When I was a little girl, my mom made me beautiful things…princess-y things. I don’t mean frilly, ruffly things, I mean things that made me feel like a princess. She made me a little cheerleader costume to match the cheerleaders at the high school where my father taught. She made me a velvet flower girl dress which then made its way into a few Halloween costumes.
She made me this lovely lined cape which I have carried with me my entire life, despite the fact that it is moth-eaten and not a little worse for wear. It is a beautiful navy blue cape, fully lined with a silky fabric, with little hand-made loops for the buttons instead of button holes.
It is definitely princess-y. I remember slipping my hands through the vents and having a little muff I used with it. It is this cape, made 50 years ago, which inspires me to sew. Every time I look at it, I marvel at the skill and patience it took to make such a lovely cape for a little girl who would never be able to appreciate the time and effort it took to create it.
Because of this little cape, I’ve also carted around with me my mom’s old Singer sewing machine…waiting, nurturing the dream. I never forgot that I wanted to sew. I never forgot that I wanted to give things to people that would tell them they were worth my time and effort; I wanted to give things to people made especially for them. Well-made things, worthwhile things, personal things. I’ve also wanted to make for myself clothing that fits beautifully…designed and crafted for my body…to make me feel princess-y. To me, sewing can do all those things and I’ve itched to do it. As I raised my children and got busy with life, the dream sat deep in my heart…waiting.
When the kids got older and life settled down, the dream got pushier. The sewing machine came out of storage and this part of my journey began. Full of missteps and frustration, blessed with awesome ladies at the fabric store who would answer the most basic of questions, and armed with Craftsy classes and YouTube videos and amazing indie pattern designers, I started sewing and I kept sewing…and sewing..and sewing. My family received a lot of flannel pajama pants while I learned to read and understand patterns. As I branched out, I was still so slow that what someone might see as a wonky fleece pullover probably took me five hours to make.
Slowly, but surely, though, my skills improved and my efficiency increased, to the point that I was willing to go public with my hobby. More time passed, and now I get paid to sew for people.
I still have so far to go, but I look at that little cape hanging in my closet and I know it is worth it…so I keep sewing…and sewing.