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Out & About: Learn Simple Sewing Skills on Aug. Saturdays at Fort at No. 4

  • This pink and blue housewife is a modern take on an 18th-century housewife. The bright colors are true to the 18th century. (Judy Saunders Photograph)

  • This pink and blue housewife is a modern take on an 18th-century housewife. The bright colors are true to the 18th century. (Judy Saunders Photograph)

  • An early 19th-century housewife in shades of brown that is part of the Fort at No. 4’s collections. (Courtesy of Fort at No. 4)



Valley News Calendar Editor
Wednesday, August 08, 2018

Charlestown — If you were living at the Fort at No. 4 in the 1700s, chances are you knew how to sew as a matter of necessity.

If you’re visiting the fort in the present day, you’ll have an opportunity to learn those skills during Sew-along Saturdays, a program held from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. every Saturday in August at the historic site in Charlestown.

While the workshops are free, participants need to bring their own supplies or purchase kits from the fort gift shop.

“We were just brainstorming ideas on how to get people engaged more,” said Judy Saunders, an employee at the fort who teaches the workshops. “In the 18th century, everybody had to be able to sew because you needed to be able to make your clothes, to make your bags for going to the market.”

Participants learned how to make a portable sewing kit — also known as a housewife — at the first program last Saturday. This weekend’s project is an apron, Aug. 18 is a market bag and Saunders will teach people how to sew on buttons, restitch seams and patch holes on Aug. 25.

“We wanted to choose things that are simple enough for beginners,” Saunders said.

In the 1700s, both men and women were expected to have basic sewing skills.

“Men out in the field needed to fix their clothes. Soldiers needed to repair their uniforms,” Saunders said. “I think that sewing today has become a hobby instead of an everyday skill.”

The workshop is recommended for children ages 7 and up. No prior skills are needed to attend.

“I would be happy to teach them everything,” Saunders said.

Editor’s note: For more information and a supply list, visit www.fortat4.org/events/sew-along.php or call 603-826-5700 or email info@fortat4.org. The fort is located at 267 Springfield Road. Liz Sauchelli can be reached at esauchelli@vnews.com or 603-727-3221.