Friday, August 30, 2013

New Clothes

New clothes

When I was growing up in Galveston, shopping for clothes often began in the fabric store. My mother was a wonderful seamstress (as was her mother) and many happy hours were spent looking through the big pattern books--McCalls, Simplicity, Butterick, and Vogue.  Then we would find just the right fabric-- type of fabric, weight, color, and pattern.  Finally we would pick out the notions--zipper, buttons, interfacing, and trim.  I still remember carrying the fabric in a white paper bag out of the store. My mother always washed the fabric in cold salt water to make sure the color was set and that the fabric wouldn't shrink. 
I would carefully iron the fabric and the paper pattern pieces.  Sometimes the pattern would need to be altered slightly for a better fit. I learned how to place the pattern on the fabric with the grain of the fabric going the right way so that the finished garment would hang correctly.  My mother gradually let me take over cutting the fabric and sewing the straight seams. By the time I was in high school, I was a fairly competent seamstress but nowhere near my mother's skill. She made evening dresses and she even made my going away suit when I was married. (It was a gorgeous Vogue pattern.)
After the garment was finished, we carefully folded up the pattern pieces and put them back into the pattern envelope. Then all the fabric scraps would be rolled up together and put in the scrap bag to be used on the next quilt top that we would piece from scraps.  I loved seeing pieces of fabric from my skirt or nightgown being part of a new quilt. 
While it wasn't as quick as going to the clothing store to buy ready made clothes, the whole process was enjoyable and there was much excitement and anticipation as we would see our idea come into being. Good memories!

1 comment:

Hattie said...

You were so lucky to have acquired that skill. But perhaps even more important was how this bonded you to your mother and grandmother.