River of Stones, Jan.12

Yesterday’s post stirred memories for many of you who had someone close who sewed for you. While the pot was being stirred, many more memories arose for me, as well. One, I remember a quilting bee in my maternal grandmother’s kitchen. This is where several friends gathered to do the hand quilting of the pieced and layered quilts. Another memory, every year for Christmas my mom would make a flannel shirt for all the men and boys in the family; and my dolls got new dresses. 

Along with all the warm fuzzies, some of the not-so-fond memories appeared. I remember early lessons in patience as I watched Mom shop for all those fabrics at McCrory and G.C. Murphy Co., two five-and-dime stores on Main Street in town, and the endless measuring and cutting, folding and bagging. Mom didn’t drive, so Dad would usually drop us off in town on his way to work at the coal mine when he worked the afternoon shift; then we’d take a cab home. 

Sixth grade brought lessons in humility. I was the only girl in class whose mother made her dresses. Oh, how I wanted a store-bought dress! It didn’t help that one girl made a point of informing everyone of the fact, and how she could tell mine were homemade. Mom tried to comfort me by telling me the girl only did that out of jealousy, for her mother didn’t sew. It didn’t help much. In the not-too-distant past, homemade was changed to handmade, giving these items the value they deserve. 


Hubby is off for the weekend to visit his parents, and this brings me to today’s small stone. 

The little black car pulled out and onto the street , leaving an empty spot in both the driveway, and my heart. 


41 thoughts on “River of Stones, Jan.12

  1. What memories! My mom sewed all of my clothes as well. With 3 younger brothers and all the farm chores, she didn’t have a lot of time so as soon as I was old enough, I started sewing my own clothes. (long before I took Home Ec class). I would arrive at a party or dance in the only homemade dress, but I got all the compliments. Soon the city girls would be asking me to sew them outfits like mine. I also remember my grandmother’s quilting bees fondly.


  2. i wore almost all hand-me-downs as a kid (youngest of 8 and dirt poor). about the only new clothes i remember shopping for were a pair of jeans. it was hard to face the popular, ‘rich’ kids at school. *sigh*


    • You had a lot of siblings, Theresa. I got hand-me-downs from my cousin sometimes. Jeans were hard to fit with my long legs, and bell bottoms were in style! (the first time around)


  3. Some kids are so mean. I agree that girl was jealous. I’m sorry you had to experience that. Your story reminds me of Dolly Parton’s song The Coat of Many Colors. Bless your heart.
    I grew up in home-mades and hand-me-downs. So I’m familiar with your sad memories. But like you, I’m thankful Your and my Mom were both wonderful ladies. The lessons of patience and and also teaching us such valuable ways to have nice clothes and things and not have to spend a fortune for them. The garments or gifts made and given with love are worth their weight in gold. 🙂

    Your stone for today is so bittersweet and holds world of forlorn stories in it. 🙂


    • I always liked that song, E.C., thanks for reminding me of it. Your sweet words are like a healing balm, we do have so much to be thankful for in the time and love that was put into taking care of us. Blessings to you.


  4. I think that girl was just determined to criticize…if it wasn’t the handmade clothes, it would have been something else. Kids sure can zero in on ‘different’ and turn it into a curse. My family wasn’t much into sewing, so I never wore handmade, but I did get bargain-basement!


  5. What nice memories. Yes, both grannies had a singer sewing machine. One had an ancient kind that had peddals. I’m not really sure what happened to it. And the bargain basements – priceless!

    My favorite though, was the little empty spot left by your husband’s departure. I hope he reads that.


    • I think those old Singers were a staple! My mom had one with the treadle, but my uncle converted it to run on an electric motor. I can’t imagine how awkward that would feel at first to be rocking one’s feet while sewing. Probably got a good workout! Thanks, unless I print it out, or send him a link to it, he’ll never see it. Thank you for visiting! I’ll have to stop by your blog soon. 🙂


  6. Your story has a familiar tone. As one of seven kids, everything came from the thrift store. There was always someone who pointed out that my clothes were second-hand.

    Blessings – Maxi


  7. The stone is beautiful, Patti.

    My Mom was a sewer and we wore countless handmade outfits. She’d use the pool table as her sewing table. Always busy with patterns. Many patterns, spools of threads, pins and chalk. If I let myself, I can close my eyes and hear the sound of her sewing machine, watching her foot raise and lower to control the speed.


  8. Pingback: Fleeting Moments :: A Drabble | Lenore Diane's Thoughts Exactly

  9. My grandmother in Alaska made doll clothes and my clothes. I always loved it when a big box came in the mail. That meant clothes for me. One year she made me a coat with a fur (not politically correct these days) collar. It was one of a kind.
    Loved this post. It made me think of my featherweight Singer that Bernina services from time to time. They always offer to buy it from me. It’s a good straight stitcher which is all I do.
    I know you will miss your husband over the weekend. Will he be gone longer since it’s a three day weekend?


    • I know that was a treasure box you received, and can only imagine your delight. Featherweights are still popular with a lot of seamstresses. He’ll be back Sunday night, he has to work Monday.


  10. I love all these comments about sewing and the memories they evoke. It may surprise you, but I learned to sew on a Singer treadle machine. Dad soon after bought us an electric Singer which I sewed all my high school clothes on. For a wedding gift he gave me a Singer sewing machine which was well used over the years. When my daughter got married, I gave her a Singer machine. Seems it has become somewhat of a tradition.


    • Singers were a family favorite, also. Did it take long to get the coordination to use the treadle? It was probably a good machine to start with, less likely to run over a finger. 🙂


  11. My grandmother used to have a very similar sewing machine…
    I remember that she fixed a special pillow case of my sisters with it one time. I was pretty little at the time, but this post definitely reminds me of her…


  12. Good post, Patti. I had the same feelings about my homemade clothes, too. And my mom was so proud. I feel really bad about that now.

    Your machine reminds me of the one that now sits in our garage needing a makeover. My sister and I used to sew doll clothes on that pedal pusher.


  13. I loved my homemade clothes, but then, my mother stopped making them for me before I got to the fourth grade. By the seventh grade I was making my own and I didn’t care what anyone thought by then. We went shopping and got two new outfits for the beginning of the school year. They were always winter wear, and we always wanted to wear them the first week of school. They were so HOT! LOL! So, making my own was a way to extend my wardrobe and get styles and fabrics I liked! 😉


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