Today I went back in time and started to think about my old Home Economics classes.
I don't know about your classes, or if you even took them (girls got Home Ec. and boys got Shop), but mine started in Grade 7. The course was divided in two Food/Cooking and Sewing.
In the food portion we learned how to make a menu, set a table properly (even had to draw place settings for the meal), make shopping list, and serve the meal. It was actually lots of fun. Well except for having to list everything out, find the recipes we were going to use (much easier in the lower grades as the teacher did all of that), draw out the place setting and make sure everything prepared was enough to feed the whole class. Then of course we were graded on the papers we handed in and our performance as head cook and bottle washer.
Sewing class gave me a taste of being able to make something I could actually wear. Our first project was an apron with embroidery. The teacher had all the pattern made for us. We just had to cut it out, do the embroidery, and then sew it up according to the directions she gave us. Our second project in Grade 8 was a wrap skirt with a button. Once again everything was supplied even the fabric (we all made our skirts out of some kind of woven green stuff). Learned how to make a buttonhole, how to hem properly (tiny little stitches) and put interfacing in (back then it was sew in, none of the fusible was available).
I hit Grade 9 and cooking continued in much the same manner, though the meals and treats we made became a bit more complex. It was pretty much the same for the rest of the time I took the class. Some things went over very well, others not so accepted. We learned how to make a menu for a week and poured over fliers to get the best possible deals. Budgeting was a big part of the course as we went along.
Sewing in high school got a bit more complicated. We had to buy our own fabric and got a list of patterns that we were to pick from. Each year a new challenge was added. We had a teacher who would measure the seams to make sure they were exactly 5/8 inches and that the darts on our patterns fit exactly (that is if the pattern had a dart at the bust) and those were measured to make sure they were exactly the same length. Still it was amazing to see how much we all learned and how our skills with a sewing machine grew.
I never realized until a few days ago that the skills I learned there prepared me for what I would face as an adult.
The cooking classes gave me a background in cooking in a thrifty manner. I still pour over the fliers and make a menu. Only this time instead of for a week mine is made for a month. Sure things sometimes change, but it is usually just exchanging days. By pouring over the fliers I have managed to store enough food ahead that I can do the month and any sale items I buy can be used the next month (especially meat, poultry and fish). I still set a table the way I learned in school. Budgeting is a big part of my thrifty home.
I didn't sew for a very long time after I left high school, but when I became pregnant with my first child I borrowed my mother's sewing machine and made many a maternity top and even one dress. Then when our daughter was born, Harvey bought me a sewing machine as a Christmas gift (could no longer borrow Mom's as we had moved) and I started sewing her clothing. Loved sewing all those little dresses and tops. Our youngest son also got many a home sewn outfit of t-shirt and pants.
While sewing clothing has taken most of my time I branched into quilts (made from scraps of fabric and fabric cut from old clothing like jeans and woolen skirts), and décor items. I am sure my old home ec. teacher would shudder to see that my seams are not always a true 5/8", but would be happy to see that my darts are always the same length.
Now I can't leave what thrifty things I learned from my Mom. She always used up every bit of food, letting nothing go to waste. Many of the meals I make I learned from her.
She taught me to knit, and darn socks. How to turn a collar, and how to fix a zipper.
These are all lessons that have kept me occupied and thrifty over the years. They helped me through financially hard times and during the good time helped us to save for retirement.
Everybody have a wonderful evening.