Sunday, December 2, 2007

Grandma taught me how to sew

My grandma taught me how to sew...nearly twenty years ago, in the July heat, in her non air conditioned farm house. I was about nine years old and I had chosen to enroll in the 4-H sewing project. My mom knew how to sew, but she also knew she and I (at such a young age) would not work so well together. So she sent me to Grandma's house.

For several days, summer after summer, I would stay at Grandma's house until we had completed my outfit. Her house seemed to bake in the July, muggy, Missouri heat. I remember just hoping for a breeze to come through the bedroom window where I was sleeping at night.

I would make my way to the kitchen each morning to find her reading the paper, drinking her coffee and smoking a cigarette. She would make me a bowl of a yummy, sugary cereal, and we would talk about what we needed to accomplish on my outfit for the day.

She taught me how to read a pattern; how to lay out the pattern pieces properly on the fabric; to pay close attention to every detail on each pattern piece; to measure and pin and snip and stitch so carefully. And if I didn't do things just right, she would move me out of the way and finish it her way. She was particular, to say the least.

Eventually, I was able to complete an outfit without a stay-over at Grandma's house. She had successfully taught me how to sew.

And now, some twenty years later, I am still sewing. I began working on my daughter's Christmas outfit this afternoon, using the same old techniques Grandma taught me years ago. Paying close attention to the details, being quite particular, and thinking of my Grandma every stitch of the way.

Grandma is still with us, but her sewing days have slowed a bit. And as I think down my long list of cousins, I'm quite certain I am the only grandchild she taught how to sew. I suppose it's a dying hobby. Clothing stores offer extensive selection. And it really doesn't save any money to make things myself. But there is something about taking a flat piece of fabric and turning into a beautiful garment that is inspiring to me.

Grandma gave me a gift that I will cherish forever. And as long as my children are willing, I will lovingly measure and pin and snip and stitch just for them.

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