Sew much millenials don’t know

Published 10:57 pm Monday, October 27, 2014

Got a button missing on your coat, don’t ask a millennial, (people born roughly between the years 1982-2004) to fix it. A study found folks born in those years might know how to text or tweet, but hand them a needle and thread and they are lost.

Yep, sewing is becoming a lost art. Now, I’m not talking about complicated sewing such as creating a piece of clothing from scratch. Nope, it’s simple stuff like replacing a button or hemming a skirt.

Apparently, one of the reasons for this lack of knowledge is the absence of home economics classes in schools. Remember home economics class? If you answered yes, you dated yourself, and you are nowhere near millennial age.

For millennials reading this, back in the old days home ec was a required class for ninth graders. At least it was required for me because it got me out of PE class.

You learned important stuff in that class. Things like how to follow a recipe (another thing many millennials don‘t know about), how to balance a checkbook (something not lost to only millennials) and of course, how to sew.

Now, I knew how to replace a button or hem a skirt long before I set foot in Mrs. Ellis’s home economics class. At an early age, I learned those skills from my mother, who learned from her mother. It was something passed down generation to generation.

Oh no, in that class, we went beyond the basics. Buttons and hemming were child’s play. We dove into sewing in earnest learning to cut pieces of fabric using a pattern. Then we followed the directions and assembled those pieces into whatever project we selected.

Why, we even learned about putting in zippers and sewing waistbands on skirts. Walk by the home ec building while a class was in progress and you heard sewing machines humming.

My first project was an apron, a white apron with a big pocket on the front. I felt a great sense of accomplishment when I finished that darn apron. For my second sewing trick, I chose a simple straight skirt with a short-sleeved blouse. Both skirt and blouse had darts. Oh Lord they had darts.

For those who don’t sew, darts are devilish things requiring you to sew at the perfect angle. If you don’t, instead of a neat dart, you get a big old pucker. I was the queen of puckers.

Then there was the daunting task of adding the zipper to the skirt, followed by putting sleeves in the blouse and finishing it off with a neat neckline. When I was finally done, I slipped on the ensemble and stood triumphantly in front of the mirror.

What I saw was probably the ugliest outfit ever with its puckered darts and lopsided sleeves. Not to mention there were a couple of seams held together with safety pins.

Still, I sewed a finished project with my own two hands. I got better with practice and three more years of home economics classes. To this day, I can sew a pretty straight line and make a decent dart if necessity calls for it.

So back to the millennials. What is to become of civilization when no one remembers how to thread a needle or fill the bobbin on a sewing machine? Well, the study noted that tons of clothes in need of minor repairs might land in the garbage because folks have no idea how to fix anything.

There is, however, a light in the darkness. Some members of the millennial generation are requesting classes that teach skills like cooking and sewing. Seems they realize they need to have some of these ancient skills.

Of course, don’t ask them to hand wash the pots and pans after they cook or to iron the clothes they fix. There is a limit to how much of the good old days they want to bring with them into this brave new world.