the world. I went on a two week holiday to Greece in a Ford Transit with people my age. It took three days, stopping for short breaks along the way. After that as jobs were plentiful I took other work as it came - in Woolworths on various counters - helping to make televisions - a spell as a chamber maid living in and a seasonal job a chalet maid at Butlins in Filey Yorkshire, that was good fun with lots to see and entertainments there.

I married at 30 and had two daughters right away with 16 months between them. The first daughter has become a doctor and the second a beautician with office skills she is making a website. I am proud of them both.

I didn't learn typing but I did learn computing, taking exams and other evening classes such as art and  art and design. I put my sewing skills to good use as now I make bags and other crafty things  including home wares, cushions, rugs and  throws which I sell in my Folksy Shop Crafty Bags

 I like learning new skills such as quilting and weaving, adding more crafts to my shop, so hopefully there will always be something new to see and buy!
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  1. I loved reading this post, Teresa. You have such an interesting and varied sewing background. Those were the days - when jobs were ten a penny! I've really enjoyed getting to get to know you a bit better :)

  2. Thanks Janie, I thought it would be of interest to crafters to share my sewing experience. I like reading your blogs too, they are really interesting :)

  3. Great post Teresa, I love to hear people stories and your bio is great :-)


  4. Thank you Hazel, I like hearing peoples stories too :)