Newlywed Love (#57)

April 30, 1970

While I waited to hear from the Danville School Board, I decided to get Mom’s sewing machine out of the closet. The plan was to work on something productive each evening, while Nate studied…. rather than just sit and stew.

Back in 7th grade I’d taken a sewing class (compulsory for girls) and learned the basics. The end-product that year was a colorful apron for Mom that tied around the waist.

MeasuringNot much sewing had happened after that, until my friend Lynn began teaching me more. She’d really taken to sewing, and I admired her custom-made skirts, vests, jumpers, and dresses.

Once Nate and I got married, our stripped apartment was desperate for a home-y touch, so I borrowed Mom’s machine and made several sets of curtains for the bare windows. A couple of tablecloths with matching napkins were easy, too — because they were all made with straight lines.

Wanting a challenge, I decided to tackle a cover for the round hassock Mom and Dad had donated. It was brown, and our color scheme (if it could be called that) was anything but. The living room was gold with red accents, dining room mostly green, kitchen orange with yellow. The bedroom was gold, the bathroom black and white.

Using extra red material from the living room curtains, my sewing technique for the hassock was to stretch fabric over the top and cut a circle bigger than that. Then I put the hassock on its side and rolled it once-around, cutting the material accordingly.

Lynn had taught me how to put piping in the middle of a seam, so I added black piping to the red material. When my measurement turned out to be too short, I cut it in half, tried again, and put more piping between the halves to disguise my error.

Hassock and floor pillow

Nate applauded the result — careful not to inspect for mistakes – and encouraged me to sew more. I covered a big floor pillow to match the hassock, adding tassels at the corners and a button in the middle.

That was followed by a bed skirt with matching bed pillow, and 3 table runners.

Still, my seam-work was mostly straight lines. That’s when I attempted to make a dress. Lynn suggested I use a simple pattern put out by a company called… “Simplicity.”

I chose kiwi green fabric and got to work. Because I wanted a floor-length dress but nothing fancy, I chose a new-fangled material called “Perma-Press.” Supposedly it could be washed and would never need ironing .

Green dressMy piping skills transferred nicely to a little lace, and Lynn taught me how to pleat the front through long distance phone instruction. A few buttons finished it off.

Best of all, the sewing occupied my thoughts for many days – keeping them off the Danville teaching job.

“Be still in the presence of the Lord, and wait patiently for him to act.” (Psalm 37:7)

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