It's 'sew' hard to find a needle
Highlands TodayDoes anybody sew these days? Do schools even teach it? Are we turning out a generation of young people who think clothes only come from a store ready-made?
Published: June 7, 2009
Published: June 7, 2009
I don't sew a lot; I don't have the time. But I do occasionally like to make something from scratch when I can't find what I want in the stores. I enjoy making decorator things for my home, like drapes and pillow covers. In addition, I hem almost every pair of pants I buy because they're all too long these days.
The last time I sat down to do a little hand sewing I realized I only had two good needles and they were both very small ones with extremely tiny holes. I've reached that stage of life where it's harder and harder to get the thread into those tiny needles, so I decided to make a quick trip to Wal-Mart and buy some bigger ones.
Silly me. Wal-Mart doesn't sell needles anymore. In fact they have virtually eliminated their whole sewing department. They don't sell fabric at all. They have a few buttons and a very small selection of thread, but no needles. They have a few quilting supplies like patterns and scissors, but no needles. Maybe someone needs to remind them that sewing and quilting are both done with needles.
And it isn't just Wal-Mart. I went to four different stores and couldn't find a sewing needle anywhere. I might have had better luck trying to find a needle in a haystack. Finally, in desperation, I drove clear down to Crafty Quilters on U.S. 98, and they were closed!
Doesn't everyone have to do a little mending now and then just to keep a presentable wardrobe? Who doesn't occasionally lose a button, pull out a hem, or catch a sleeve on something and wind up with a seam split. If you can't find a needle in all of Highlands County, how can you even sew on a button?
I was planning to make some drapes for my bedroom, but, apparently, the nearest fabric shop is in Lakeland. That's ridiculous! There must be more of a market for sewing than that!
Isn't 4H teaching kids to sew anymore? If so, where do the students buy supplies? When I was a kid, every girl got into 4H sewing club at 10 years old. And in seventh grade even boys had to have one semester of Home Ec, which included basic sewing.
I realize these days most clothes are made of polyester or spandex or a blend of cotton and synthetics - fabrics that can be difficult to sew on. But I'm not talking about machine sewing or creating a garment from scratch. I'm talking about just common mending.
I finally found a sewing kit at Dollar General that contained needles, but it had eight spools of thread, a pin cushion, scissors and several other things I don't need, all wrapped in one package at a price I just couldn't see paying when all I needed was a couple of needles.
Needles used to be available in dime stores like Woolworth and Kresge's. Remember them? They also sold nickel candy bars, 10-cent sodas and 25-cent comic books. We all know we'll never see those things again, but, somehow, I find it hard to believe that sewing needles fit into the vanishing breed category.
I guess what I'm saying is that Highlands County needs a good fabric store. I really think someone who loves sewing could make a killing, or at least a profitable venture, by opening a good fabric store with all the patterns, notions and classes to go with it. Especially in these tight economic times, and if it were located in a busy shopping area, I think you could clean up!
How about it, Highlands County? Is there a brave entrepreneur out there?