all about my mother

Memories of my formative years are sketchy to say the least … in fact memory recall across the board is not one of my strong points. It’s a trait I share with both my sister and mother – mine us for historical detail and see how we recoil. Invite us to join you in a quiz and it’s game well and truly over. But recollections bearing an emotional weight, remain embedded within like words etched in rock.

I remember my mother sat on the couch dictionary in hand, revelling at the discovery of a new word. Hands clasped around the word tin I took to school everyday –  my mission, to seamlessly incorporate them into everyday discourse. Racing home to get to the piano before my sister and evenings spent devouring extra English and Maths because she’d achieved the impossible – she tricked us into thinking learning was fun.

But most of all, I remember her at the kitchen table with the sewing machine, surrounded by endless strips of fabric, sewing patchwork cushions, rag dolls and the odd item of clothing gracelessly received by my sister and I. For who wants bespoke handmade attire, when everyone is parading their high street bounty down the school corridors.

Nevertheless, my mother was undeterred and channelled her sartorial creations towards a much more appreciative audience incapable of back chat. Sindy – ‘the doll you love to dress’ – proved a most willing recipient of my mother’s talent for precision stitch in miniature. I recently gained possession of my childhood playthings and the handmade wardrobe she fashioned for them.

It’s taken years for me to come full circle and join my mother at the machine – a mere 40 of them. And in doing so, I’ve come to reflect on how all my passions … all the things I hold dear, can be traced back to her. To coin the title of the Almodovar classic, it’s ‘All About My Mother’.

So enough about me, or rather my mother, I’d love to know – from where did your inspiration to sew originate?

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9 thoughts on “all about my mother

      1. My mum was a sewing machinist by trade and after working on munitions during the war, returned to the clothing industry. She could make anything and the old treadle was always on the go in our house. I hand stitched a pair of pajamas in needlework at school. So you could say it’s in the genes, but hard going sewing the seams – which were “French” by the way. I think am catching your Play on Words.

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    1. I adore the idea of our love of stitch being passed down through the generations. I missed the week at sewing class when we did French seams so you’ll have to illuminate me when you visit. And the word play … it’s all from you x

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  1. i am so jealous of your sindy and her wardrobe – its amazing. i had a daisy doll – i once made a whole beach scene for her, out of discarded bits of rubbish from around the house (which to my eyes was probably a malibu vision). i cannot say where my inspiration to sew came from as i was always making as a kid and trying to get my hands on selotape…… that sindy beret is so fetching – wish i could carry off that look.

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    1. I’ve just had to google Daisy Doll as I’ve never heard of them before – a Mary Quant doll released in the year of my birth – how cool is that!! It would be so cool to see pictures of her but I’m guessing you no longer have her in your possession? I love the idea of you creating a beach scene out of discarded rubbish – the whole idea of trash to treasure really appeals to me. I’m now regretting the clothes I have discarded over the years, as I’ve come to sewing stash-less and I’ve had beautiful fabric in my time that I’d be itching to get my hands on now.

      I was always making things as a kid too – art was my favourite subject at school. I lost my way a bit when I left – chose to do Psychology at University and dropped out after 2 years having no clue what I was doing with my life! My newfound relationship with sewing heralds a welcome return and outlet for the creativity of my childhood years. Thank you for your kind words as always – I’ll pass on your beret compliments to my mother who is visiting this weekend. We are going round Sheffield’s fabric shops in search of inspiration 🙂

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  2. Although I don’t think I realised it at the time, my passion for sewing also stemmed from the home. I can’t remember why it happened, but my brother once showed me how to trace things when I was about 7 or 8 and he was showing me how if I traced outlines of women I could draw different clothes onto them.
    I remember being fascinated with these figures and dressing them, though just on paper, in whatever I wanted.
    This went on for years- and I knew I wanted to sew, but just didn’t know how to. My mother would tell me she couldn’t stitch a thing and with one grandmother gone and the other 80 miles away there was no way to really learn.
    Fast forward to uni, as a miserable art student with the kids around me excited about making meaningless sculptures out of butter and turd, I felt I had missed my chance to embrace fashion the way I had wanted to.
    I took a plunge and signed up to the sewing course at Hillsborough for one last shot, and before getting started my boyfriend at the time bought me a sewing book. Eager not to disappoint him or myself- I bought a sewing machine and set to making before the course even began.
    The rest is stitch-istory….. x

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    1. Stitch-istory … Angela YOU and your wordplay – legendary. You’ve cast my mind back to paper dolls I used to have as a kid – you could put different outfits on them!! I can’t remember where they were from though. We need to talk more about your miserable art student days – I’ve always regretted not doing a Foundation Course like my sister and then specialising but maybe you will put that regret out of my mind. What I really wish is that I’d discovered sewing when I was your age so I am jealous / celebrating in the many sewing years you have ahead of you! I too felt like I had missed my artistic calling so how amazeballs that we both signed up to the same course as a last ditch attempt. We’ve found our niche and each other. TOO MUCH JOY! XX

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