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Showing posts with label sewing. Show all posts
Showing posts with label sewing. Show all posts

Saturday, July 25, 2015


Three of our granddaughters worked on learning to sew in the past 2 weeks.  Our niece came with her granddaughter to help them, so we had sewing camp!  Maddie and Skye have their own sewing machines, and Jordann practiced her handwork.  I am proud of them for working on a skill that will serve them well.  I think of the many hours I have spent at my own Singer, starting when I was near their age. Mother bought a new sewing machine that came with free lessons which she didn't need since she had been sewing for years.  I was only 8, but she had me take the sewing lessons.  I made a dress and jacket and modeled it in the "fashion" show with other students. As years went by, I sewed many of my own clothes, including my wedding dress and some clothing for Joe and the boys when they were very young. I sewed crib quilts and dresses for our granddaughters.  I would not have done this without the encouragement and example of my mother, great-grandmother to these girls.  I think she is proud, too!

Thursday, March 28, 2013

All the Easter Dresses

One of the many things I love about this time leading up to Easter is the re-emergence of color as seeds sprout and flowers return to bloom.  When I was growing up in East Texas, the dark wintertime evergreen woods began to dot with dogwood and redbud trees. Daffodils and narcissus and azaleas drifted across front yards. And little girls and their mothers planned Easter dresses!  I am not sure the above photo was the Easter dress the year I was three, but it might have been.  And it would most certainly have been made by my mother on her Singer sewing machine although I suspect the crocheted lace on that collar would have been crocheted by my grandmother.

Stitches in Time

at Christmastime I hang a wreath, braided circle of  cloth
 made almost half a century ago from scraps found in my fabric stash
one strand of the braid is green velvet
bits left from creating a dress
with beaded cummerbund that circled my then tiny waist
a second strand cut from scraps of snow white brocaded cotton
my high school graduation dress
woven  with the green and white is red corduroy,
my first maternity dress
there would have been nothing left to make the wreath if not for first
the sewing
and the clothes.

I remember sundresses, circle skirts with petticoats, pleated skirts,
tucked blouses, mandarin jackets, peter pan collars,
puffed sleeves, vests, and weskits
a squaw dress and a poodle skirt
all made after I helped pick a pattern
Simplicity, McCall's, Vogue
you even collected last year's pattern books
from fabric shops where we bought
yards of gingham, calico, organdy, dotted swiss,
eyelet, dimity, poplin, corduroy, worsted and flannel

I remember plaids, checks, polka dots and stripes
pin-wale, herringbone, and tweed
one of a kind made just for me
a red checked dress for a play
always a new dress for first day of school
pink eyelet with ruffles for my piano recital
black suit with red velvet bow for my ride
 in the parade as a duchess
school dresses and play clothes
Sunday clothes, Easter outfits, nightgowns

I remember prom dresses -
clouds of billowing scarlet chiffon,
net the color of hyacinths, shiny satin
pale pink organza, and creamy peau de soie
bolts of rustling taffeta and black velvet
sacks of heavy ribbon and lace
measured with a yardstick on a cutting table
in a shop that was more fun than a candy store
by then I could sketch my dress and it happened!

I remember hours you spent preparing cloth, spreading it
with tissue patterns, cutting with pinking shears
the love that bent you over the humming Singer
with its one tiny bright light
when you said “let's try this on” and tucked
at my waist or lengthened a hem
I don't remember smiling and saying “thank you”
I hope that I did
 I did learn to sew

 I remember when I designed and made my wedding dress
you were proud to help me sew on pearls
I remember writing letters to tell you how my 3 little boys
played when I tried to sew
one standing behind me with his arms
around my neck

And when my granddaughter wanted a princess gown
we picked out a pattern and she helped me cut and sew
I remembered how you made me feel like a princess.
Sad only because you could no longer remember any of it.

Mary Ann Teal Parker  March 23, 2013
Written for my mother, Opal Auntionette Terrell Teal
who suffered from Alzheimer's the last years of her life,
 and died in 2006, one month short of her 93rd birthday

Thursday, February 21, 2013


This trio of scissors is not a matched set. They are all pinking shears, those zig zag edging tools which at one time were in the sewing basket of every serious seamstress because using them helped keep the edges of seams from raveling and fraying.  The pair on the left belonged to my Mother, those on the right were my grandmother's.  My own pinking shears are the ones in the middle.  Now they all belong to me, and I haven't used any of them in years.  But recently, I took them to be sharpened.  I was not surprised when the scissor man told me Grandma Terrell's pinking shears could no longer be sharpened enough to make a difference in the way they cut.  He was able to sharpen the other scissors, however, so they will be ready if and when I decide to choose fabric and pattern, lay out the tissue pieces, and cut the garment sections before stitching seams.

It is strange to think that an art I once practiced regularly has become only occasional for me.  In fact, the only times I plug in my electric sewing machine are when I want to mend or alter something, or stitch up a doll's dress for my granddaughters.  I only know of  one or two women who still make their own clothes.
Because fabric and sewing accessories are expensive, off the rack clothing is often less expensive and less time consuming.  But I miss honing that skill.  My 10 year old granddaughter has asked me to teach her to sew. I think I had better practice before I do.  The pinking shears are sharpened and ready!