I think that gaining basic home skills is as important as gathering food storage for general preparedness. It’s not likely that we’ll return to a Little House on the Prairie lifestyle, but learning the skills of cooking and sewing increases self-esteem, and comes in very handy in many situations. Significant dollars can be saved when people know how to cook and mend for themselves, which may be especially helpful in these tight economic times. Yesterday, my mom taught my two oldest daughters to use a pattern and sew pajama shorts and a skirt.
They loved it! My oldest daughter said, “Now if someone compliments my skirt, I can say, ‘Thanks, I made it!'”
If you don’t have the good fortune of having a relative who is a seamstress, there are great tutorials online. This one is really nice, and even gives tips on choosing a sewing machine: http://sewing.about.com/od/beginner1/bb/sewing101.htm