The Perils of Not Taking Home Ec

housewife+2 The Perils of Not Taking Home Ec

You may recall my quick review of Joi Mahon’s book, Create the Perfect Fit on the Sew News blog awhile back. It’s one of my first resources I go to on fitting. Which got me to thinking, how do people like to learn? Today we can get knowledge on any subject in a nanosecond. But, I still have a preferred way of getting mine.

My mom and grandma taught me to sew. I didn’t take home ec, my mom didn’t want valuable time spent on “housewife training”. Instead I took German, Latin and drama. Of course when it came time for me to be out on my own, I not only poisoned myself multiple times with under cooked chicken and beef, and wore more unintentional pink in my wardrobe than I wanted but I was absolutely terrified of small babies and checkbooks.

stack+of+books The Perils of Not Taking Home Ec






Even as my mom and grandma taught me how to sew, I was always on the hunt for more info. I ‘stole’ my grandma’s Time Life collection of The Art of Sewing books so that I could read over details before I went to bed. I particularly liked The Classic Techniques book. The cover was pink, black and white in a geometric print. Still remember that.

I still enjoy looking through the latest books on sewing to learn something new and be inspired. My bed is littered with sewing patterns and books. What’s on my nightstand currently is Joi’s second book, Designer Joi’s Fashion Sewing Workshop I can honestly tell you, that I love it.

Her new book is about fashion sewing that shows professional skills and techniques for creating stylish garments. It includes 5 patternmaking templates, design tips for real bodies, flat patternmaking and tons of information on draping, drafting, sewing for the aging body and even fitting for kids. I can’t give the book justice here so, please go to my full review on the Sew News blog.

T6854 The Perils of Not Taking Home Ec

Plus, answer my question (on the blog) and you’ll be in the running for a Joi Mahon 2 book giveaway.

Another book that I’m drooling over is Boundless Style by Kristiann Boos of Victory Patterns. This book is gorgeous. If you love pattern hacking (taking patterns pieces from different patterns and making a completely new design) this book is the for you. I’ve been scouring the big 4 pattern catalogs for a blouse with no luck. However, I found the perfect one on page 74 of her book. The Georgia is so beautiful, feminine but adult too. I don’t need to look like a tween thank you.

 5110zqBzPoL. SX377 BO1204203200  The Perils of Not Taking Home Ec

The Georgia blouse is on my list for spring sewing (see below).  I’m still working on my double gauze shirt dress and I somehow cut out another skirt pattern, even though I told myself I wouldn’t until I actually finish something.

georgina The Perils of Not Taking Home Ec

Who actually is in charge here?

Oh, well. Carpe diem.

 The Perils of Not Taking Home Ec



 The Perils of Not Taking Home Ec

About Jill

I write for the Sew News and Creative Machine Embroidery blogs. I love sewing, vintage and would love to get a comment from you!
This entry was posted in Fashion and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

14 Responses to The Perils of Not Taking Home Ec

  1. Designer Joi says:

    Thank you so much for reviewing my book. A friend sent me the link to this blog post. It was really fun to read along with all the reply notes from others. I have enjoyed reading those as well. I am so passionate about teaching younger generations to sew and design and it is sad the sewing is being eliminated from FAC programs. However, I have been working with many school systems that are bringing it back and my new book Fashion Sewing Workshop is being picked up as a text book which is really really exciting. So those of you teaching sewing keep it up as it is a great lifelong skill and even career opportunity for many kids. I teaches life skills and gives some kids something to work for in our crazy world. Plus overall I think kids are creative and gives them a creative outlet. Designer Joi

  2. Daniell says:

    My Home Ec. experience includes a sad little laundry bag and the memory of a really bad ham and pineapple dish the class made. That was the end of my classroom training in sewing and cooking. Luckily, I learned to cook from my amazing Mom. And, although she never sewed on a button, she was a fine knitter and crafter. Thanks Mom for showing me the value of all things that are handmade with love.

  3. MelodyJ says:

    Sadly I actually took Home Ec. But it was a waste of time my teachers didn’t teasch sewing or cooking or anything important. I’ve taught myself cooking and baking. I want to teach myself to sew as well.

  4. Lorraine Saxon says:

    I learned to sew from Home Ec in the 7th grade and a neighbor that summer who helped me a little bit. The rest has been from reading patterns, and magazines. All the other sewers I know quilt and I don’t have even a small interest in that. I sew mainly clothes and anything else that trips my trigger. Lately it’s been 18″ doll clothes for the granddaughters. Who is in charge? Hancocks Fabrics sale flyer!!!

  5. CarolynF says:

    My grandmothers and mother sewed. One grandmother was a dressmaker in the late 1800s and I have her sewing and pattern making things with the measurements of ladies she sewed for in her town. She taught my mother who taught me at a young age. I’ve taught my own daughter and started on my granddaughters. I never took home ec, though it was still being taught when I was in High School. I remember seeing a girl doing her home ec sewing homework in math class. She was moving darts and I wished I could have taken the class. Mother just knew all that from her mother so I got a lot from her but it looked like fun. I am now assisting in a program to teach the FCS agents from our Extension service to sew. Not a requirement for the job any more. I’m also working with a group of enthusiastic young girls in 4-H. Maybe little by little we can keep sewing going.
    As for who is in charge? I am in my sewing room and all my children and grandchildren start out sitting on my lap as soon as they can sit up and “sewing” with me with their hands on the back of my hands. At least they know what it is.

  6. Karen says:

    I many prom and wedding dress I am working on. I could have used a book on designing and draping. I have no training in either and am making a prom dress from a picture and one detail took a lot of trail and error in the design and draping, but I did get it.Now I need to get everything sewn togather so it is a dress.

  7. Bernita L. says:

    I had some basic sewing skills (learned from my mom) before I took mandatory home ec in 7th and 8th grade, so I got to be the teacher’s helper and help those who were not so fortunate as me. Boy was that a learning experience. I wish (then and now) that girls had been required to take a basic shop class and boys a basic home ec class. I was blessed with 2 boys, but those boys knew how to do laundry, cook, sew on a button, etc. before they left home. Guess who does the cooking in their homes, they do. It doesn’t seem that kids are taught basic “life skills” at home anymore, and usually the answer is that it’s faster just to do it yourself. It’s such a shame.

    In answer to your question, the project that appeals to me the most at the moment is in charge. They all eventually get finished, but I don’t force myself to work on one just to finish it when I could be working on one that is “calling me.” :-)

  8. I’m a retired me Ec/FACS teacher. I was the last FACS teacher in our high schools and sadly the course was eliminated when I retired. Since retiring I coordinated the education classes and taught sewing at one of our JOANN stores before opening my own business. I decided to open my own business as seamstress and offer sewing lessons about 18months ago and it has gone very well. I also work at CNY Costumes where I pull, customize and create costumes to match measurements given by the theater groups who rent our shows. Always a challenge!

    My Aunt started me on the sewing machine when I was in 4th grade. By the time I was in the 8th grade knew I wanted to teach and pass on that skill. I did…and I still am.

  9. Michelle F. says:

    So many great books! I’m going to have to add them to my list! I just bought and started reading “The Art of Couture” and it is so inspiring! It is the kick in the pants I needed to really get cracking on my very long list of sewing projects.

  10. Cindy says:

    I am a “home-ec” teacher. It is now called Family and Consumer Science (FACS). Unfortunately, sewing is not taught as much as it was. In fact, many schools are dropping our subject all together. There are many reasons for this. One reason is the shortage of qualified teachers. But, the bigger reason is that we are not taken seriously. Many people feel these life schools can just be taught at home. All the professional FACS teachers know otherwise. My hope is that more people will understand that “home-ec” is still around. Thank you Jill for opening your blog with how you could have used those classes after all! It would be a help if you could mention our profession more!

  11. kathlyn D Czako says:

    Yes Brenda Umphress, we certainly do. Too many young people are not being taught basic life skills either at home or at school. Home ec was made so much fun of at one time. Now without it there is a huge living skills deficit. So sad. Young people are equipped for a technology filled world but only know how to fix a packet of instant oatmeal or Ramen noodles. Shirts are pitched missing a button, and my pet peeve, a bit of hem comes undone and safety pinned I to place.

  12. Brenda Umphress says:

    There is satisfaction that comes from being able to sew on a button, fix a rip, menu plan, how to do laundry, how to balance a checkbook, understand basic nutrition & know your way around in the kitchen. It is time that we bring “life skills” back into the schools!!

  13. Marcia says:

    Learned to sew from a county extension program because my Mom didn’t want to be frustrated. Also my aunt who sewed for her livelihood, and a Home Ec. teacher who was not married and had all the time in the world for her students.
    Who’s in charge – depends on the day – ideas, deadlines, or curiosity.

  14. Melissa Dessent says:

    In answer to your question, my cat is in charge of everything I do. He believes in helping with everything.