Learning to sew was a given in our house. Mom made just about all our clothes, at least until we were teenagers and jeans took over our closets. She made play clothes, school clothes, and Sunday clothes for all three of us girls, besides making her own clothes and a vast wardrobe for our Barbie Dolls. How she did it is beyond me, especially after she went back to a full-time job when I was five. Even the shopping boggles my mind, what with all the choosing of patterns, fabrics, buttons, and such for the four of us. But without fail, whether it was Easter Sunday or the first day of school, we were decked out in new finery, all made by Mom.
|Connie, Janie, Mom, and me in our Easter dresses, 1963, when I was three.|
By the time I was in high school, I was making most of my own clothes, mostly dresses, skirts, and tops.
|I made this dress for my senior prom in 1978.|
(FYI, that nice fellow is not my husband.)
In addition, at about the same time, I discovered clothing manufacturers were finally making sleeves, pant legs, and hemlines long enough for my tall frame. And there were sales! Add to all that the fact that the year 2000 ushered us into the elder care season of our lives with a vengeance, and sewing simply faded into the background, becoming something I used to enjoy.
I haven't made any clothes for over ten years now. I've done some mending, and I made a blaze orange jacket for my dog to protect her during hunting season, but I've not cut out and sewed a new creation for many a year. Until the past few days, that is, when I finally got around to making a skirt for the laundry room sink at the Guest House.
It's the original sink that was installed when indoor plumbing and a bathroom came in the late 1950s. I am delighted to be able to re-use it, but it is a little stark. I bought fabric to make a skirt months ago, and finally got around to it late last week. After careful measuring (more than once) I cut out the pieces for the skirt and a band around the top.
Then there was a lot of stitching
and pinning and pressing
and still more stitching,
some of it by hand.
I was pleased with how it all came back to me: the fabric and thread, pins and needles working together under my hands, with the hum of the sewing machine and the rain on the roof creating a pleasant soundtrack for my work. When I snipped the thread from my final stitch, it was with a very contented sigh.
I don't know what it is about us humans that makes so many of us want to create with our hands. Whether our medium is fabric, clay, wood, or paper, there's a desire deep within to make something: something useful or beautiful, something sturdy or delicate, something to keep or give away. After being away from my sewing for too many years, it has been sweet indeed to once again make something by setting my hands to the rhythm of scissors, needle, and thread.