14 August 2008

Craft Renaissance

As I was wandering around a craft store earlier this week perusing fabric, I had many many flashbacks to childhood. My mother is a pretty darn good seamstress (she will never admit this, so I'll sing her praises). She used to take us fabric and pattern shopping and then made all of our Sunday dresses and special occasion clothes. She seems convinced that we didn't like our homemade clothes, but I recall adoring those dresses. I loved looking through the pattern books and picking out something that I absolutely had to have. Then we would walk around looking at fabric and this is how I learned to judge the quality of fabric by touch. I began by grabbing whatever was prettiest and then my mother would touch it, check it's fiber content and price and teach me how to find the best quality for the best value. I also have good memories of sitting on the floor while my mom was sewing, sorting through her big can of buttons and practicing hand sewing with scraps of fabric and a HUGE needle (so it wouldn't get lost in the carpet). She spent hours in her little sewing closet whipping up dresses, dress-up and play-clothes, and even our swimsuits! My most favorite swimsuit of all time was made by her. Here are some photos of it:

These don't do it complete justice, probably because it was worn constantly and was fading in these pics. It was gold with a rose-pink floral and silvery-green leaves and vines. I recall exactly how it felt between my fingers, the sound it made if you rubbed it against itself and even the smell of the fabric. That's how much I loved this suit. I wore it until all the elastic gave out and my mom made me get rid of it. Sigh, I kinda want it back.

Some of my absolute best memories of childhood have to do with my mother's love of textiles and crafts. She's quite talented. She used to tole-paint, embroider, and numerous other things. She made our quilts, curtains, and tote bags, puppets, and various other things. She gave it up for awhile in the last few years, but she's going back to it too. She's teaching herself how to crochet and knit and is re-embracing her love of quilting. I've always had a fair amount of interest in textiles and crafts, but frequently avoided them because of the cheesiness that has gone hand in hand with these things for so long. I try to avoid cheesiness, to varying results but now that there is a craft renaissance going on, I'm all about it. Crafts are modern and cool again. Hooray!

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