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Monday, January 18, 2010

An interesting observation from Bulawayo

Why is it that the Modern Girl has such an aversion to sewing ?My dearly loved Mum taught me quite early to "sew a fine seam" - Mum was a great seamstress, everything she made had an "Harrods" look about it, I had quite the best wardrobe in the world when I was a child.Aunty Poppy Vowles gave me her sewing machine when I turned 18. Uncle George gave her a modern new fangled electric sewing machine but she was unable to fathom the darn thing out, so she would keep her treadle one next to the new fangled one, and quickly switch them when Uncle George went out of the room !!Hence I became the proud owner of a Singer with all the modern gadgets. (Well as modern as they were way back in the dark ages !!)Eveline School had obligatory sewing lessons in Form One and the very first garment we made was a pair of broekies !! How well I remember, they used a whole metre of fabric, they were enormous, gargantuan even, and they were turquoise blue which was the Eveline school uniform colour. It was compulsory to wear them, and if I remember correctly, we sometimes had "broekie inspection" to see if we were wearing giant knickers suitable to the status of a young lady !!Thank goodness Latin was offered as an alternative in Form Two and we could divert our efforts away from the sewing room, but that term's worth of sewing stayed with me and my love for stitch witchery bloomed when I much later became a Mum.My Babies had just the best nurseries, everything hand sewn by Mum from the curtains to the crib cover, from the tiny vests to the soft baby wraps.Mum also taught us embroidery and I found comfort in slip stitches, satin stitches, stem stitches and the like. My linen cupboard is still full of beautiful applique table cloths done with love by Mum, that I never dare use !!My two Girls were the best dressed girls always at the Falcon College Dances as year after year we scoured fabric shops, searched for dress patterns, and after much fitting and fussing, they arrived at the College Bus looking gorgeous.Sadly these two modern misses certainly did not inherit my love for thimble work and it seems that it is not a popular choice of subjects at schools these days. However I was thrilled to see that Girls' College in Bulawayo now has "Fashion and Fabric" back on the curriculum !!Mind you these modern misses are innovative if nothing else. I labored for hours to make a cute lace-edged chef's cap for my O level candidate daughter, while My Social Secretary Tracey made her daughter's O Level cookery hat in a flash out of an old bra strap, a white napkin folded into a triangle, and two safety pins......And it was HeeHoo who introduced the Girls, in my absence, to the natty invention of using a stapler to pin up faulty hems !! I will always remember way back when HeeHoo and I were first wed, most of his seams and hems were held together by staples, even in some most delicate and vulnerable areas !!Sewing is such an amazing art and the person who has perfected it in Bulawayo is Jen Brebs whose every gift, large or small, is lovingly sewn in exquisite cross stitch.One's life was the richer in those tapestry days gone by, I still examine the "Family Quilt" with fondness as I can uncover the threads of a whole life time of beautifully sewn outfits.Every tiny piece in the patchwork brings home wonderful memories of dresses made so lovingly all those happy years ago.

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