Songs for Sewing

So, I think I’ve come across a weak spot in the world wide web. I’m still working on my story and the main character sings, a lot. In the beginning of the story, he’s moping around singing “Ohio” by CSN&Y and then some “This Land is Your Land” and the whole family sings “The Rock Island Line” and one baby gets the Dead’s “Casey Jones” as a lullaby and another baby gets that Everlast song “What It’s Like” sung to her and then there’s a whole part in which the main character is singing a stream of American music at his granddaughter. Anyway, we’re just now at the point where the villain gives the narrator Betsy Ross’s thimble (did I mention how much I love this world?!), which she heretofore has been unable to make work.

And the main character sings a sewing song. So, I’m all, “refresh my memory, internet! What are some good songs to sing while sewing?” And all I could really find was “O Can Ye Sew Cushions?” that sounded like a song someone might actually sing while sewing, which is also about sewing.

This is weird to me. I feel pretty confident in saying that any task, like sewing or weaving or spinning or doing the dishes or whatever, would be greatly improved by singing. So, where are those work songs?

I modified “O Can Ye Sew Cushions?” for my purposes, but come on! Betsy Ross’s mom did not sing her a Scottish song. So, that sucks. I don’t know if the songs just don’t exist or if my Google skills have failed me in finding them.

I did learn that there’s some doubt that “Sarasponda” is an actual spinning song, though, so that’s cool/depressing.

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7 thoughts on “Songs for Sewing

  1. If the songs Laura Ingalls’s father sang (according to the Little House books can be taken as indicative, USians a century after Betsy Ross were certainly singing Scottish and English songs, along with music we regard as more typically ‘American.’ And there’s no reason to think that that would have been a recent development. So I wouldn’t worry that one too hard. Did you search for “women’s work songs”?

  2. I’ll also admit that I am slightly creeped out by Bridgett seeing inside my house. Whenever I sew–an activity limited to minor button and seam repairs–I personally sing “needle and the damage done”.

  3. You guys! I’m going to be so bummed if I can’t find a groove here at work that lets me participate in interesting threads (hee!) like this when they happen. But this is awesome! I think I’m going to still leave it as it is, since the main character notes that he doesn’t know what song worked for Ross.

    But, I tell you, it’s tricky to figure out where, in fiction, how much of a song you need to let people know which song they’re talking about without crossing over into so much that it becomes a rights issue.

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