Self portrait as a sewer

This afternoon was lovely. Grace went off for a long nap at about 2.30. Winter sun shone through the sunroom windows as I sat at my sewing machine, whizzing my way through a huge pile of easy mending and altering, while Mum sat at the other end of the table handsewing some leather soles onto some bootees for Grace, who is almost walking and constantly outgrowing her footwear.  I felt my anxiety melt as we got through some of my neglected piles of sewing. We talked about this and that, conversation going back and forth between different topics.

One day Grace will most likely sit at this table, or one like it, with her very first sewing project. We'll show her how to make stitches and how to cut. Point her in the direction of translating ideas into physical reality. Already she likes to play with scraps and bundles of fabric. She strokes and drapes different pieces with obvious delight in the contrasting textures.

I grew up with people making things all around me. Women sewed clothes, knit jumpers, made crochet bedspreads, boiled jam, covered chairs and baked cakes. Men fixed cars, installed heaters, mended broken appliances, renovated houses, built shelves and other useful things. Everybody got involved in the garden. A little bit of painting, photography and embroidery went on, but they were sidelines, hobbies. It wasn't that we were poor, but in the sixties and seventies, it was just what ordinary working people did. At least it was in my family. I certainly didn't consider that most things we made were in any sense creative and as I got older I wanted bought clothes. Clothes that were the right brand, just like everybody else had.

How the circle turns. Now I consider handmade clothes the height of luxury. Not just in terms of individual fit and design, but also in time. Time to sit and sew and chat with the sun coming in over my shoulder.

Many more self portraits here.

Added later - I was aware that the title "self portrait as a sewer" could refer to well, waste disposal. But that's how we refer to being one who sews in my family, as "a sewer". As in "I'm a gardener", or "not really a knitter". Doesn't work with "crocheter".  And it was late and I couldn't think of any other title so apt.


girlfriday said...

Like the concept of *taking time* to enjoy your sewing and craftwork ... a picture of the personal.

DebR said...

I love not only seeing the various portraits people do, but reading why they've chosen to show that particular side of themselves. Very cool SPC post!

Jeremy Stockwell said...

OH!! - 'sew'-er, as in one who sews, like with fabric and stuff!
I thought, well --- nevermind!

Sarah-Jean said...

Very nice!!

jennifer said...

The pics of you, Grace, house, garden and wee Grace are making me misty-eyed.
It's fabulous, Janet!