This afternoon I went to do some much needed grocery shopping. While in the one-stop-shop Wal-mart, I spied a table laden with bolts of fabric. Each bolt had five yards of fabric, and each bolt was priced at five dollars. Now, the fabric was gaudy and very poor quality, to be sure, but I still stopped and looked. I swear, had there been a single acceptable pattern, or a decent piece of fabric, I would have bought it, JUST to encourage them to keep offering it. But there was nothing I could find on that table for which I could imagine a use.
Disappointed, I moved on, no bolt of fabric in my basket, thinking about those very early days when I would use ANY fabric, just to afford myself the opportunity to sew. In those days, I rummaged through the attic, nabbing ancient and hideous black and white floral design curtains with which I made an equally hideous blouse. I walked the mile and a half to the fabric store where I could purchase three yards of "something" for a dollar. And those purchases of "something" became shirts, skirts, blouses and such.
Now, admittedly, the early works were only acceptable to me because they were "done." They were not pretty. They were not well made, but I had finished them, by George, and I was determined to wear my creations. Thankfully, that was back in the day when there were a fair number of kids whose mothers still made their clothes... so mine did not stand out too badly (at least that is how I saw it.)
Always more of a "giver," I was anxious to share my work with my family. I made shirts for my four younger brothers -- shirts which, I am fairly certain, they wore to please me, not because they liked them. My poor mother, a home economics major in college, had to bite her tongue numerously as I, frustrated with some zipper or dart or something, asked her for help, and then declared she didn't know what she was doing.... Mom and I never did see exactly eye to eye. She'd want me to baste my seams -- I'd want to just pin and stitch... I wanted to be DONE -- she wanted me to have a decent product.
As much as I really struggled in those early sewing days, I persevered, for I had a dream of getting a sewing machine my very own one day, nevermore to have to share the old knee-peddle Singer with Mom, or pay my sister for buttonholes on her new Kenmore. And so I sewed and sewed and sewed.... One day, one of my brother's friends was over and asked me if I'd make him a shirt. That was the day I was confident my work had reached an acceptable level.
I continued to whip up shirts and skirts, dresses and blouses, shorts and pants for several more years before, on Christmas of my senior year in high school, I found in the Christmas tree, an IOU from SANTA... I'd get my sewing machine when they went on sale after Christmas. By this time, I was really sewing because I loved it, and I loved the creations I made. In fact, when I started dating my first serious boyfriend, during my senior year, I made him several shirts. He wore them, and I continued to add to his homemade wardrobe over the several years of our relationship. When we eventually parted ways, the shirts went with him, but I kept sewing. In fact, when I met the man who was to become my first husband, my brothers asked him, upon meeting him for the first time, whether I had made him any shirts yet. I imagine he must have thought that a rather odd question, but to my brothers, if I really loved a guy, I would be making him clothes!
Over the years I continued to make a good portion of my own wardrobe, add my husband's wardrobe, and to make a LOT of the clothes my children wore, until they reached middle school. By that time they were less impressed with the "Mom made this for me!" and were more interested in getting their clothes like the other kids did. I was finding also that to make the clothes was becoming more expensive than purchasing them from the store... not designer brands, of course...just the basics.
|Jenn in Mom's Creations|
|Stephen, sporting a Mom-made shirt|
So, my sewing machine was used less and less... sure, I made Christmas stockings, mended holes in pants, and made the occasional dress for a "special occasion," but I was not living in the fabric stores as I had done for years. I was happy Wal-mart had a fabric section with reasonably decent selections, so that when I DID have the desire to get creative, I could do so on the spur of the moment. But those moments became further and further apart, and I suppose Wal-mart just couldn't justify continuing to offer all of that fabric, if everyone was like me... less and less.
|Everyone Except MomMom,|
wearing a homemade shirt!
Still, today, when I happened on that table piled high with bolts of cheap, gaudy fabric, I could not simply pass by without HUNTING for one bolt that I could take home... but I suppose it was not meant to be. Oh well, I still have a cedar chest full of fabric I have yet to use. And the fact that the sewing machine is at the Pond house and her electric cord and peddle are here at the Farmhouse.... well, you get my point... I'm not exactly prepared to sew a new creation then, am I?
|Yep, My Maternity Clothes and|
Mom's Wedding Dress -- Homemade