Above: Ronald "Dutch" Reagan and his mother, Nelle.
In 1920, Ronald Reagan – called “Dutch” by his family – was in the fifth grade. His family had just settled into a home in Dixon, Illinois. The Reagan family had moved frequently, and they had little furniture. The young Reagan boy's mother, Nelle, had long desired two things for her home. Once settled in Dixon, she finally got her dream items: a cabinet for her dishes, and a sewing machine.
More than sixty years later on September 24, 1982, President Ronald Reagan made a Proclamation.
“Tens of millions of Americans sew at home,” the President stated. “Their efforts demonstrate the industry, the skill and the self-reliance which are so characteristic of this Nation.”
“Now, Therefore, I, Ronald Reagan, President of the United States,” the Proclamation continued, “do hereby proclaim September, 1982, as National Sewing Month. I call upon the people of the United States to observe this month with appropriate ceremonies and activities.”
President Reagan again proclaimed September as National Sewing Month in 1983, 1984, 1985, and 1988.
In 2005, the Home Sewing Association (HSA) requested that the George W. Bush administration revive the Proclamation, stating that the re-declaration of National Sewing Month would “aid in promoting and energizing commerce, re-inspiring consumers and introducing sewing to new demographics.”
President Bush's Director of Presidential Correspondence rejected the request, noting her regret.
The HSA moved forward without a presidential endorsement, successfully promoting September as National Sewing Month and drawing support from numerous businesses, institutions, American Sewing Guild chapters, and educators. The torch was passed to the American Sewing Guild, in partnership with the Sewing & Craft Alliance, when HSA was disbanded in 2007.
“September is a time to celebrate our passion with National Sewing Month,” says the Sewing & Craft Alliance, “but we know the creative, therapeutic and calming effects of sewing are joys that we can celebrate throughout the entire year.”
The 2017 theme for National Sewing Month is “Sew for the beauty of it.”
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