Friday, February 12, 2010

Sewing the Seeds of Love

My mom sews. When we were little, she made clothes for us all the time. When I was engaged to be married, I asked if she would make my wedding dress and at first she said “No.” She didn’t want to make a mistake, or miss a detail. But not long after, she relented, possibly because, since she was a thousand miles away, she wouldn’t be able to help out with any of the other planning. It meant a lot to me. Especially when I decided I wanted the bodice from one pattern and the skirt from another. She made it work and I still think it is the prettiest wedding dress I’ve ever seen. When mom sewed for me, I always heard: “I love you.”

Home on break, my first year of college, I made my first clothes for myself: three skirts, one of which I still have. My mom helped me figure out the patterns, let me use her equipment and offered me her expertise. Since then I have made things here and there, on and off. In retrospect, I realize I’ve done a fair amount of sewing, but I don’t consider myself an expert. Still, now that I have my own children, I’m terribly grateful for the basic ability. I’m not big on patterns unless I’m looking for the highest quality: normally, I use existing clothing for templates and my imagination for the rest. It works just fine for Halloween costumes, outfits for class performances, curtains for bedrooms and the occasional blanket. I never find exactly what I’m looking for in the pattern books anyway. So I improvise and accept the imperfections of what comes out.

I love the way my daughter takes my sewing for granted. This weekend, we’re going to a Girl Scout event and on Sunday evening, one troop is throwing a movie/dance/pizza party for the Junior Scouts and older. The theme is “The Red Carpet” and the girls are encouraged to wear fancy dresses. As soon as we heard about the plan, Eiledon turned to me and said, “You can make me a red carpet dress, right? I want a strapless one.” This was less than a week ago. “I think we can shop for one or put something together from your closet,” I responded, thinking: Don’t I have enough going on?

But this morning, I had a Jo-Ann coupon and a few hours to kill. It occurred to me that this kind of creativity was just what I needed to get out of my own self-pity. And everything was on SALE! I found sky-blue (her favorite color) satin and pale blue sheer fabric with a turquoise floral print. I glanced through kids’ patterns but found nothing ‘strapless’ for a 10-year-old, of course, and looked forward to the opportunity to make it up. In my mind I thought: empire waist, floor length, sheer overlay that opens at the high waist to show the satin underneath. Clear straps for the appearance of strapless and a Velcro closure to make sure she could get it as tight as possible (she is a toothpick after all!) Twenty minutes later and happy as a lark I headed home, whipped out the machine and a couple of Eiledon’s dresses and started cutting.

Man, was it fun! I still have to run back to Jo-Ann for some kind of sparkly ribbon for the waist, maybe even a big rhinestone accent-y thing-y, who knows. Ledon can pick it out. I’m so grateful for the ability to create something my daughter will enjoy, and more grateful for the concrete way to show her how much I love her and how important she is to me.

Thanks, Mom.

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