I Remember Mama
Yes, I fondly remember Mama. I’ve spent weeks thinking about my mom and trying to remember everything I could about her. You see, my mom passed away when my youngest daughter was just over three years old. Mom was only 68 years old. Unfortunately her health declined rapidly in her later years and she died during surgery. One thing I distinctly remember was that my mom did not want to end up in a nursing home, old and needy, so I guess it was a blessing that she left us before that. Still, even as I write this, emotions well up inside me, because she could have been her now, and not missed so much of our lives and we her’s.
I remember a lot of this and that about Mom, she was born and raised in Mass. in a big family with five siblings. She moved to California with her sister after WWWII and met my father, a sailor, who had been at sea for over 4 years. They married and moved to a small town in Northern CA, where they bought a small house and raised three children. I am the the oldest. Mom was the traditional stay at home mom and housewife of the 50’s. She was a good cook and took great care of us. She was very crafty and loved to sew in the earlier years. There was always a sewing machine in our home in its hardwood furniture case. Needless to say, I was drawn to it at an early age and Mom saw to it that my interest was broadened. I started with Barbie doll clothes with her assistance and then moved on to more challenging items like aprons and skirts. My mother drove me to 4H classes where I learned even more about sewing. In 4H we were challenged to make garments for the local county 4H dress reviews. You actually modeled your garments and won ribbons! Mom would help me with anything that I had trouble with, from blind stitch hemming to putting sleeves in. She was always very supportive and helpful. Later, during my teen years, and during changing times for women in the late 60’s, Mom went to work. She had worked before she met my dad as a telephone operator, which I always thought was so admirable (I also worked as a telephone operator). She had that pleasant voice on the other end of the phone. I distinctly remember that voice when I was sick at school and had to call home for Mom to come pick me up. It was so kind and reassuring. The jobs she had were manufacturing and service oriented and she worked until she retired. At that point, she took care of my dad, her sister, and her sister-in-law who needed her friendship and help. She was always very loving and supportive of me through my own trials and triumphs. She also baby-sat all of her grandchildren while we worked.
Now, about the dress, I have this old picture of my mother that I believe is from the late 40’s or early 50’s. I think it was taken before she met my dad. She’s wearing this great dress, that looks like it might be a light wool fabric, with eyelet trim and buttons down the side. Weeks ago, I was planning ahead for future challenges when I came across this fabric at Jo-Anns. It’s just a quilting cotton, but it looks like a wool. I know my mom’s dress could have been any color, but the slightly sepia colored photo inspired me to match that color. I used the same pattern that I used in the button challenge and lined the whole dress with a synthetic cream colored fabric, which gives it weight and a great feel inside. I absolutely love this dress, not only because it reminds me so much of my mom, but it just fits so perfectly! I made a belt to go with it, but it can be worn without it too. For the photo shoot, I pin-curled my short straight hair and wore it under a scarf (out in public) just like mom probably did, and then did some fun photo-editing to do the side-by-side photo of us both. I borrowed her bun with the clone button.
Fabric: Quilting cotton from Jo-Anns soft brown color with faux wool pattern
Pattern: Simplicity 8142
Year: 1969 (back when I was 15!)
Notions: eyelet trim and nine new buttons
Time to complete: about 10-12 hours
First worn: May 5, 2012
Wear again? Absolutely!
Total price: Under $15.00
Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms who sew on the Sew Weekly!
Hope you share your sewing skills with your children. Thanks for all of your friendships. Barbara