The ability to sew (and knit) was commonplace when I was growing up. A completely unremarkable skill. But I'm constantly surprised at the number of people these days, who are happy to admit that they've never, ever used a needle.
Rarely a day goes by when I don't sew. Using a needle and thread feels as normal to me as using paper and pen.
Although that's probably not a good analogy, as pen users are possibly as rare as hand-sewers these days.
Back in the day, when I was at primary school, we did sewing every week. I still remember my very first school sewing project..... a simple needlework sampler, which I still have.
One of my most prized possessions as a child was a little toy sewing machine which really worked so I made clothes for my dolls and soft furnishings for my doll's house.
As a teenager I started making my own clothes, using my grandmother's old hand cranked Singer sewing machine and when my children were little I knitted and sewed for them too.
I regularly use my sewing machine, for making full-size curtains, cushions and other soft furnishings but workwise, since I've moved down a scale from 1/12th to 1/24th, for tiny doll's dressmaking I have no option but to hand sew.
Normal sized sewing needles would make overly large holes in my delicate silks, looking unsightly and leading to unstable seams, so I use very small, very fine needles (size 12 betweens) which are a challenge to thread, and even more of a challenge to find if they're dropped on the floor. I even use an especially fine thread.
My deluxe Jumeau-style toy dolls measure a smidgen under 1 3/4" tall, so their bustled jackets are tiny. They have six separate pattern pieces which must be painstakingly hand sewn.... the seam allowance is 1/16" and the stitches themselves must be practically microscopic.
Perhaps surprisingly, I find this exacting micro-sewing relaxing, although most 'normal' people express horror at even attempting such small costumes.
Nevertheless, it's some comfort to know that years ago I would have been in good company, as evidenced by these wonderful vintage images of girls and young women across the decades learning to sew.