For as long as I can remember I have loved sewing. I was about 7 or 8 years old when they gave me a toy sewing machine. I remember even the store where they bought it, La Alhambra. It was my favorite toy along with barbies and paper dolls. My other friends had store bought dresses for their barbies; I made them with what I found. Since I was little, my mom taught me to love sewing even when she didn’t sew with a machine. With her I learned to give my first hand stitches. She always regretted not having learned to sew with a machine and did not want it to happen to her daughter. Another thing that influenced my taste for sewing was that my childhood was spent in the Matojillo sector of the Abra Honda neighborhood of Camuy, where most women sewed. The little blue machine was my favorite toy and my favorite people were the seamstress.
I made my first stitches on a domestic sewing machine at about age 13 in a black Singer from one of my older cousins. She worked in a sewing factory and taught me a lot about sewing. My eighth-grade home economics project was done on that machine. I got a B and I got very angry but then I realized that many of my classmates who got an A, their project had been done by someone else. I was proud of my line skirt that had elastic and zipper. From then on I made my school uniforms.
Later when I was in 9th grade my dad, seeing that I liked it so much, bought me a used machine. It was also blue and cost him $35. With it I continued my adventure of sewing. I don’t remember the brand, but I do remember how happy that gift made me. I was happy making my clothes and buying fabrics in the local fabric stores. My savings always ended up in buying fabrics and sewing notions. I even made my friends’ clothes and I also made my graduation clothes.
A few years after that machine, my dad gave me a Kenmore that had 6 types of stitch and that he bought at Sears in Arecibo. I was already in high school. He took me to choose it and told me how much I could spend. When I entered college, every week I wore new clothes. With that machine I sewed until I was 21 years old. One day, our home was broken into and they stole several things, including my Kenmore. I was already studying in Río Piedras and when I went home for the weekend, I found the unpleasant surprise. My mom hadn’t told me anything and told me when I arrived. You don’t know how much I cried. Sewing was my refuge to lower the stress of studies. I saved money from what I was given to study and it didn’t take long for me to buy another one. After that machine came several more, there has never been a point in my life where I haven’t had a sewing machine. Sewing has helped me in many aspects of my life. In my childhood and adolescence, I developed patience and persistence, fine motor skills, learned a skill, made friends, helped me with English, and many more things.
Sewing is my refugee
In adulthood, sewing has accompanied me in the happiest moments of my life and has been my refuge in the most painful moments of my life. I made my clothes for almost every party and activity I went to. She accompanied me during my wedding because I sewed my bridal dress. It allowed me to help friends and family who needed to repair clothes. But when it has helped me the most is in moments of loss. My parents both passed away in 2016. My dad died at age 95 of a heart attack, but it was unexpected. At that time, I wasn’t sewing as much but I remember I started sewing more. Later that year, my mother died at the age of 89. Although her passing did not take me so surprisingly because she was hospitalized for a week, it was very hard. My refuge from the loss of my parents, outside of God, my husband, family and friends and work, was sewing. Sewing reminded me of happy moments with my parents. My mom always talked about her daughter sewing, making her proud. My dad was the one who gave me my first sewing machines, which allowed me to learn and enjoy sewing.
After my parents passed away, life took a 360-degree turn on me. On April 28, 2019, my husband at 54 years old suddenly passed away from sleep apnea. That year we celebrated 25 years of marriage. That’s when I took refuge in sewing the most. I had been left alone in a big house and without my soulmate. I can’t say that I had no support from anyone, my family, friends and work group supported me in that painful moment, but in loneliness, outside of God and my dogs, sewing was what kept me standing.
Sewing has always kept me learning. However, what I had learned about sewing after my home economics class I had learned with books and tutorials and from my own experience, “trial and error”. Many times I thought about taking sewing courses with a professional and my husband always told me, “Isabel, do it” but never did. That was true until 2020. In 2020, less than a year after my husband’s passing, the total lockdown came due to the COVID pandemic. In other words, we had to be home 24 hours a day. Sewing kept me out of madness. At that time, I started subscribing to more YouTube sewing channels and Facebook pages. And guess what, I found Tommie Hernandez’s page with her tutorials, the best, a Boricua and with an Online Sewing Academy. That’s how I enrolled in several courses at the Academy. With the courses, even if you have been sewing for many years, you learn new techniques and the right way of doing things. When the club opened, I was among the first to enroll. Sirena Elite is something else, unique in PR. In it you not only learn sewing, but other crafts and entrepreneurship. Not only does the club help you with sewing, but you meet other people who have the same passion for sewing as you. The sewing community is wonderful, everyone supports and encourages you. Check out what some members have to say about their love of sewing:
Sewing relaxes, distracts me, and focuses me. That’s why sewing will always be in my life. In this month of love, give yourself love and give yourself a subscription to Sirena Elite, you will not regret it.