Sewing Lessons with Grandma Pat

When I was younger I was a member of 4-H.  I spent a lot of time working on different crafts with my Grandma Pat.  She taught me how to weave and also gave me cooking lessons.

I admire the skills my grandma possesses, and how creative she is.  She is a perfectionist at heart, and her projects are always immaculate when completed.

The summer between our move from Oregon to Louisiana, Casey and I stayed with family in Illinois.  I dedicated some of my time to learning a new craft with my grandma.  I hoped in a short amount of time she would be able to teach me to sew.  I believe this was more of a challenge for my grandma than I intended.

tote bag pattern
We worked on project “D.”

The first project we worked on together was sewing a bag.  Of course I didn’t want a simple bag, no I wanted a tote with pockets.  Determined and ready to learn, my grandma was going to teach me.  She bought me a nice sewing machine, a pattern, fabric, and a few other necessary items to get started.

The first day we sat down to start on the project and memories flooded back I had of sitting in my grandmas office after school working on weaving, of dying fabric in her kitchen for my 4-H project, and overwhelmed me with how much I had missed spending quality time with her.

As I worked on my tote, my grandma was also working on quilting.  We would look at the next step to my project together, and then work across the table from each other.  We spent many hours on different days sewing together.  I enjoyed this time with her, as we chatted on different topics.  I learned more about my grandma’s life.  She told me of books she liked to read, and re-read. We talked about the past and the future.  I will forever be grateful for the time I had with her that summer.

Grandma Sewing Project

I’m not sure I was as good of an apprentice as I had once been, as the frown on her face when I would hand her my fabric and say “I don’t know what I’ve done to this,” kept appearing.  She reassured me though that she too often had to redo her work, and that by having to take out stitches I was actually perfecting my craft.

Grandma Pat Sewing

We worked for several days sewing the tote.  We would take some breaks from our projects.  One lunch break we went out to eat, and my Grandad came along.  Other times we might just sit outside on the swing and enjoy the nice summer weather.  Mooch, their chocolate lab, would be running around in the yard.  Occasionally he would come up and drool on my leg.


Near the end of the project my Grandma and I were having trouble with the handle.  When I would sew it together it would finish twisted.   My Grandma worked through it though.  The finished tote was absolutely perfect!

I was sad to have time for only one project that summer.  My grandparents did come down to visit us in Louisiana later in the year, and Grandma Pat assisted me on another sewing project.  It makes me happy to have these memories with her.  Every time I am working on sewing or knitting I think of her.

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