In addition to everything else Mom did, she also often taught sewing classes through the local college. Mom was always sewing something for someone. In this story, written for a 1992 writing class, Mom basically tells how to hem a skirt.
The only thing odd about the story, is it's premised on Mom buying a skirt. I can't remember Mom ever actually buying a skirt, or anything else for that matter. She always made everything. The photo is of Mom working at her sewing machine in her sewing room in 2004.
A sale! Wow! This is a good price for a well-constructed skirt. I have many blouses and sweaters to match this wonderful soft color. Oh my, it's too long, but I can't beat this price so I will have to hem it. Hemming a skirt is easy, if you follow these simple steps: marking and cutting to the correct length, overcasting the edge, pinning and sewing, then pressing. Because I'm so short everything I buy is too long, so hemming has become a second nature to me.
Once at home, I try the skirt on. This time, I pin the hem where I want it, so I can cut it off. This color is unusual, so it will be difficult to find thread to match. To solve this problem, take the hem, which I have just cut off, and find the end thread. It should pull off in one long piece. Wind the thread on anything you have handy: a piece of cardboard, a pen, an empty spool. There is more than enough thread to do the hand work.
Next, I take the skirt to the sewing machine or serger. Put on the color of thread that matches best, as this part will not show, and overcast the edge (which was just cut off) of the skirt with a zig zag stitch. This will keep the edge from raveling.
After pinning the skirt in place, I thread my needle with some of the thread from the original hem that I wound on the spool. Use a single thread and knot one end. Starting at a seam, pull up the needle from the bottom so the knot is inside the hem. Make a small stitch in the main part of the skirt then back into the hem at almost the same spot. I make about a half-inch stretch of thread inside of the hem; to make sure that most of the length of thread is inside of the hem. Again I take the small stitch in the body of the skirt. I continue in this manner around the skirt, keeping as much of the work inside the hem as possible. Reinforce at all seems by taking several stitches at the seam as no one sees that. When I take the smallest stitch in the skirt body nothing will show on the outside.
The final step is the pressing. I use a steam iron, with the heat set to match the fabric, and test a corner. I steam press the rest of the hem. Now I can wear my sale skirt, altered to fit me. I feel good for my investment both in money and time.
Connie, April 20, 1992