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Monday, December 24, 2012

Sew Sentimental

                              The Lace may be tattered, but
                                 One thing that time cannot spoil,
                                 The love made into those garments
                                  Sewn by midnight oil.

Almost from the beginning of my love affair with sewing I felt a connection to other women that have taken up a needle and thread in years past. My collection of antique sewing tools has always been a nod to the history of sewing. A trip to Europe gave me an opportunity to view the extensive collection of antique textiles at the iconic Victoria and Albert Museum in London, and at home I have a few pieces that mean a lot to me. 

 This is a little wool flannel shirt that was made by my great grandmother (whom I never met) prior to the birth of my grandfather Dallas in 1896.
  The blue and pink cross stitches that adorn the piece were insurance that it would suit either a boy, or a girl.
 I can feel the love that went into the handwork on this tiny garment.

My mother's mother Clara spent part of every day at her sewing machine. She made beautiful cotton flannel nightgowns and pajamas for all of her grandchildren. Each nightie had tiny mother of pearl buttons and perfect little hand worked buttonholes. Despite my grandfather's many offers to purchase  an electric sewing machine she continued to use her treadle sewing machine. I can remember the soft, rhythmic sounds that the treadle made as she worked it with her feet.

 My grandmother also made beautiful quilts using her plentiful scraps. She and the neighborhood women would get together in my grandmother's dining room and sit around the quilt frame visiting while their fingers made perfect little stitches almost without any thought. There were numerous coffee breaks where trays of delicious little buttery cookies would appear, and more than a little competition to see who could make the most even quilting stitches and the flakiest baked goods.

This is a photo of the quilt that I have made by my grandmother. A few of the fabrics remind me of the dresses she made for herself. One time my twin sister and I were playing in her closet, and we counted 36 house dresses! Clara loved to sew, and I loved being in her sewing room while she was sewing.

 My mother has never used a sewing machine but she did spend many happy evenings doing needlework in the 70's. She embroidered this sampler in 1971.
 My mother-in-law did gorgeous needlepoint! She tried to teach me a few times, but it just wasn't a skill that called to me. This is a photo of a pillow that she stitched in 1991 for the waiting room in my dressmaking shop. It is so whimsical! She is no longer living, but this pillow brings wonderful memories of her.

 Occasionally I think that perhaps someday my granddaughter may pull out the little batiste christening gown that I made when she is born, or that my daughters will happen upon their wedding gowns that I sewed for them. It will be O.K. if these garments sewn with love are a  way that they remember me....

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