I still read bedtime stories to my kids, they share a bedroom so sometimes the books we read start with board books and end with a few pages of Harry Potter. I love books and the library, while I no longer horde books like I horde fabrics, books give me a comfort and soothing similar to sewing. I wanted to share some of my love of sewing with my children at bedtime, I found an extra bonus because some of the books gave us some history or dealt with overcoming fears.
Sewing is still something that has to involve human hands, there are thousands of industries that use robotics to cut production costs, garment making is not yet one of them. For me sewing is not only a practical skill but another way of weaving magic into our life. I can dress and drape our actual shapes and lifestyle making it easier to be ourselves, instead of trying to fit into someone else’s slipper.
First up is When Jessie Came Across The Sea, a story of a young immigrant girl and her lace making skills. She lived in a small village with her grandmother and was sent to America by their Rabbi. Through her hard work and skills she not only teaches her grandmother to read and write but she earns and saves enough money to bring her to America.
The next book is a great quick read and great for younger ones as there is lots of fun names. Lady Han and Her Seven Friends talk about the seamstress’s tools and how in a group we all work together to create great work.
Great one for the ghost story lovers out-there and close to my celtic loving heart. It’s Lucy Dove, the story of a Laird who needs lucky pants sewn by the light of a full moon in a haunted church yard. It’s a bit spooky so it may not be for everyone.
Then there was a historical illustrated chapter book Mrs. Lincoln’s Dressmaker: The Unlikely Friendship of Elizabeth Keckley and Mary Todd Lincoln. This is the kids version of a adult novel with a similar name. We learned about history, war, slavery and how dressing and skills helped these women survive and encourage change.
The last book I’m going to talk about is Brave Girl: Clara and the Shirtwaist Makers’ Strike of 1909. This book had me in tears, those proud mama type tears. This is a story of a girl who immigrates to America and while seeing the disparity of girl/women’s rights to education and working conditions, doesn’t give up. She works harder, going to work in the day to help support her family, then to school at night, and when the change she wants to see isn’t happening works with her community to bring about positive change.
Mostly I make for myself but I do share my skills with my kids. There is a part of me that hopes the girls recognize how sewing can be a useful skill and a way of self care. Maybe sending them to sleep with dreams of thimbles and thread will plant a seed.