I used to sew…a lot!

The girls

Our family before the ball.
Our family before the ball.

Courtney Lea Dykeman - Belle of the ballLike every good girl of thirty plus years ago, I took Home Economics in school. I LOVED to bake and I thought baking at school would be great. I could ace that class with no problem. The difficult part was the weeks I had to learn to SEW! That word put fear in my heart as a teenager. It was the only class that I came close to flunking. I set the waistband on my corduroy skirt so many times I could have done it in my sleep and it STILL wasn’t right. It was an exasperating, frustrating few weeks. The humiliating part was having to ‘model’ our projects before the class. My skirt and blouse turned out alright…nothing to brag about. I don’t recall ever wearing them again.

So, while pregnant with our oldest, I decided to try sewing again…and just loved it. I made a crib set with dust ruffle, curtains and blanket to match. Sewed tiny little flannel nightgowns and matching blankets. I was on a roll. For years I made all my dresses and maternity clothes. I’m tall and that was a huge benefit for me.

Then I was at Wal-Mart on my weekly shopping trip and I found the Civil War era patterns. I was in 7th heaven! That was my favorite time period in history. I’ve read Gone With the Wind too many times to count. The movie was fantastic. (My husband has other words to say on that one.) So, I purchased several patterns of course. I could not pass that up.

Another item for my bucket list was to go to a ball. A real ball with musicians, ball gowns with hoops, white gloves, and everything to go with it. So, my daughter found the fabric for her gown and I proceeded to make an authentic ball gown from the Civil War era and then I made mine. I sewed authentic under clothing as well. We purchased hoop skirts and corsets, stockings, garters and slippers. We also had the white gloves and fans that a proper lady would have worn to a ball. I also made vests for my husband and son and they were quite dashing in their dark suits.

After much research and several months of sewing, I must say, we looked great the evening of the ball. We had all learned some of the dances of the day and we had a wonderful time. Our second oldest was truly the ‘Belle of the Ball’ in her yellow and mint green striped gown. For me, it was an evening to be remembered. I was a small part of that era for a few short  hours and it was magical. I wish the pictures were more clear, but you get the idea.


6 thoughts on “I used to sew…a lot!

  1. I went to a girls’ only school for my first two years of high school and we had to take home economics for the two years then had the choice to either proceed throughout highschool or not. At that age I didn’t have enough patience to stay since home economics included alot; sewing, knitting, baking, crotcheing, home keeping, good grooming, table manners and more lady making things. I wish I has stuck with it now. Those are beautiful dresses 😁

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I loved Home Economics, but was very frustrated with it from the standpoint that I had to do it THEIR way. I was the oldest of four with a sick mother, so I ran the house much of the time. We made everything from scratch, including our bread, seven loaves a week in a wood cook stove. It was difficult to be patient! But when it came to the sewing…ugh! Thank you…God gave me the gift of sewing…and I’m still amazed!


  2. That might be disastrous to the dress you made for me. Unless if you’re wanting to repair some seams. 😉


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