Outstanding Medical Career Assisted by Childhood Sewing Skills

by Ramona on January 9, 2012

ASG members and other readers, if you are currently teaching sewing skills to a child, don’t stop — ever!!

This article was originally written for a newsletter in the winter of 2004/2005 when a very limited number of people read it. It is now time to reprint this post for everyone to enjoy – edited just a smidgen!- Samina

If there was an award for “Outstanding Medical Careers Assisted by Sewing Skills Learned in Childhood”, I know just the person who should receive one. In the “Turning Point” column in one of the August 2004 issues of Newsweek, Dr Michael DeBakey cites his sewing knowledge as partly responsible for his achievements as a pioneering surgeon in the field of cardiology.

(Dr. Debakey is now deceased, and was 95 when the Newsweek column appeared.) He was taught sewing at age 5 by his mother Raheeja. The skill involved dexterity with hands. Raheeja also instilled in him compassion for people in distress, which played a large part in his choice of profession.

Here is part of what Dr DeBakey writes: “My mother’s teachings inpired me …. in the early fifties, when I designed a graft for replacing a diseased aorta and arteries. I chose the then new synthetic cloth Dacron by touch, just as I had done as a boy. I drew the design on paper next, cut the fabric and finally put the prototype together at home on my wife’s Singer sewing machine”.

So there you have it… the rest is history. This is a good reason to teach our young to sew — really. Your child or grandchild may grow up to be a pioneering super-achiever just like Dr DeBakey!

Many years ago a study was conducted by the then Home Sewing Association, which concluded that the activity of sewing improved motor and creative skills in children. The late Dr DeBakey was a prime example!

Can you think of other super-achievers with a sewing connection, not including fashion designers and the like? Submit a comment!  Make yourself heard!  ( Spammers not invited. There is unbelievable spam material submitted.  We’re onto them so no worries).


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{ 1 comment }

Sue January 19, 2012 at 5:03 pm

There are many Hollywood stars who care about their image but there are a few who sew! Lauren Hutton is one I can thingk of. Also Lynn Fontaine, a gorgeous British actress from the early days of movies. She and her also famous husband Alfred Lunt lived in Genesee Depot, Wisconsin and their home is now open to tourists. It’s called Ten Chimneys, and features her personal sewing space. She made a lot of her own personal wardrobe, although she was a big star in the ‘teens, 20s and used to be spotted shopping in better fabric stores. She always dress severely and wear sun glasses to avoid being recognized and interrupted. It’s said that her favorite shopping outfit was army camoflage!

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