Sunday, September 14, 2008

Favorite Fabrics From Far & Near


My mom is a seamstress of extraordinary talent. When we were kids, she made all of our clothes except shoes, socks and underwear, always with the finest attention to detail. Heart shaped mother of pearl buttons, lace edged petticoats, matching red flannel pajamas for Christmas, dotted Swiss Easter dresses, and transformative Halloween costumes. She taught her daughters proficiently and we learned to embroider at 8 and make our own clothes at 11. Her patient instruction and creativity led me to work in my teens and early twenties as a professional seamstress of mens' aloha shirts, walking shorts and swim trunks, a lifelong appreciation of design and love of fabrics. Silk, rayon, cotton, corduroy, and velvet especially.

Most of my travels have been to tropical climes and instead of tourist trinkets, local fabrics have been the memento of choice. Some pieces of yardage have been waiting to be made into just the right garment for over thirty years! A few have been pulled from the wooden chest, to be shared for their beauty, color and design. Also included, periodically, will be some hand embroidered projects.

The silk yardage above was purchased in St. Thomas in 1970, made by Liberty of London. The same shop had floor to ceiling shelves, filled with Liberty cotton lawn and silks. The clerk would push a wheeled ladder down the aisle and climb up to pull your choices from the shelf. With each fabric, you were given a woven "Liberty Of London" label to sew into your finished garment.

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