Sewing Lessons?

One of the YSA women asked if I could teach her to sew.  Sure!  I learned to sew in 7th and 8th grades on a treadle machine!  However, I graduated from college in a science field – so I am not exactly your typical Susy Homemaker… We decided on Thursday evenings, since that is when Felsted Elder is doing art class/lessons…  I usually liked to be around for English classes (the hour before art class) but that had to end for the sewing classes.

The previous Senior Sisters left a box of fabric and skirt patterns.  The fabric was sent from American by friends or relatives.  I think they had quite a skirt sewing project going on.  Many Hungarian women wear pants everywhere and the idea was to sew some basic A-line skirts for them to have something more appropriate for Sunday Services.  (We LDS feel that we show respect for Christ by the way we dress, especially in Church – as well as the way we act.  He loves us any way we are, but just like we would dress up to meet someone really important, we should dress up for our Lord!)

So Livi picked out a fabric and she wanted to sew for her best friend, Viki.  We chose a size that we thought would fit Viki and just to make sure, we cut it a bit larger.  Viki was not around very much for fittings…  Of course, when she was, it was way too big… So Livi had to resew all the seams…. and the fabric was very cute but a bit silky, so it was hard for a beginner because it wanted to move around.  Viki decided that she wanted a fitted waist – not the slightly gathered waist that the pattern called for.  So it took more fittings to get that right PLUS we needed to put in a zipper!  The zippers here do not come with instructions and it has been years since I put in a zipper. I LOVE THE INTERNET!!!  I found instructions on the internet, which I printed off and filed away for future use.  And I thought I had a picture of Viki in her skirt… but can’t find it!

After the skirt, Livi decided that she wanted to sew the bridesmaid dresses that she and Viki would be wearing at the wedding of their friend, Eva.  She bought a book that had the patterns inside and I helped her transfer the pattern to some other paper.  She and Viki are two different sizes, so that had to be accounted for.  The patterns here are not in the envelopes like what I am used to in America.  All we had was a model wearing the dress in an artsy picture to see the dress – no simple drawings of the dress.

The recreation room is used for everything...
The recreation room is used for everything…  And using the Mission Home Bernina sewing machine has been wonderful…

She bought some fabric that was a bit lightweight, but she thought she had bought enough for it to be self lined.  She had not; there was enough to make the two dresses only.  They had full length slips (from their grandmothers!) so that would act as a liner.  She cut the fabric and started to sew.  Once it was together and tried on, there was a glaring problem!  It was an off the shoulder dress (not readily discernible in the picture that we looked at) and was not appropriate for their needs.  SO – back to the drawing board.  I thought that perhaps by making the sleeves higher up on the shoulder, we could gerry-rig something.  She took off the raglan-style sleeves and re-cut new sleeves to fit higher up on the shoulder.  I designed a strip of fabric that could be inserted between the two sleeves to raise the neckline and she sewed it in – front and back… There were some other modifications and I actually had to help do some of the finishing work because the wedding was sooner than the dresses were getting done.  Here is the finished projects.

Cute YSA in their cute dresses!
Cute YSA in their cute dresses!

After that project was over, we took a bit of a breather… no sewing for a while.  Then Livi wanted to start another dress – 60s style classic sheath style.  She picked out some fabric from the magic box and we started that whole process again.  She wanted to wear it for her second cousin’s wedding – but, alas, it did not get done in time for that…

By now, some YSA aged investigators wanted to do some sewing… Dia is a great friend of Viki and she attends Church in the Buda Ward and many of our YSA events. Dia wanted to learn how to sew a skirt;  Panni wanted to do some alterations on some pants, shorts, etc.  She knew Viki and some other Church members through a common business.

Dia sewing on her skirt
Dia sewing on her skirt
Panni modeling her modified pants - from long and wide legs to capri length and narrower legs
Panni modeling her modified pants – from long and wide legs to capri length and narrower legs

But my issue now was there was only one machine for all these people to use at the same time.  And the sewing machine left in our apartment had no cord.  However, the landlord was doing some work in our apartment and they had another older sewing machine which they brought and it works fine!

Dia and her completed skirt.
Dia and her completed skirt.

Along the way, Barbi found a used temple dress in some used clothes bag that showed up at the Buda Ward building, which fit her perfectly, except it was way too long for her.  So I had her cut it off – after showing her to how to use a measuring gauge to make sure it was cut off evenly.  She was very nervous doing this!!!  She then turned up a first hem and sewed it and then turned it again to complete it.  She is engaged and will be married next spring and having a temple dress (that actually looks sort of like a wedding dress), to wear to the temple is super!

One of the members of the Pest Ward had to clean out her mother’s home and found bags and bags of fabric!  Viki (as well as Karolina and her mother and who knows who else) was having a field day with this fabric!!!  Viki found some material that they could use to make part of the bridesmaids dresses for Aniko’s upcoming December wedding. Viki, Dia and I had spent an afternoon looking at three different fabric stores and had not found anything that was exactly what they wanted for the other part.  And it was expensive.  A visit back to the bags of material and she came up with some FREE material that would do!  BTW, Viki got her college degree in something like technical drawing and she designed the dresses and drew up the patterns.  I was amazed at her abilities!!!  And… she did not need too much instruction in the sewing part… She just took off!

Viki and Livi working on phase one of the second set of bridesmaid dresses. Older Pfaff sewing machine in background.
Viki working on phase one of the second set of bridesmaid dresses for her and Dia. Livi is working on something else, as she declined being a bridesmaid this time around.  Older Pfaff sewing machine from our landlord in background.

There was an issue with the pattern…. Viki made a pattern for the dress bodice and skirt but not the sleeves.  So I found a pattern with sleeves and we had to do some “modifying” again to make everything work!

Here is the final bridesmaids’ dresses and the designer/seamstress and consultant!

Another interesting development… (just when I was getting used to having Thursday afternoons free – HA)… Livi got a ring two weeks ago and asked for help making a WEDDING DRESS… What could I say but YES?  BUT… you HAVE to have a pattern for the dress, I said…

Here is the cute couple...
Here is the cute couple… Livi and Zoli

Oh, and Viki said something interesting to me the other day…. Sister Felsted, whoever replaces you HAS TO SEW….  Luckily, most LDS women my age know how to sew…



  1. Hi from utah, Nover peterson’s mom. I loved seeing the sewing. Just to let you know kylee is an accomplished seamstress if you need help sewing .

  2. Thanks for volunteering Peterson Növér, your daughter! Unfortunately, she is a proselyting missionary and does not have a lot of spare time… Her calling is very important to the overall success of the Mission in Hungary. AND she is in another town an hour or so away…

    1. HA! As you might NOT remember, I TRIED to teach you to sew, but ended up taking you and Katie to the Extension Building in Cockeysville and having you learn to sew there… However, I have had the very same idea about teaching the granddaughters to sew. I was thinking it would be good to gather them for some sewing lessons – perhaps on my new treadle machine!

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