"Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things."
Philippians 4:8

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

So it is WEDNESDAY! "Women Living Well"

My daughter and I have been sewing recently. I can sew, but I don't enjoy it. She actually enjoys it. I think I'm perhaps getting tired.
I got to thinking about my mother who was an absolute fabulous designer/seamstress. I think I didn't attempt to even try and meet her standards. Here I have this daughter who wants me to teach her to sew. I am wishing her grandmother were here to teach her.
 As we have been sewing, I appreciate my beautiful clothes that my mother made me my entire childhood. Oh how I wish I had thanked my dear mother. I took her for granted.
As my Sarah was sewing today, we had countless confrontations: Sarah, "Why do I need to iron the pattern?"
Me, "If we are going to do something, we are going to learn to do it right."
Sarah, " Who taught you to sew, you slave driver?"
Me, "No one! I taught myself and I am just trying to show you how to avoid a million mistakes."
Sarah,  " 1/4" IS NOT ENOUGH MOM!!!"
me, "Just be QUIET and trust me!" I told Sarah if she complained, criticized, or whined ONE MORE TIME,  "I am going to leave the room and you can figure out the pattern for yourself!" 
she said,  "Who needs your help anyway?" I left the room , did some laundry, listened to our president's speech, changed the litter box, fed the cats,
and Sarah walked in the room saying,  "I will cook dinner for you tonight , do you think I will be able to finish Robert's outfit tonight?"
I decided to help her because I cannot resist a subject that has Robert in it.
My daughter ran to the market just now and I am thinking of myself and the impatience I had with my own mother.
I want to share this story with you:

Art's Yardage Store

My momma sewed constantly! She did not drive, so we  frequently walked downtown. We went to"Art's Yardage" store almost three times a week. I hated going there because Momma spent way too many hours looking at : laces, trims, buttons, zippers, patterns, and fabrics. She visited and brainstormed with all of the sales ladies; and more often than not, she ran into friends from the neighborhood or from church.
The store smelled of new fabrics: polyester, India, and perfume! I sometimes found it abrasive when Momma would slide her hand across different fabrics. The only tactile pleasure for me; was touching smooth silk or soft velvet.

My poor mother, I whined and complained while she shopped. So many women sewed when I was young. It was a different era. The yardage store was always crowded at any given time.
One day I was sitting in a chair looking at patterns, when a woman sat next to me. She stared at me, I was ready to get in trouble for something. She said, "Gee, you have very beautiful eyes!" I thanked her and groped awkwardly in my mind for a return compliment. This woman was very elegant and extravagant looking. She had beauty-shop hair, and nicely painted long nails. She was wearing a pantsuit (in those days!)
and she had dangling diamonds on her bracelet, earrings, and necklace. I complimented her pretty ring. It was in the shape of a crescent moon with countless tiny diamonds all over it. This woman was so pleased that I admired her ring. She asked me if I would like to hear the story about it. I was so excited to hear it.
This woman told me that she was the owner of the fabric store. Many years prior, Art her husband, designed her ring all by himself. He gave it to her when he proposed marriage to her. He had been a widower. He told her that if she accepted, he would give her the moon and the stars! That is what her ring looked like; a moon with little stars all around it.
I learned  that day; that I could get more bees with honey than with vinegar. I also learned that a compliment sometimes breeds a wonderful story.
I'm hoping that my daughter will read this story. To this day, there are still remnants of "Art's Yardage" in my life. Just the other day, I found an old bag from that store in my hope chest. It has to be well over fifty years old. Just looking at that bag brought back years of watching my momma sew. Little did I realize then; that those so taken for granted, precious days would one day be gone forever.
Just before my mother died, I remember commenting to her, "Momma, your hands are still pretty even after so many years of sewing. You never got arthritis in them!" My mother replied, " Thank God, because I intend to sew satin wings for the angels in heaven!"
When my mother finally did die; shortly before Christmas, I found the clothes she had sewn to wear for her funeral. As my tearful eyes gazed upon the clothes in her closet; which smelled like violets, her scent; I found Christmas presents she had been working on but never completed. Our names were pinned on to these last gifts from our mother. She made little cloth dolls for her four granddaughters and several other treasures for the rest of us.

When I was small, I was ill in the hospital and had to have a Tonsillectomy. Santa visited me there and it was love at first sight. My mother knew about my love for Santa and she always gave me a Santa gift for Christmas. I noticed a Santa doll sitting on her closet shelf. It was for me! I picked up this Santa doll and began to cry. Momma lined his coat with a pure silk scarf; one she and I purchased when I was four years old. The day we got caught in the rain before there were shopping Malls. This Santa was wearing a big, red plush coat. There was a needle stuck inside of his crimson-red hem which told me she intended on finishing him by Christmas, but she died on November 29th.
Among the most striking and precious things I found in my mother's sewing box were: her scissors, her thread, and the yardstick she had used for over forty years to sew for us.
As I sat quietly reminiscing in my mother's easy chair; I found some pictures in an old tin box. I noticed that we were wearing such lovely clothes in all these pictures. Momma stitched her love through our lives with both her heart and her hands.
I found two different pictures that had been taken years apart. I noticed that my sister and I were wearing the same dress. I hunted for that dress, and I found it! My daughter wore it for Easter one year. The fabric was lavender, polka-dotted Swiss voile. It was purchased from "Art's Yardage" almost 50 years prior.

When I was small, I impatiently complained for having spent too much time at fabric stores with my mother. Now, I complain because I cannot be with her at all. I have learned why patience and a grateful heart are so valuable to the Lord. God knows the rewards and benefits of patience. 
(Romans 12:12) "Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction")
I will learn to love to sew with my daughter because she wants to do this with me, and I thank God for the opportunity!


  1. I'd love to learn how to sew!

    Traci @ Ordinary Inspirations

  2. Traci, Thanks for viewing! I think your city might offer a community center class or your nearest high school may offer adult ED. If you have a sewing machine, just practice with simple things; draw a square, cut 2 of them, put colored sides of the print (right sides of fabric on top of each other, sew 3 sides of the square (leave open the 4th side and turn the square inside out. Stuff it with fiber fill batting, or old washed nylons. Now sew the 4th side shut with a needle and thread by hand or by machine; and YOU have made a PILLOW!!! I'm not meaning to be condescending; this is how I started to teach myself. Sewing used to be economical. I am finding that sometimes patterns and fabric and notions; are sometimes more expensive than purchasing something. However, a pattern could be used several times. I have a great thrift shop that carries beautiful left-over fabric from a very expensive designer outlet. I have also found quilting grade fabrics at garage sales.I will try and post some of my treasures. If you desire to sew, then you must be a designer of sorts deep in your heart! Blessings to you! Robin