Gran and I have always shared our love of books and movies. I used to be one of those people who would buy any cheap movie I saw on sale...mostly the previously viewed ones at Blockbuster. Once I got past college, I settled down a little on the movie-buying craziness and only bought ones I really enjoyed. The problem is I like a lot! And don't get me started on books. I'm such a nerdy bookworm. I even liked reading books for school. My mom used to catch me secretly reading in my bed at night and she'd have to take my book away to get me to go to sleep, haha!
But what Gran and I have only recently shared is a love for sewing. As children, Gran would make all her grand-daughters the cutest dresses...and by cute I mean cute for the decade we were in. From left to right, my cousin Kara, myself, & cousin Daisy.
Gran made us these matching dresses for my aunt Alisa's wedding in 1986.
I was always in awe of the dresses she could make. For herself, she found a dress pattern she loved and made tons of dresses for herself in varying colors. I didn't realize until my 20s that her favorite pattern was kind of shapeless and considered by most people to be a form of a mumu. But Gran didn't care what people thought and she wore it as long as I can remember...with her Birkenstocks. :) "I know these shoes are kind of ugly, but I like them because my feet don't hurt in them. Other shoes squish my feet."
In June 2009, I decided I would try my hand at sewing. I actually had planned to make a skirt with my friend Susan. Her mom was going to help us. As I followed sewing blogs as "research" for my skirt, I started falling in love with Amy Butler fabrics and patterns and finding all sorts of online tutorials for bags. Then boyfriend (now husband) Kyle went out of town on a golf trip with his dad one weekend and I told him that I was going to sew myself a bag while he was gone. He laughed a little, knowing that I had NO idea what I was getting into. The last thing I had sewn was half of a skirt with my aunt a few years back and a blanket in high school for Project Linus. I'm often overly ambitious about projects I start.
I brought my pattern and fabrics over to my mom's house. I didn't realize that you had to wash all your fabrics first, so I had to wait for that to finish before I could start my bag. Thankfully, Amy Butler's pattern was very straight-forward, even for a novice like me, and my mother could help me with her machine. But of course, with my lack of experience, everything took a little longer than I had planned on. However, I did finish my Amy Butler swing bag that weekend, and even managed to make a simple tote bag as well.
my swing bag
I'm sure all sewers out there remember the first item they made. I count this as my first item as it was the first I made on my own. It wasn't my pattern, but it's my creation. I felt such pride in finishing it.
I love creating something new with my hands and my machine. And I love to take a pattern or idea and change it up to make it my own. And even more, I love it when someone buys a Lemon Drop item and LOVES the product, tells me it is exactly what they wanted. If I'm going to make money with something I love, I want to be sure that the person receiving it loves it as well.
I just wish I'd found this love of sewing when Gran was alive. For all the dresses she made for us girls over the years, I want to repay her with some gift of my own. I would make her an apron with butterfly fabric or a Bible cover for church. And I would sit with her and ask questions about sewing and take in her wisdom like a sponge.
So Gran, thank you for passing on some wonderful interests to me...even though I didn't fully appreciate some of them until you weren't around. I hope you'd be proud of me. You are a true inspiration in my life.
The last picture I have with Gran. Pretty appropriate that she was wearing polka dots as I am obsessed with them.