Sewing Genes

We Carry
by Sara Snuggerud in Sewing Tips

By Sara’s Mom, Carol

While anticipating Kate’s birth, I detected an extra note of excitement in Sara’s voice when she realized she might be a mother in time to celebrate Mother’s Day this year. Unbeknownst to us at that moment her birth was to be sooner than we knew, and in plenty of time for this year’s Mothers Day celebration. It is such a blessing having Kate in all our lives, and she is life changing for us all. She is a first for us, not only for Sara and Steve, but we are all reveling in our status change: first time Grandmothers, Grandfathers, Great Grand mothers and fathers, and Uncle and Aunts. Little Kate couldn’t have asked for better parents, and this the new Grandparents know well.

Now it waits to be seen if Kate inherits the “sewing gene”. Being around many sewers in the store we sometimes hear that sewing skipped a generation. They are referring to the scenario that the mom does not sew but her mother and her daughter do, i.e. it “skipped” a generation.

But here is Kate who comes from a strong line of sewers on both sides of the family. My own mother always sewed. From my earliest memories I recall her at the sewing machine, and to this day, at age 82, she still likes to sew. And I remember watching my Grandmother at her treadle machine which I later inherited. But it was when my mother got a new machine when I was 10 years old that I had an insatiable desire to learn to sew and make my own clothes.

I have always had a machine and it became a point of fascination for young Sara. Without electricity, at the age of three she could thread the machine and turned the hand wheel to “sew”. When she was six I cut large squares and she made her first quilt.


At age 13 she took a quilt class and then made a quilt a year for the fair. We’ve had a laugh that we knew so little about real quilting back then.


For a number of years I earned a living sewing and doing alterations. I tried to not push Sara to sew like me, but when she needed a dress for a dance in 10th grade, she went to the fabric store, and bought fabric and pattern. Then she brought it me and said “Here, Mom”. I was a little busy at the time so she opened the pattern, spread it out and cut the pieces apart. I could almost see the light go on as she laid the pieces out on the fabric.  She could see how the pieces fit together, so she cut them out, threaded the machine, and sewed her first dress.


Sara’s sewing career began at age 15 when she got an after school job at with the local Bernina dealer. That was when the first machine that could stitch letters was available. I, too, began teaching classes in the store. We both witnessed first hand the explosion in technology in the sewing machine world.


We saw the first embroidery machine. We learned to use the computer and embroidery software. Sara worked directly with the Bernina educational editor, and later became a Bernina educator, traveling all over the country, even to Switzerland where Berninas are made.


So it was while Sara was traveling to far away places that she first met Steve at a new dealer training. She also heard about him from another one of the educators as someone she “has to meet”. Steve was interested in helping his mother, Cleo, who some years previous decided to open a quilt store. Two years after Steve and Sara were married Cleo persuaded them to come back to the store….and the rest, now, is history.

So you see, with two grandmothers that sew, and parents that sew and operate the best quilting store around, we might expect little Kate to have the “sewing gene”. Certainly she will be immersed in all the rhetoric and lingo from early on…will her first word be “sew”? Will Sara let her thread the machine and turn the hand wheel at age three? Will she sit beside her mom as she sews and learn by watching? With so much sewing influence from all sides, Nana here says, buy her a pony, but I already hear that Steve says she wants a boat!

Little Kate, whatever the future holds, you are SEW Blessed!

Love, Nana