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When my mother sewed clothes for us

Back when it was less expensive to buy fabric and then sew it into clothing, my mother sewed what clothing we didn’t receive by hand-me-down. One time was particularly memorable.

My parents wanted to take all four of us to see what our country had to offer. When my sister was 18, just as she was graduating from high school my parents bought a camper. It wasn’t like the Recreational Vehicles that are available in the USA today. It was basically a converted panel van (Ford Econoline). It had the very basics for camping – cooler, stove, sink, and the top popped up so one could crowd in 6 people asleep, provided the two smallest shared a hanging cot. Not surprisingly, we slept outside as often as possible. We lived in that thing for 5 (yes, five) weeks. No, we didn’t kill each other, but we were sure tired of museums.

Knowing that we would be going to tourist venues, museums, etc. my mother knew that a child could be misplaced. She wanted to be able to say “have you seen my child”, but with some success of actually finding the lost one. To make it easy to describe us she decided that we should have matching outfits, make that two separate matching outfits.

There were three of us girls, and my brother was youngest. When you add in my parents, it would be really expensive to buy matching store bought clothes for the whole gang. So, since she knew how to sew, she decided to buy fabric and make the outfits for all of us.

One of the fabrics had a nautical theme. The girls each were to have a blouse, shorts, and a wrap-around skirt. My mom had a blouse I think. The guys had shirts. I don’t remember if she ordered the fabric, or bought it at a local store.

I do remember the day that she cut out the nautical fabric. She had folded the fabric in half lengthwise, and then put it on the floor. It stretched from the hall into the kitchen and probably the dining area. I was quite amazed at the amount of fabric.

The other fabric was a blue turquoise print. From this fabric Mom made dresses for herself and the girls, plus shirts for the guys. For some reason my brother’s shirt has survived all these years, probably because the panda has been wearing it a long time. (It was 1969, which explains the print.)

I remember that Mom sewed and sewed and sewed. We were drafted to help where we could, but I seem to remember that she barely got the clothes finished in time, and after some late nights.

Fortunately none of us were misplaced on the trip, so my parents didn’t have to find us by using our matching clothes. While that wasn’t the first time I was involved in sewing my own clothes, it certainly was a memorable one.


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