Sewing refills my creative reservoir. I have sewn dresses, pants, costumes, coats, pajamas, hats, underwear, curtains, quilts, dolls, toys and more for myself, my children and other family members. Out of necessity, my mother probably sewed as much. In the 1960’s economy, fabric (or material, as my mother always called it) was much cheaper when compared to ready-made clothing, than it is today. Today it is no longer always less expensive to “make your own."
However, I don’t remember my mother ever saying that she enjoyed all the clothing sewing she did. After her children were mostly grown, she sewed many quilts, both by hand and machine. She did love quilting and teaching quilting. And although she was critical of her results, by examining her quilts, I know that she was very skilled. I have a little red dress that shows she was a skilled clothing seamstress as well.
By the time my mother’s third daughter—me—came along, the little girl dresses were mostly worn out. Consequently Mom made a dress that was just for me. I don’t remember wearing it. It is probably about a 9-month size, but since I was the last daughter, it didn’t get worn out and it got saved. I know what it looks like and the fabulous workmanship in it. It is a simple cotton floral print, with white bias trim and a little bit of lace. The stitches along the bias trim are small, fine and perfect—it almost looks store-bought. My mother gave me the dress, along with a little pair of white leather shoes, when my daughter, Carol, was born, saying, “It must not have fit you very well because it didn’t get worn out.”