Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Thanks sew much, Mom by Kat Magendie

“Take your time. If you rush, it will show,” my mother said. She bent over the table, her hair a soft brown curtain, and smoothed the pattern. From the old pin cushion she extracted four pins, stuck three in her mouth, and slipped one in the thickness of pattern and material. I did the same on the other half of the pattern, but much more clumsy and slow. Before, it always seemed like magic to find Barbie Doll clothes under the Christmas tree. After my brothers and I were in bed, she’d stay up late and sew beautiful clothes for the doll—evening gowns, pants suits, summer dresses, gloves even! She did it without patterns and I never have figured out how she made them to fit so perfectly, not a gap or pucker to be found.

Next, I cut out the blouse, and then Mother marked the fabric with a white sewing marker—where the darts were, the hem, other magical things. It was finally time to sew. Mother pointed to the directions and said, “Follow these carefully, step by step. First, thread the machine and the bobbin. Let me show you.”

Finally, I guided the material, the thread binded together the seams. Slow at first, I soon gathered speed. “Not too fast,” she’d say, “that material will pucker.” What I didn’t see until I was grown was the bond sewing gave my mother and me. But oh how I thanked her those years when money was scarce. I sat down at my own sewing machine to create the suits, blouses, skirts, and pants that became my work wardrobe, just as she had.

I haven’t sewn on my own sewing machine in quite some time now, unless it’s to mend a tear, hem up the length of a pair of pants, attach a button, but I think how nice it’d be to sit again and hear the whirr of the motor, to feel my foot press the pedal. When I visit Mother in Texas, she sits me in front of her Bernina, and it’s as if I’m young again as she shows me how to make the magic. I create, and then I grin and show it off, "Look, Mom!" She says, “Good job.” Thanks, Mom, I say. Thanks for everything.


Angie Ledbetter said...

What a great memory. Arts handed down from generation to generation are slowly least the "crafty" "homemaker-ish" ones. I have the nicest memories of one grandmother teaching me how to sew on her old Singer and to make biscuits, and the other grandma trying to teach me to knit and do petit point. Ah, skills wasted on me, pretty much. ;)

Barbara Quinn said...

I could hear your machine whirring. It's great you had something like this to share with your Mom. I took sewing lessons but was pretty bad at it.But I did learn to cook from my Mom. My Dad taught me how to sew buttons since he learned that in the Army in WW2.
Luckily I'm a height that doesn't require tailoring!

Nannette Croce said...

I am such a bad sewer. Even now I think of home ec classes with the bobbin thread and the needle thread hopelessly tangled to together. For a time I did my own hems, but now I don't even do that.

Buttons-yes. I do buttons.

Yet somehow, some way, my daughter figured it out for herself.

Kerry Conway said...

i can crochet! and, sadly, that is the best i can do...

this post was awesome! i miss my mom. perhaps i will write a mother's day tribute post for her on mother's day.

thanks for the reminder!


Kathryn Magendie said...

Thanks for the biggest problem is my impatience - dang.

Kerry--I think that would be a wonderful idea, to write it. As for crocheting - I once crocheted a long long very long "rope" and that was about it on the crocheting...*laugh*

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