Oil up your sewing machines, thread your needles and tromp down on the foot control. September is National Sewing Month. Vroom, vroom!
Guess who came up with the idea of designating a month to honor the art and task of sewing? I’ll give you three guesses.
No, not Martha Stewart, though we all know she is a great advocate of all things needlework. It’s always worth a trip to her website to see what’s on her stitching agenda. (Wish I could get her to invite some of us sewing aficionados to her place in Seal Harbor for a Stitch and Bitch session.)
Nope, not Sarah Palin, but close.
It was Ronald Reagan, according to information posted at www.nationalsewingmonth.org. Yup. That Ronald Reagan — as in president. Each year from 1982 to 1985, Reagan issued proclamations declaring September National Sewing Month to recognize “the importance of home sewing to our nation.”
I don’t think he sewed, but maybe he knew someone who did.
After the last Reagan proclamation in 1985, things got a little murky for National Sewing Month, since no more proclamations were forthcoming from the White House. Then in 2004 the Home Sewing Association took up the cause. When the association folded in 2007, the American Sewing Guild, which had been part of the association, began in 2008 to promote National Sewing Month as a new generation began to take an interest in learning to sew.
The theme for National Sewing Month this year is “SewaNew,” chosen as a way to nudge into action those who want to learn to sew and to encourage those who used to sew to get started again.
Here in the Bangor area, several fabric shops have planned classes or events for September.
Evelyn Caruso of the Cotton Cupboard said her shop is participating in the American Patchwork and Quilting magazine’s National One Million Pillowcases Challenge. The idea is to have those who sew make and donate pillowcases that will be distributed to local shelters for the homeless and other nonprofit organizations in need of such bedding. The goal for her shop, Caruso said, is to collect 260 pillowcases. Her shop is a drop-off location for the pillowcases after they are sewn. Deadline for dropping off completed pillowcases is Friday, Oct. 1.
Those who want to participate in the Challenge may visit www.allpeoplequilt.com for more information and a pillowcase pattern.
Caruso said beginning quilting classes start at her shop on Sept. 10. For more information, call Caruso at 941-8900.
At A Straight Stitch in Brewer, shop owner Debbie Norton said sewing classes for teens are scheduled 3-4:30 p.m. Thursdays, beginning Sept. 9, which fits in nicely with National Sewing Month. For more information about classes, call Norton at 989-1234.
The National Sewing Month website at www.nationalsewingmonth.org has a page of suggestions on how to get involved, including teaching someone to sew, registering for classes at a local fabric shop, joining a local chapter of the American Sewing Guild or organizing a sewing circle among friends and neighbors.
The website also lists ideas for first-time projects for children and adults, including hair accessories, button bracelets, tote bags, pillows and Christmas ornaments.
As for me, every month is sewing month. I always have sewing projects pending or in progress. I’m now stitching a quilt made of pre-pieced denim patches, some of which are lavishly beaded and sequined — the fabric came that way and all I had to do was add a bit of sashing around the perimeter, add batting and backing, and do some hand quilting.
I am contemplating sewing a jacket from the Harris tweed wool a kind friend gave me. I’m trying to decide which pattern to use. I’m leaning toward a classic, semifitted style.
I also have an unfinished embroidery project and an unfinished applique project that are haunting me.
And I’d like to contribute to the Pillowcase Challenge.
The North Country Spinners and knitters will hold a Fiber Festival 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 18, at the Agriculture Exhibition Building at the Northern Maine Fairgrounds in Presque Isle. The event will coincide with Worldwide Spin in Public Day. It will feature demonstrations and vendors relating to spinning and dyeing yarn. Admission is free.