Thursday, January 17, 2008

Stitched with Love

One of the dresses I recall loving the most as a young girl was a pink and white gingham, sleeveless "sheath-style" dress my mother had made me. She had made my sister one just like it. What made it particularly special were the little black cross-stitched cats Mom had embroidered just above the hemline. Jeannie and I were garbed alike, even though we were anything BUT similar in appearance.

I can't say I had the same love of the waitress uniforms my mother made for us. Though my sister seemed rather pleased with her uniform, I can still FEEL the expression captured in the photo my mother snapped as we prepared for our maiden voyage as uniformed waitresses at my parents' bridge party. Still, the dresses DID take time and care to make and Mom always made certain the clothes were perfectly stitched.

When I had children, I carried on my mother's tradition, sewing most of the clothes my children wore, especially in their younger years. I can still hear the delight in my little girl's voice as she bounced into the bedroom to awaken me, holding the latest dress I had made and laid out on the coffee table for her, "Mommy, Mommy, you won't BELIEVE what you made me!!!"

By the time my children reached middle school, I was rarely making them clothing, opting for the more convenient, if perhaps more expensive, store-bought models. My son was never a brand name nut, but my daughter made up for both of them. Still, it did my heart good when, as her senior project, she, a young lady who had never had the first home economics course, decided she wanted to learn to sew, and to make her own prom dress. And that she did. She designed it, she made the pattern, she, bought the fabric and she made it...and she also made her own shoes....yes, indeed!

Before the prom, but after she had completed her creations, her shoes were entered into an art competition for the Regional BETA club....and took first place in whatever category they were entered. So it was that on her senior prom, she wore a dress and shoes of her own design and creation, and she carried on a family tradition of dress making....though, her design was significantly different from the pink and white with black embroiders cats dress of my fondest childhood memories.

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