I believe that we all have a creative side. We admire others and use their ideas, opinions and creations for inspiration, but what we create is ultimately an expression of ourselves. We make choices that are uniquely our own, based on our history and the influences of the people who love us.
As it turns out, sewing is in my DNA. My Grandmother started me sewing as did my Great-Grandmother start her daughter. My mother died when I was seven years old, and I imprinted on Granny, followed her everywhere like a gosling. We lived on a farm in West Virginia and Granny made calico pinafores for me and my sisters when she wasn’t cooking, canning, and working the fields. Eventually my father placed me and my siblings in an orphanage in Michigan. My housemother, Mom Lines, was a seamstress and took up the process of teaching me sewing. It was the one connection I had back to my Granny and my family, and it made me feel safe. I started by ironing fabric for her when my nose barely cleared the top of the ironing board. I loved the pleasant smell of the steam and the spray starch and of course the neatly pressed and folded fabric waiting to be cut and sewn into a skirt or blouse. Our mutual love of sewing created a harmony, helped heal my grief, and allowed me to transfer my attachment from Granny to Mom Lines. We both had independent natures but we worked well together. Sewing can make that sort of thing happen.
My older sister made a career of sewing. She worked as an industrial seamstress for many years and thrived on the accomplishment of rapid assembly-line piecework. We recently worked together making outfits; vest, pants and shorts for my grandson, Andrew. I’m slow and methodical and she is fast and efficient. Our qualities compliment and create a harmony fueled by our love for a little boy. Through sewing we both connect with our heritage and reach into the future.
My personal search for meaning and my philosophy of life connect to the role that sewing plays -- to my Granny and Great Grandmother, to my Mom Lines, and now to my Sister. I sit at my sewing machine and they are beside me laughing and whispering instructions, and I feel the basic human goodness in making a garment or piecing a quilt.
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