Tuesday, August 18, 2015

A Coming of Age

I started making clothes my grandgirl when she was six months old. Over the years I made her a bunch of clothes.  Dresses.  Pants outfits.  Nighties.  Jammies.  I even made her a formal dress for the Father-Daughter Dance when she was in the fourth grade and a Belly Dancing outfit to wear at Drum Circle.

The Christmas Kaity was four and a half, I made her three outfits--two dresses and a pant/top set.  By the time she opened the third matching box, she turned to me and said, "I hope it isn't cloooothes!"  ut of course it was.  And when she tried on the dresses, she loved them.  But she hated the top with the pants.  She said that it made her look like a clown.  And I could see her point...it had multi-colored stripes with zigzag on the collar and sleeves.  Pretty darn cute.  But right then and there I promised to never again make her clothes for a gift unless she asked and that I would never buy patterns or fabric without her wishes.  Thus started our many treks to Fabric Depot together.

We would stop at the pattern department and peruse through the patterns.  She would select about 10 she "loved!!!" and I would have her narrow it down to maybe three.  Sometimes I'd make four because she "just had to have it." Then we would wander through the entire store for fabric.  When she was four and five, her choices were of the fabric in the pictures on the patterns.  Hours of wandering through the store looking for just the exact piece.  Then I'd suggest something similar but add buttons here and there...the buttons were the tip-off...and away we'd go.
Every Fall before school started, we would take a trip to the store and select five patterns so she had a new outfit for every day of the first week of school.  We'd start with the Outdoor Sale for fabric that was anywhere from $3 to $6 a yard.  This was much cheaper than the $10.49 and $13.99 a yard fabric inside the store.  She always had colors and patterns in mind.  This girl has a great sense of color and has always had an eye for a pattern she wanted.  Sometimes I didn't want to make the dress or top, but I had promised and TaDa!  It happened.

Last year, when Kaity was going into the sixth grade, she selected only three patterns. They were all exactly what she wanted.  The patterns were no longer in the Children's sections of the pattern books.  Golly gee what size should I make?  Not a child??  

The top was simple.  All it took was the right size elastic for the waist.  I sewed in tiny round elastic in four strips.  And the collar...I made it the best I have ever made a collar :)  

The dress was sweet with a heart on the back.  We both loved the dress.  The third pattern was a purple plaid tunic that could be worn with tights or with jeans.  And we bought an elastic belt to keep it good.

Seventh grade: Wednesday was suppose to be Fabric Shopping Day.  When I asked her what time she wanted me to pick her up for lunch and fabric, she smiled sweetly and sadly and shrugged her shoulders.  I asked her if she still wanted me to make her some school clothes and it was so hard for her to say it, but no.  

"Mamaw, I don't wear dresses anymore and you said you can't make good pants that I would want to wear.  And I wear tee-shirts now instead of blouses."  I said that was okay.  We'll do something else soon.  I smiled and hugged her and reminded her she will have proms and parties and dances and a wedding...not to hesitate to call me and we'll go shopping for fabric :)

I knew this day would come but I had hopes it would come when she was like 19, not 12.  But for 12 years I had fun making her clothes and for eight solid years together we had a wonderful time selecting, trying on, modeling, hemming and wearing to everywhere.

And it jes don't get no better than that :)


Lorna McMahon said...

Your little girls is growing up. But not growing apart. She's a beauty!

BethE said...

I always enjoyed reading about your adventures in fashion with your grandgirl. So sweet.

Linda Schuh said...

I have another comment although I will post it elsewhere. What I want to say is maybe on the horizon there is another female child in your family with the same qualifications; girl growing up

Island Woman MJ said...

As we all know, 12 year old thoughts change mightily later on in life. Those memories will flood her with the love of her grandmother. And another dress will be made. Beautiful story and wonderful photos. Lucky lucky both of you!