I remember I used to sew...

Do people sew anymore? I mean, I know there is sewing of a sort being done somewhere to keep us in cheap goods that tear after the first wash and, probably in that same sweat shop, designer clothes that sport four and five digit price tags. But I'm referring to sewing for the family, as a means of sustainable simple living. Does anyone do that anymore?

My grandmother, Lottie Isabelle Wright Johnson, taught me how to sew when I was really little. She used to make her own clothes and her children's clothes and later, from the worn out parts, she would make beautiful quilts. She always said she wanted me to know how to sew so when I had a little girl I could make her all kinds of nice little dresses. As with all things with me, it was an off and on love affair but I did become a pretty good seamstress. In Home-Ec class (yea!! Remember that???) I made a beautiful 2-piece madras-striped skirt and tank top that I wore off to Florida for spring break in 1984, that double breasted coat-dress pattern however remains unfinished.

The dress above was from my first entrepreneurial endeavor "Chameleon" (Clothes as unique as the people who wear them). This was to be a clothes customizing business but I felt we should move into ready-to-wear clothing design as well. I got a subscription to "W" which was


fashion industry paper, and carried around a sketch pad full of stick women wearing bolero jackets and lean wrap skirts. I was very proud of that dress above. It was my first (and last) Vogue pattern. And although it was marked "easy" there never has and never will be anything easy about a Vogue pattern!! Anyway, I also was expressing my Coco Chanel side by choosing to do the center of the dress in lace instead of a solid fabric. (I was under the heavy influence of Prince and Vanity 6 at the time and had just gotten beyond going to clubs in lingerie and trench coats...but THAT's a story for another day.) I stayed up all night trying to figure out the workings of that lace inset!! But, I got it and "The Dress" had a very healthy social life.

I sewed for my wedding as well, made detachable trains for my bridesmaids dresses, made the flower girl's dress, AND my former mother-in-law's red peau de soie suit (uhm hmm. I did.) After my grandmother died, I inherited her sewing machine and I made matching outfits Cedar Point (how juvenile!) and a cute polka dot maternity outfit for me that made me look more like a clown than anything, but by the time the kids came along, I was too busy to sew...never did make all those little dresses Gramp wanted me to. Her machine ended up somehow "left by mistake" in the basement of one of my old addresses (I think my ex did that on purpose...I never could prove it and never found my sewing machine.) and my fledgling sewing business came to a halt.

I did buy another sewing machine as soon as the divorce was final and had some delightful times recycling blue jean legs into matching skirts for me and the daw-daw. I still have mine, she outgrew hers...but who knows, it might be around here soemwhere.

Unearthing that pattern got me to thinking about sewing and sustainable living for the urban farm girl. I'll have to explore more.The memories sure have me in stitches!!