When I was growing up men and women still had very defined roles both in the world and in the family home. Men were the main breadwinner and took care of repairs and maintenance around the home. The vast majority of women were still at home raising the children. The women who did work outside the home were mostly waitresses and secretaries.
At the same time, we knew women had the right to want more. I wanted more. I rejected all attempts to learn “women’s work” refusing to learn to sew, not wanting to be a part of afternoons baking and even rejected the idea of crafting as an outlet for creativity. Instead, I went after a career and could be found with a hammer in my hand or under the hood of a car for fun. I wanted the freedom I believed men had to choose the direction of their lives not the constraints I felt society put on females.
As a mother I was blessed with two sons I could share my passions with. I taught my boys how to do home improvements and work on automobiles. I shared my love of the natural world and caught bugs and snakes to teach them the wonders outside.
I knew they were forming a different world view of gender roles when my oldest informed his classmates that women didn’t marry to have a man take care of them because he had a single mother who could take care of herself. He went on to say that should I marry it would be for love not for security. How that warmed my heart.
My sons were the first generation to see father’s choose to stay home to raise the children if the wife made more money and as a result knew they too had options previous generations of men didn’t have.
Yet, it wasn’t until this past month that I saw how opportunities for men and women have opened up for both boys and girls growing up today.
My grandchildren expressed interest in future career paths they might like to explore. My grandson wants to farm first but would like to have hobbies that allow him to work with his hands and tools.
My granddaughter has bigger dreams, although I see farming as a big job and one that we need young people to take an interest in. My granddaughter wants to be an artist, a fashion designer, to work with animals (veterinarian), make jewelry and restore furniture in her spare time and always adds that she wants to have a large piece of land to grow organic food.
I hope they find the time to pursue all their dreams.
Both children have grown up in an environment where they have been encouraged to explore all interests regardless of gender. While visiting me both were eager to work with power tools just as much as they were eager to sit down and quietly sew or help prepare meals. My grandson has no aversion to any activity that in my youth would have been seen as women’s work, he had no fear of being called a sissy because he wants to explore these activities either.
The Gift of a Blogger’s Generosity
The children arrived on June 4th and laid out a list of activities they wanted me to do with them one of those activities was to have an afternoon to sew. They wanted to make gifts for others and to have at least one item for themselves.
A few months ago, Marlene, had gone through her fabric collection and packed up a box she no longer had a use for. Marlene thought of the activities I do with my grandchildren and mailed the box to me hoping they would find a use.
We experienced the hottest June I can ever recall in this part of the country. I felt it prudent to bring the children indoors out of the heat on many afternoons. This was our quiet time to bake, craft and yes sew.
I opened my craft cabinet and let them look through the fabric. They each spotted fabrics they liked and pulled them out to brainstorm what could be made with them. When I told them a blogging friend sent me these fabrics they asked me to send her their “biggest thank you” So thank you Marlene your gift provided us with countless hours of creative fun.
I thought you might enjoy seeing what they came up with.
My granddaughter spotted Raggedy Ann and Andy fabric she thought her cousin would like and spotting a bag of polyfill left behind by their aunt after I helped with a craft project for her it was decided a pillow would be perfect. While the children had used the sewing machine before this was the first opportunity I’d had to teach them how to do a blanket stitch which she used to close up the pillow.
Her brother had to make a pillow as well, this one for him to take home. The fabric on one side came from Marlene.
The other side is from a pair of pajama bottoms my youngest son gave to me when they were too worn to continue wearing.
The children then asked if they could make potholders for their father because he didn’t have any and constantly burned himself using dishtowels to remove hot pans from the oven.
This time they choose denim material that I’d saved from jeans my son could no longer patch, a scrap of fabric from an old project I did about four years ago and for the batting selected a fabric Marlene sent.
I had spotted a similar pattern on Pinterest a while back and thought this was a bit easier than an oven mitt for the children to make. Once they had the sewing completed they painted their hand to add their hand print on one side and wrote their father a message on the other. He loves his pot holders.
My granddaughter had spotted a pink fabric in the cabinet and decided it would be perfect to make a Christmas stocking for herself as she didn’t have a stocking at her father’s house. She drew a pattern, cut it out and then asked for directions to add a holiday fabric and hanger at the top.
Also in the box of gifted fabric was a wonderful panel of the United States. I thought it would make a lovely wall hanging in the boys room. I needed a big enough piece of fabric that could be added to the back of it and came across a heavy weight blue cotton duck that used to be a curtain in a previous home to cover a drafty window in the winter.
While both children helped to make this wall hanging, my grandson was fast at work on a gift he was sewing for his baby cousin when I wanted to get a photograph. Sadly his gift to his cousin somehow left without my getting a picture of it.
Because I had previously made this a curtain it already had a pocket for a rod. I toyed around with taking it apart and making a neat opening for a rod but decided a simple slit would be enough of a job for the children to tackle. They pinned the blue fabric to the map and sewed it just like a pillow (inside out), then turned it around, sewed a hem around the entire piece to hold the seams in place and cut a hole for a rod to hang it.
Then my granddaughter spotted a white jersey fabric and hugged it to herself as she asked if I could help her make a dress from it. I hesitated only briefly because I had plans for that piece of fabric but then smiled and told her I would. She has folders of drawings of dresses she designs hoping I will help her to make them into reality for her. Unfortunately most of her drawings are to elaborate for my limited sewing skills and the fabrics she has in mind may have to be made rather than bought. So when I saw her fall in love with this plain white fabric there was no way I could tell her no, it was my one chance to sew her a dress.
We talked about her vision for the dress and I felt in over my head. She drew out a plan and I knew I was in over my head. I then drew a sketch of something simple and within my ability to help her make. She loved it. This is the dress we made together.
We spent three hot afternoons sitting by the fan and sewing, and for that there are no words to explain how thankful I am for the wonderful friendships blogging has brought into my life.