Monday, February 09, 2015

and all my thoughts just keep on playin'

I have a sewing machine. it's sitting in my craft room, with it's sweet little dust cover on it. the box has long been tossed away*. I always had access to a machine. the very noise of it sounds like my Mum. she was an amazing seamstress. she took dressmaking courses when she came to Canada. she made almost all my clothes when I was small. she made the most beautiful brocade dress and jacket when my Dad graduated from police school, it hung in her closet for years. so gold and stiff with it's lovely 60's lines. she'd try it on when I'd ask her. I thought she looked regal, like the queen. she stayed the same size all her life until towards the end. only when she got a job when I hit school did I start getting store bought stuff. even then, she was really fussy about fabrics and quality. always about quality. she would rather have 2 really good pieces than 8 low quality ones. I took home-ec in gr 8 (no choice about that, girls had to take home-ec while boys took shop. even though we got every girl in school to sign a petition, it was tough titty for us. sigh) and knew my way around a machine. about then my Mum bought a serger. it was a BIG DEAL. very new idea in the world of sewing. she was smitten. she re-kindled her love for making and off she went. she made everything from t-shirts to underwear (even for my friends! Rhian and Lael both got home-made gonchies I think) and sleep wear. I too started using both machines, my punk esthetic favoured home made stuff. I took jeans apart and added stripes down the legs, shortened EVERYTHING and cut it all up and started again. she made my wedding dress when Chris and I got hitched. every little detail, every little pink rose, the cuddle skin backed satin silk shawl so my shoulders wouldn't be cold. she even had to sew me into it as she forgot she'd only basted the zipper on the day. Chris had to cut me out of it at the end of the night with his dagger his had in his sock (wearing a kilt came in very handy) and we laughed for hours about it.

even when my Mum moved down here for a while as she was getting sicker and sicker, she still had my dad set up both machines in the basement. I'd walk down the street to use them. fixing stuff, hemming. it was always there. when they moved back to Edmonton my Mum gave me both of her machines. I knew she was sick, but this confirmed my worst fears. she never sewed again to my knowledge. I gave away both of her machines to people who would keep them alive. I put away the idea of fixing, of making. then one year (3 years ago?) Chris got me a machine for X-mas. it sat in it's box until I was embarrassed by it. I took it out of the box. I moved it to my craft table. then I moved it to a shelf. I've been buying jeans online and while I am a fat lady, I'm a pretty un-hipped one. all of my jeans are great except they need to be taken in just that much in the hips. I toyed with going to the tailor, but I think it's time. time to thread this, to hear the pupupupupupup of the needle. I know my Mum would approve and wonder why it took me so long.

note; hair is back to blond. may be blue soon. change.

*recycled. our recycle box is always so much more full than our garbage. I take strange pride in this.


Heather said...

Not going to lie, I just had my cry for the day. This is a very well written post Karen. I love it.
My Mom didn't sew a lot, she knew how she just never had the time. She taught me how to hem pants but that was about it. My grandma on the other hand, sewed everything. She taught me how to make headbands, but I always got distracted when it came to making bigger projects. When she died my Mom split up her sewing stuff and gave me some. Whenever I sew I feel her with me, and it's so cool to sew with thread that she chose and to use some of the tools she used. It's like she's sitting right here with me. That is defs part of why I keep sewing. It makes me feel connected.
I hope you enjoy it when you get back to it!
PS: I also put stripes of fabrics in my jeans too - I have seriously been considering doing that again for nostalgia.

karen said...

thanks Heather. I felt a little verklempt writing this as I do a lot of my posts. sharing the cry. xox

Rhian said...

my mum left me her sewing machine...a stainless steel light yellow jobby from the 60's. it is excellent not only because it's strong enough to sew jeans but because my mum put so much time in on it. just touching it makes me feel all the love. like pat, laveena made everything for me when I was little and she paid such attention to every detail always using the most twee trims. I retrieved it from Canada when I was in Calgary for a tattoo convention and it was sent down on the bus. the bus depot kept saying they didn't have it and I finally went to the depot and forced my way in and located it. it came all the way to la with me and I use it to make curtains and do simple sewing. I bought my first pattern in years, i'm making a fatkini. I love Pat & Laveena & you. xoxo

karen said...

Rhi, I was at that convention, you were wigging out about the machine. please post pictures of the fat-kini, and know how much I love you and Laveena and Pat. xoxooxxo