Sewing a Circle

December would not be December without a sewing project intended for gift-giving. Last year found me working furiously on a quilt for granddaughter Aida. This December I finished a dress for her the Saturday before Christmas, just a day before she and her parents arrived for the holiday. Just a few days before, I had finished a corduroy jumper for her.

This jumper turned out to be a little too big for our petite little girl, so she will have to wait a bit to wear it.

This jumper turned out to be a little too big for our petite little girl, so she will have to wait a bit to wear it.

Rick rack and primary colors – a favorite combination!

I knew this was the year I had to make this flannel “Black-watch” plaid dress.

Sewing a circle

I had limited fabric, enough to fit a 21-month-old, but only enough.   The fabric was left over from a dress I had made for her mother (my daughter) twenty-some years ago. The pattern I used actually was designed to be smocked below the front yoke, but I had neither the time nor enough fabric to manage that little trick. So I took out some of the width of the skirted section of the dress, machine-gathered along the smocking lines and placed rick-rack on top of the gathering lines. Another line of rick-rack along the lower edge of the dress tied the whole thing together.

With plaids to match, I was really tight on fabric.  I faced the hem to stretch it out a bit, but the dress ended up fitting Aida perfectly!

With plaids to match, I was really tight on fabric. I faced the hem to stretch it out a bit, but the dress ended up fitting Aida perfectly!

It's difficult to pose for a picture when there is cooking to be done with Aida's new kitchen!

It’s difficult to pose for a picture when there is cooking to be done with my new kitchen!

What does everyone want  for Christmas dinner?

What does everyone want for Christmas dinner?

Next year, I think I had better start earlier, as next year I will be making another baby quilt (now that I have set a precedent!), this time for Aida’s brother or sister, due in April. And, of course, Aida will have something handmade by me as well. This is what we, as sewers, do. We give a bit of ourselves even when it means late nights, and fitting sewing time in between a million other things.

Did someone say sewing?  I prefer taking it easy!

Did someone say sewing?

And then, in what seemed to be a time-defying split second, it was the end of the year – and the final chapter in one life. My 90-year-old mother died on December 31, a much-needed peaceful end to a life increasingly compromised by illness. My mother sewed for me when I was young. And I am sure she, too, spent hours making Christmas gifts and dresses for my sister and me.

My mother taught me to sew, and that has made all the difference.

The beginning of a new year now brings with it the anticipation of newborn life and the continued wonder and joy of our little granddaughter. The never-ending circle of life has never been in clearer focus for me: it is scattered with fabric and buttons and pins and thread, just the way it should be.


Filed under Sewing for children, Uncategorized

28 responses to “Sewing a Circle

  1. What a beautiful little girl and she has an amazing grandma. I’m sure she will have fond memories of grandma sewing for her. So sorry to hear about your mother but she gave you a skill which brings much joy to you and your loved ones.

  2. Aida is precious! Nothing I like better than a plaid dress with a Peter Pan collar on a little girl! And now — another quilt!

    On another note, it is always hard to lose one’s mother, no matter the circumstances. Glad that she transitioned easily. My mother, like yours, taught me to sew as a little girl and we still commune in my sewing room! May warm memories sustain you.

  3. What a beautiful and sweet little granddaughter Aida you have! She is very lucky to have you as a grandmother 🙂 Her little dresses that you made for her are just adorable!
    I am very sorry to hear of your mom’s passing recently. I’m sure that was a very difficult way to end the year. My loving mom taught me to sew as well, and I have many warm memories of her and her joys of sharing her many creative talents. May she rest in peace, both your mother and mine.

  4. Mary Lynn

    The best of times and the worst of times. I’m so sorry about your mother: it sounds like you have wonderful memories. It’s hard not to be someone’s daughter, though. Your granddaughter is adorable – so cute in her lovingly made dress. I was shocked that my daughter (who has a 2 month daughter -1st grandchild 🙂 and who ALWAYS complained about her homemade smocked dresses said she hopes her daughter can wear hers that I’ve saved!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Knock me over with a feather. Aida looks so sweet and huggable!

  5. So sorry about your mother, but I’m glad to hear it was a peaceful passing and she is no longer suffering. What a wonderful gift she gave you with sewing!

    Your grandchildren will be spoiled because of the skills your mother passed on to you. What adorable dresses for an adorable little girl – Aida is beautiful!

  6. Heather Myers

    What a comforting thought about the circle of life. And pins, buttons and thread and fabrics. My condolences on your mother’s passing.

  7. Bernadette

    I am so sorry to hear about your Mom-mine is now 91 and she also taught me how to sew, cook and DIY. She also taught me how to pray, and I will keep you and your family in my prayers tonight.

  8. So sorry for your loss, but glad to hear your mother passed away peacefully. Your granddaughter is so cute! Plaid dresses and white collar look so lovely on little girls!

  9. Catherine

    Congratulations for your wonderful little girl and her future sibling. Both the dress and the jumpsuit are magnificent. May your quilt project bring you solace and help you grieve the los of your mother.

  10. How lovely! I am so sorry to hear about your mother.

  11. I am sorry for the loss of your mother. Wishing you much comfort and pleasure in your sewing and family events for 2015. Your granddaughter looks just lovely in her new dress.

  12. Deb

    Karen, Loved the dresses you made for your granddaughter…what fun…and now you are looking forward to another grandchild–congrats. Sorry to hear about your mom’s passing. Deb

  13. So sorry to hear about your mother. I do love the plaid and you grand daughter is a sweety!

  14. Susanna

    What a beautiful post, Mom! We are so grateful for your amazing talents, generous spirit, and creative energy. We love you. I hope Aida loves sewing like you do. And learns to be as classy and well-dressed as her Coco. (As an aside, Aida looks so funny with her wild-woman hair and socks in these photos. Maybe someday she’ll keep a bow in her hair?)

  15. I’m glad you like the post, Susanna. As you know, I was a little hesitant about sharing such personal news, but now I feel good about it. As far as Aida in her socks and “wild” hair – she looks adorable in both!

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