Must Sew ~ Jacquolyn McMurray

Next week I’m going to teach a class of middle school students how to sew. I only hope I will be as good a teacher as my first sewing instructor.

My grandma taught me how to hem tea towels when I was only about eight. We sat side by side on her sofa and she showed me how to make small even stitches. And here’s the clincher—she was totally blind. Her fingers seemed to have superpowers. 

Photo by alexandra munoz on Unsplash

Even at eight years old, I could sew for more than an hour while talking with Grandma.  I still love the methodical push and pull of needle and thread through fabric.

At twelve, my parents gave me an electric sewing machine for Christmas and I’ve never been without one since. Over the years my projects have included making a tent on a treadle machine, sewing clothes for myself, including full length gowns, and designing and sewing Christmas tree skirts for our two grown children.

My biggest project to date was designing and sewing our daughter’s wedding gown without benefit of a pattern. 

Most of my free time these days is spent writing. Despite my passion for telling stories, each year I complete at least three sewing projects. Since our grandsons were born, many projects have centered around them, like the teddy bear I made our two-year-old for Christmas. 

This tote bag is one of many I’ve sewn over the years that incorporates our local coffee mill burlap bag. I’ve made about a dozen unique totes. Someday I’ll keep one for myself!

I’m not sure what my sewing projects will entail this year, but one thing I know for sure—I’ll enjoy creating them.


  1. It's interesting learning the different facets of Jacquolyn! Would have been sweet times with your grandmother. I hope you choose fun sewing projects that bring you joy when you look at them.

    1. I do have such warm memories of my grandma. Since I tend to give away most of my sewing projects, I've learned to photograph them.

  2. I know who to come to with my next sewing project! My sister inherited the sewing gene in our family. She also made a wedding gown from scratch (no pattern). Such talent!

    1. One of my writer friends told me that even though I need a lot of writing time, sewing fills a very different need--the need for color.

  3. You do excellent work, Jacquolyn. I still want one of your beautiful tote bags. ;)



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