I’ve been doing talks and sharing the garments I sew for quite some time. It started when I was asked to do a presentation at a local Church that was having a Spring Tea for the women of their congregation and as they say “one thing lead to another”. Before I knew it I started getting phone calls from someone, who knew someone, who was a guest at an event I spoke at and would I please come to their (fill in the blank)?
I’ve presented at all kinds of venues: schools, Churches, Senior Centers, Retirement Communities, I’ve even done a birthday party for a woman who turned 80 years young. She got a real kick out of the corset and crinoline.
I really love what I do: I relish the research, love the sewing, and I completely enjoy meeting new people and sharing what I’ve discovered about the history of fashion.
Last week I was having a conversation about what I do for a living and in describing it I mentioned how I’ve been sewing for 50 years. Yup, that’s right, half a century! I know…. it’s been a really long time.
When I was about seven years old my Grandma Lee was on one of her visits to us and she was mending a loose hem on a pair of slacks. In those days women wore slacks not pants. Also, jeans were called dungarees. I kind of like that word dungarees, I think it sounds exotic now, but back then I thought it so old-fashioned…… but I digress, Back to the hemming of the slacks.
If you’ve read my blog post on Influences you’ll already know how much I loved my Grandma Lee and I was simply star struck at anything she did, so when she threaded that needle and taught me how to take tiny invisible stitches in the hem of those slacks, I absorbed her tutelage like rain on a parched summer lawn.
When the mending lesson was over she found some scraps of fabric in my mother’s stash and gave me needle and thread and a pair of sewing scissors and put me to work making a dress for a small doll I had.
I wish I still had the doll and the wardrobe I fashioned for her. I laugh when I think of it and I’d love to tell you it was simply divinely chic but really…. it was pretty awful. The cotton fabric was a pale pink and I remember using navy blue thread and the stitches were just all over the place.
That’s ok, every artist has their beginning.
Before I wrap up this posting I want to shout out a big THANK YOU to two groups of ladies I spoke to this week.
Monday, I was with a wonderful group of Red Hat Ladies who call themselves the Pheasant Feathers, isn’t that great? They reside at Pheasant Hill Retirement Community, north of Harrisburg and each one was decked out in the required club colors of red and purple. They are my inspiration for my next dress…. definitely red and purple or maybe purple with red trim. Whichever I choose, you can count on my headwear having a Pheasant feather embellishment.
Thursday, found me at Country Meadows – the Leader Heights campus where I spoke to a nice group of mostly women, (but there were a few men this time). They asked lots of questions during my talk which I really like.
We discussed how dress styles repeat throughout history and the influence of military uniforms on the designs of ladies wear. I’ll have to get busy and write about those topics.
Meanwhile, I’ve got dungarees to mend.