I come from a family of sewers. Both of my grandmothers sew, and my mother was a professional seamstress for a while, making prom dresses for girls in our area. Notice that grammatical tense: was. Today is the seventh anniversary of my mother's passing and I'm struggling really hard today.
I think part of the struggle is because this is the first year I'm not denying the fact that I'm not okay and a lot of it has to do with sewing. Last year was the first year since 2007 that I let myself sew clothing to wear everyday. Before then, the last thing I made was my senior prom dress. I think it was an emotional wound that I didn't want to open. My mom used to make us matching outfits for holidays and helped me make a 4-H project every summer. Wearing those clothes was a point of pride for me, but after her death, I really just couldn't bear it. Every time I pressed on the presser foot of a machine, I think of her giving me "Mom speeding tickets" to ensure my stitches were straight and I didn't go too fast. Picking out patterns reminded me of the hours spent in Jo-Ann picking out 4-H projects. In short, I couldn't come near a sewing machine without feeling tremendous loss.
When I started running four years ago, I soon found out that people ran half marathons in costume. Of course, I wanted to run 13.1 miles dressed as a Disney character, so I began flirting with the idea of sewing again. At first I hand-sewed things, but eventually my husband got to the point of saying that I should just get a machine since it would mean less curse-words. I bought one and then a serger, but still refused to sew full articles of clothing for everyday wear. I'd sew running costumes and wear them once, but that was it. I wanted to avoid the conversations about how I learned to sew because I didn't want to talk about it.
Then, a year and a half later, I couldn't find a dress for my brother's wedding. He was getting married in St. Louis at the end of July and I wanted to be comfortable and nothing at the stores fit the bill. So I decided to sew something for the wedding. Admittedly, I didn't know what I was doing, and I ended up making a pretty terrible SUAT Brazi dress. And the compliments came, but since it was my family, everyone already knew how I knew how to sew. The awkward questions didn't come, and the dress was amazingly comfortable given how hot the wedding was. I felt a part of me come back to life.
I've sewed a lot more in the past year and started this blog. There's no hiding from it anymore when people ask me how I learned to sew: I learned from my mom. The awkward conversation of me explaining that my mom passed away in 2009 always happens, but by not avoiding it, I'm finding that I'm finally healing. I still think about "Mom speeding tickets" and wish I could call her when I have to insert a zipper, but I've stopped running away from the memories I have sewing with my mom, even if it's just one stitch at a time.