Thursday, October 21, 2010

Warm Winter Coats

Today's post is about more than just a warm winter coat. It's a tale of the true warmth behind the winter coat.

Amy at Angry Chicken has posted photos of her daughter wearing the coat she made back in August, preparing for the arrival of cool weather. It's so beautiful and I know well the work that went into it's construction. Not the least of the problems is the bulky layers of fabric that must be fed through the machine.

Sewing winter coats seems to be a tradition in my family, but since neither of my children know how to sew, perhaps the tradition will end with me.

I sewed coats for my children. When they were young we were in no financial position to afford the beautiful Rothschild coats that some of the other children wore to church. Besides, sewing the coats myself meant that I could create in just the color and style I had in mind.

One day not long ago, my mother was visiting and watching me sew in my little studio. I was astonished when she commented, "Oh, my goodness. I'm amazed at your talent and the things you can do."

Huh? As if she had no clue from where creativity had sprung!

The problem is that her memory is compromised and she didn't remember the gorgeous velvet collared winter coats she would sew for us girls. The coats were detailed and difficult projects.

I left a comment on Amy's post and this is what I said.

"Well, let me tell you that I am over 60 now, and I remember so well the beautiful coats my mother would make for us each year. She made jackets and beautiful Rothschild inspired dress coats. There were four kids and my dad was blue collar, so the coats were sewn from necessity. But we never felt that. We just felt the care and time that our mom put into those coats."



So, like Dolly Parton's coat of many colors, my winter coats meant the world to me.

And mom...... I will remember for you.

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

--and Mom...I will remember for you.-- You ended your blog today with a lovely tribute to your mother. Thank you. HH

Lovella ♥ said...

I can so relate to this post. My mom took apart good woolen coats that were threadbare at the hems and remake them for me. She took apart mens suits to sew little suits for my brothers.

horse loving lineman's wife said...

I don't remember my mom making us girls (2) a coat; but I still have the beautiful pink satin prom dress I wore to my junior prom; and the most beautiful, awesome, spectacular wedding dress she made for me over 25 years ago. Yards and yards of white satin, with little pearl-like buttons! Mom, I love you!! Thanks for the memory!

QuiltNCards said...

My Mom sewed all our clothes... even stuff I wore in college. I think my wedding dress was my first purchased dress. I wish she was still that person, but she has had some stokes and now she is mean to everyone. (A little memory loss is not always a bad thing.) Thanks for reminding me of a happy memory. <3 Terri

Thoughts on Life and Millinery. said...

Because of your post, we all will remember for her, and other women like her who did such wonderful things that they can no longer remember.

The Farmer's Daughter said...

Hi Suzanne! I heard about your blog at Vee's. Nice to meet you. I just wanted to say that I enjoyed reading this post about winter coats. My mother never made my coats, but she certainly spent hours at her sewing machine whipping up skirts and tops, dresses, etc. for me to wear when I was growing up. I remember she made a lot of her own clothes, too. She made a winter coat for herself once. Growing up on the farm, there wasn't much money for clothes, my dad preferring to put back money he made into the farm. So, sewing was more of a necessity than anything. My grandmother was quite a good seamstress as well. I can sew, but I just never enjoyed it. I did make some outfits for my daughter, and made the outfit I wore to my SIL's wedding. It turned out really well. Thanks for the memories.

Have a good day,
Cheryl

The Farmer's Daughter said...

Hi Suzanne! I heard about your blog at Vee's. Nice to meet you. I just wanted to say that I enjoyed reading this post about winter coats. My mother never made my coats, but she certainly spent hours at her sewing machine whipping up skirts and tops, dresses, etc. for me to wear when I was growing up. I remember she made a lot of her own clothes, too. She made a winter coat for herself once. Growing up on the farm, there wasn't much money for clothes, my dad preferring to put back money he made into the farm. So, sewing was more of a necessity than anything. My grandmother was quite a good seamstress as well. I can sew, but I just never enjoyed it. I did make some outfits for my daughter, and made the outfit I wore to my SIL's wedding. It turned out really well. Thanks for the memories.

Have a good day,
Cheryl

Vee said...

My mom also did a lot of sewing for us. One of my favorite coats was a red wool one, double-breasted with brass buttons. She didn't make it, but she did "make it over." I'm sorry that your mother is having any troubles with her memory...so is mine...it can be a titch scary...but then, I'm forgetting things, too. How about you?

Suzanne said...

Anon - Thanks, I appreciate the kind words.

Lovella - Necessity is the mother of invention. How clever and resourceful of your mom to repurpose them. I can barely discard even the smallest amounts of fabric in hopes that it can become something new and wonderful.

Lineman's Wife - Oh yes...my mom also made my beautiful pink peau du soie prom dress. The best thing about it? Nobody had the same dress. I would have loved a wedding gown but I got married in an antique gown.

Terri - I understand FULLY what you are saying. I'll probably comment more on this subject tomorrow on my blog.

Millinery - You are so right. There's no one to remember all the wonderful things my great-great grandmothers did. BTW, my grandmother was a milliner and she's the one who taught me to do the fine hand stitching.

Cheryl, Yes, I remember well all the other items my mom sewed. The teachers were so happy to get us in their classroom because it meant they'd get a really great handmade gift from my mom. HA. I think the teachers fought over us. I guess the Christmas gifts were worth putting up with us the rest of the year. I'm glad you found your way over from Vee's.

Vee - I love the coat buttons most of all. Oh yes, my dear. I'm already having memory issues and still another 20 years to reach my mom's age. This is NOT a good thing. HA. I am in a sandwich generation but you, my friend, are in a double-decker sandwhich generation. Phew, I admire your patience and stamina.

Nance said...

ahh. You will "remember for your mother".

It is exactly my goal, my role . . . to remember for my mother w/Alzheimers. I remind her of the many memories she has related to me . . . entrusted to me. I retell them to my Mama and watch for a spark of rememberance, of recognition. I gift wrap the memories and give them back to my beloved Mama.

Leslie T. said...

What a nice post, Suzanne. It reminded me of the wonderful things my Granny used to sew for us. She was an excellent seamstress when I was little. She made cute little dresses for my sister and me. I still have Barbie clothes that she made for me out of scraps of fabric. She had such clever ideas and would come up with original fashions. My Barbie was the best-dressed on the block.
She had also made my mom's beautiful ivory satin wedding dress, staying up late at night to sew on thousands of little seed pearls. I absolutely love that dress.
When I was three years old, my Granny had a thrombosis which left her suddenly and completely blind. She accepted this with a dignity and grace that I myself could never imagine possessing. She never once complained or questioned why this had happened.
The day she sold her sewing machine, she shed a small tear and said that it was like saying good bye to an old friend. And then she pulled herself together and smiled and carried on with her life.
She lived a very lovely and independent life for another 40 years. She was some lady. My mom and I sometimes talk about how we miss her, and we chuckle as we both observe that we're lowly worms compared to Granny and we could never be half the person that she was. She was the most loving, caring and kind person in the world, and there wasn't a person anywhere who didn't love her. Though life must have terrified her at times, she carried on courageously and never let on that she was anything but content.
Thanks for another great, memory-inducing post, Suzanne!

laurabeth1976 said...

That's a great story. My family isn't talented enough to sew our Winter Coats, but we do know how to get a good deal. We always go to Burlington Coat Factory together and everyone picks out their coats together. We have a lot of fun trying everything on and always find a great price one something we love. It may not be sewn by us, but they are quality and we still have great memories.