I saw a pile of old fabric while visiting my parents’ house . My sister is learning to sew, so my grandma donated materials to the cause. It made me so happy to dig through them and recall what they were originally used for. There were 80s watercolor blues and prints for Halloween and Thanksgiving. I had a dress made out of that red floral as little girl. It was handmade and also a hand-me-down: my aforementioned sister wore it on her first day of kindergarten. That frock is long gone, but how cool would it be to make a little something for my niece out of the same fabric?
I’ve tried sewing a few times, my best attempt being a semester of “Apparel” in high school. That effort yielded a Frankenstein kimono robe with a kitsch textile featuring roses and eagles. My, how my taste hasn’t refined. I’ve since stuck to clothing repairs and simple alterations.
I appreciated my mom’s seamstress skills long before I had her hemming and darting all the junk I brought home from Goodwill as a teenager. I kept my first pair of eyeglasses in a case she made with multicolored otter fabric. I was the coolest (only?) girl in the school band percussion pit with all my drum sticks and mallots tucked into a lunar-print , Velcro equipped bag.
Way before that, my grandma was making quilts upon quilts and perhaps ten of her grandchilden’s favorite toy: a cloth frog filled with rice, with buttons for eyes, and more love than went into any Ty Beanie Baby.
I like the idea of people making some clothes at home. My mom made her own wedding dress (and has claimed that she hated it) out of financial necessity. I think circumstances are different today. You can find some brand new clothes for cheaper than the cost of materials, not to mention the time investment. Sewing is now exclusively about making something special for yourself or someone you love. It’s a way to say we’re cut from the same cloth.