Coats & Clark is celebrating our 200th Anniversary in 2012 and would like you to share your sewing stories with us and for the next generations to read.

Share Your Sewing Stories

How it works:

Your story can be about how you learned to sew or quilt, what you enjoy about sewing, what you learned along the way or anything regarding sewing or quilting.

See the list of winners from the second half of the year giveaway!

  • SEWING ABOARD! I learned to sail when I li...

    Submitted by PATRICIA on November 25, 2012

    I learned to sail when I lived on our sailboat!

    But let me tell you my long sewing story:

    Back in 1959 I was going to begin Jr. high school and was excited because one of my classes was going to be Sewing. I was so looking forward to it. There was an old foot treadle machine at home but my older sister who used to use it had long ago married and moved away. But finally the time had come to learn to sew! I remember having to get a free cigar box to fill with the list of supplies the teacher gave us, needles good quality C&C thread, scissors, etc. In the class we were 5 girls at each table with one sewing machine to share. I didn’t realize I was the only one without prior instruction, all the other girls had moms who had taught them the basics of sewing already. I stitched carefully, concentrating to get it all right but I soon fell behind the others.
    I’m sorry to tell you but the teacher was less than kind and patient. Being only a kid I had no idea about that sort of thing but now I can say she was probably in a hysterical menopausal phase and she terrorized rather than taught. Even the girls with experience trembled when having to show her their work. The woman did not have a seam ripper, she just TORE our sewing apart! KAAARIIIIIIIIIIIIIIP ! "DO IT AGAIN" she'd shriek and throw our shredded sewing at us!

    Of all things, our first project was to sew a gathered apron. Imagine, sewing gathers on a machine for the first time! Well, you can just picture the stress of trying to sew gathers with the other girls waiting for their turn to use the machine. Anyway, the "teacher" reduced me to tears more than once and made me feel like a total failure and had me convinced me that I should give up any dreams of sewing. I barely passed with a C and a broken heart.

    Yet after that sad experience I would often go to the fabric shop with my best friend whose mother had taught her to sew. I so loved seeing and touching the materials and looking at all the interesting notions. But what was the use?

    Many years passed, I grew up and happened to marry an adventurous man whose dream was to sail away to the tropics. Just a few days before our departure date, we were shopping at a Sears for the last few necessities. This was in Detroit, 1973. Anyway, as we walked past the sewing machines my husband suddenly stopped and declared ‘we should have a sewing machine on the boat. It could be used for repairs and would come in handy!” I was aghast, even the most basic model had confusing things like ZIGZAG and REVERSE! Things I could never do! But my husband wouldn’t hear of such nonsense and he bought me a Kenmore Lightweight Model 1040, small enough to fit it a tiny space but very sturdy, all metal. Perfect.
    Our first “port of call” after sailing away on our way to the tropics was the small town of Port Colborne in Canada on Lake Erie. We found a dry goods shop where I bought a SIMPLICITY SEWING BOOK, a basic how to sew book and some Coats and Clark thread and some fabric. I still have that book and have to laugh at my penciled notes in that book like like WOW, YOU CAN USE ZIGZAG TO OVERCAST SEAMS!!! or SO THAT’S WHAT A ZIPPER FOOT IS!!!! And so I slowly began and discovered, yes, I could sew. I could do it at my own speed and it was easy and fun and great as long as there was no awful teacher screaming at me. And sewing patterns had changed so much from 1959, now there were basic types that I could sew and little by little over the years I progressed until I was sewing all sorts of things. Yes, there were times my husband punished my machine sewing torn sails which made me want to scream but my Kenmore survived. And I still have it and now it’s a vintage model still sought after. Sometimes I wonder how many MILES of seams I stitched over the years. I still use it and in fact I plan to sew this afternoon.

    My husband and I lived aboard for 23 years and sailed the Caribbean. It was fun buying fabric wherever we went and I had quite a stash. In fact. once I almost got into trouble for having so much. At new places we were always inspected by customs officers and one time at a Spanish speaking destination the inspectors came aboard and found my cabinet with 125 yards of fabric and I heard one say to the other something about CONTRABAND! Like I was smuggling fabric because I had so much!?! But I quickly explained in my broken Spanish that I loved to sew and showed them my machine and some of the bathing suits and clothes I had made so they accepted that I was just a woman passionate about sewing.

    Now I live alone in Venezuela, South America, my husband passed away, the boat is sold. Now it’s all memories, memories that come alive when I go through my lifetime collection of thread* and sewing supplies, so many good times sewing peacefully anchored in some quiet little cove in the tropics, all because my dear husband said “we should have a sewing machine aboard!” And because I learned to SEW! This is my story. Thanks for letting me have the fun to share it.

    * My collection of thread covers so many years, from the Coats and Clark on wooden spools that my sister used during the 1940’s to the new C&C thread I now order via Internet from the states!

  • My family is a sewing family. I've been sew...

    Submitted by Karen on November 21, 2012

    My family is a sewing family. I've been sewing since I've been breathing (or pretty close to it). All of us are a historic Coats and Clark family as well. At age 12 I started sewing all my own clothes. All the wonderful colors of thread in my three drawers of thread afford me to match whatever project I choose.
    Remember when Coats and Clark had the gold spools? I still have a few of them in my collection.
    So many stories, so many fantastic memories.
    In Jr. and Senior years for prom, I had three friends who purchased their fabric and supplies and then I chose my fabric. They split my cost 3 ways, I made their dresses and mine. It was a happy time with the fittings and giggles. Those days were the fun times.

  • I remember Coats & Clark in my mama's sewin...

    Submitted by Lynn on November 17, 2012

    I remember Coats & Clark in my mama's sewing box and when I started high school & took sewing in Home Ec, I looked for Coats & Clark myself. I thought that is what you are to use when you sew. I sewed a little when my children were babies but then let life get in the way. My mama made baby quilts for each of her 10 grandchildren, and their children. She passed away in 2007 after my dad died in 2006. I started to learn to quilt a year after she went to be with our Lord and when I did my sister brought to me a couple of stacks of quilt magazines that belonged to my mama...I had no idea my mama had these magazines and apparently loved to look at them as much as I did - I wish she was here now to sew with me.... Oh, and tonight on November 17, 2012 what thread am I quilting with.....Coats & Clark Hand Quilting thread. Thank you :)

  • I first learned to sew when I was in Jr. Hi...

    Submitted by Pam on November 09, 2012

    I first learned to sew when I was in Jr. High in Gallup, New Mexico in 1958. Our school had old treadle sewing machines. Everyone loved them and finding the rhythm was fun. I grew up with Coats and Clarks thread; there was nothing else. I have inherited an old Singer Feather weight filled with wonderful old wooden spools of Coats and Clarks. I now sew on a computerized machine and still use Coats and Clarks. Traditional good things never change.

  • As I am now 72 years of age, I have been se...

    Submitted by Margaret on November 08, 2012

    As I am now 72 years of age, I have been sewing for 67 years.
    My mother and my aunt were trained dressmakers and had a sussessful business in Glasgow, Scotland in the 1930's. My aunt continued until 1961, working for some years for "Lindsay Maid" who produced embroidery kits called "Art Needlework With Clark's Cottons". I still have one.
    So you can see that my life was surrounded by thread and fabric.
    From 1958-61 I attended the Glasgow & West of Scotland College of Domestic Science, taking all my courses in textiles and sewing.
    As Paisley is very close to Glasgow, we made several field trips to Coats & Clark.
    I subsequently lived near Paisley and would go to the Coats & Clark mills there, quite often as I could buy Viyella fabric there.
    Fast forward to my life in Toronto, Canada since 1975. A neighbour, who had been born in Glasgow in 1899, fascinated me with her tales of working in the Coats mills in Paisley as a young woman. The company paid close attention to the health of their workers and would send them to a care home in the country if there was a sign of chest or lung problems......and would continue to send her wages to her mother for the months that she was in care!
    In my sewing room collection I have several old J. & P. Coats spools of thread - 6 cord #40 and Super Sheen machine twist # 50 among them, as well as many hanks of Stranded Cotton # 25 embroidery thread and # 18 Coton A Broder.
    So Coats & Clark have been with me my whole life.
    Maybe it is time to clear out my sewing room!

  • My lifelong passion for sewing can be trace...

    Submitted by Heather on November 07, 2012

    My lifelong passion for sewing can be traced to two mysterious old steamer trunks delivered to our home shortly after the death of my Grandma White when I was just 5 years old . Those trunks overflowed with treasure in the form of an old sewing machine, a vintage 'step by step' sewing book and miles of wonderful fabric! When my sister and I were preparing for summer camp we decided we'd make simple laundry bags from some of the fabric and instantly we were hooked on the unique beauty of handmade. Our sweet Mum always laughs and says that the sewing gene must have skipped a generation, because she hates sewing with a passion! She proudly supported our efforts and frequently took us to the fabric store for more supplies when the treasures of the trunk finally ran out. As soon as we were eligible to work, my sister and I both took jobs at that same fabric store! We rarely took home a pay check but carefully built our 'stash' of fabrics and notions, just like our grandmother before us! Now I teach a beginner sewing class to teen girls at our local community cultural center and every time I meet a new group of students, I share this wonderful memory.

  • When I was growing up, my sister and I spen...

    Submitted by Colleen on November 06, 2012

    When I was growing up, my sister and I spent our summers with our grandparents. We had our own playroom for our dolls and a dollhouse. I didn't do much "playing", but was always making the clothes or redecorating the dollhouse. Everything was done by hand and encouraged by grandma. One day, for some reason long forgotten, I decided to make myself a pair of slippers. Grandma had a drawer full of fabrics and feed sacks. Not knowing anything about fabric, except what I liked for the feeling or design, I got out a piece of silk velvet. Now grandma wasn't well off, and was saving this piece for something special (which I didn't know). I cut them, put them together, and showed them to her. She didt scold me, but asked that I ask about future acquisitions. That started my sewing adventure which has led to my own company and adventures.

  • I was 11 years old when I learned to sew. ...

    Submitted by marianne on November 04, 2012

    I was 11 years old when I learned to sew. My teacher Ms. Abke, was my 4 H leader for sewing. I can remember it like yesterday. I made slacks, smoak and a hat. What was exciting after wards I got to model my outfit at the local high school along with all the other 4 H girls who made outfits. I was able to enter my outfit in the fair. I won a 1st place ribbon. I also, took baking, flowers , gardening and crafting. The love of all those H days are still with me today. I still love to sew, craft, embroidery, gardening and flowers. I am also teaching my grandchildren how to do anything they want. I can see the excitement in them when they ask lets do ask to do a project.

View our history timeline