Sew I thought you should know…

How grateful I am to all of you. Every single person who stops by and reads this thing. Seriously, it makes me a little dizzy sometimes when I consider how three years ago I didn’t know a thing about sewing, and now it’s this huge part of my life. It has become a form of therapy, an outlet of creativity, a way to be part of a community and a continual delight for me, so despite the long nights of hemming and the occasional (frequent) “what the hell does that instruction mean I hate facings/zippers/basting/the world” moment, I am so grateful for my little sewing addiction. Through sewing I’ve been introduced to so many amazing people and ideas, primarily digitally, and yet I feel connected with people across the world when they say, seam rippers, AM I RIGHT? And I’m like, bitch, please, I totally get you on every level.  Some of us serge and some of us hand stitch everything. Some of us love synthetics and some of us swear by naturals. Some of us love punk, some prep, some (a lot) vintage, some modern, some cutesy, some chic, but I have learned so much from so many people out there, and I can’t help but be insanely grateful for every blog, comment and query I’ve discovered along the way.

Brother Cadfael, contemplating how hard it is to measure stuff without opposible thumbs.

As a mostly self-taught sewer, I’m sometimes embarrassed by the gaps in my crafting knowledge. That’s why I’m so thrilled for each and every tutorial and tip that drifts my way. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen someone post something about “look how I finished this seam” or “easy buttonhole tips” and I’m like, seam finishing, eh? What’s that, then? (I do know what it is now, but it’s sad how long it took me to realize that A. fabric frays and B. you should do something about that.) So I’m grateful, deeply, to everyone and their blogs, because my god have you saved my sewing ass, as it were.

I’m also so so so grateful to my mom. And my grandmothers, both of them. Not because they taught me how to sew, but because they didn’t.

So many people out there have these amazing stories of sewing at their mother’s knee or knitting along with their grandmother. I don’t have that, you know what? I got My maternal grandmother, Isolda, could barely sew a button. And honestly, she never had to, she was the daughter of wealthy Russians who emigrated to Iran, then Persia, in the 1920’s. She had maids and pet bears (true story!) and several fiances. She was, in a word, amazing. And when she met my grandfather and moved to the States, she brought a bunch of fabric with her. And, somewhere along the way, bought more. And never used it, ever ever ever. Instead she bought bags and bags of clothing from American department stores and considered herself under-dressed in less than four pieces of jewelry. She read me Pushkin and took me to get manicures and made me eat weird Russian foods (which I in turn grew to love, and to this day am bonkers for borscht).  She has a sense of style that was essentially Parisian, but with that Eastern European taste for the gaudy (what? It’s true! I lived in Moscow! I would know!). And she never ever did anything with all the fabric and thread and buttons and snaps she had bought. She was a buyer. And it all sat, unused, until my mother unearthed the box from Iran and I discovered the yards and yards of shirting and boxes and bags of notions. My grandmother never knew about my sewing hobby, she passed away before it became such a big part of my life. But something tells me she would have liked it. She liked everything else I did (what else does a grandmother do?).

My father’s mother died when I was very small. But as it turns out, she was an embroiderer. I never knew.

And then there is my mother.

My amazing unbelievable delightful mother, who suffers through kickboxing with me and puts up with my bratty bitchy abuse when I force her to take my picture and lets me know gently, but in no uncertain terms, when I’ve made something that just doesn’t look awesome one me. My mother who, unlike her own mother, hates shopping and make up and buys small batches of really good quality clothing once or twice a year, at most. Thanks to her guidance and my ever-expanding pattern collection, I’m trying to erase the Forever 21 and H and M that have long littered my closet, and instead replace the crap with a small collection of great quality highly flattering garments. She is always willing to put up with me babbling about work or life or sewing techniques or why I think standing on an escalator should be illegal (it really should).  She watches Downton Abby and she laughs at Parks and Recreation so hard she once cried. She bought a fedora because she wanted a hipster hat (her words). She loves I Am Maru almost as much as I do. And she doesn’t think it’s weird that I jumped headfirst into making my own clothing and devoting a lot of my time to grainlines and pinking sheers. So while my lovely father just says, “nice” when I model a new blouse or skirt or hand dyed shibori inspired jacket, my mother actually stops, looks, and tells me how she really feels. And I am, and will forever be, grateful.

And of course, I must thank all the cats.

Tiny Tiger and Mr. Malevolent, who live with my parents.


And Brother Cadfael, who lives with me.

Thank you all, everyone, I am sew grateful. And as for anyone who actually read this 1000 word post, thanks for that too. I’m sew grateful for you, too.

Don’t forget about the giveaway! Debi listed 4 rounds of links here, and you can still enter my grand giveaway here! I will be drawing a winner on Sunday, so enter by Saturday, February 11th at 11:59pm and you will get a shot!


Filed under Inspiration, Sewing

16 responses to “Sew I thought you should know…

  1. I loved hearing about your family! What a unique group of women in your life! Like you, I’ve learned how to sew basically through YouTube videos, online tutorials, and blog tips. I’m really grateful for all the people that take time to post their trade secrets (and whose wonderful projects inspire amateurs like myself!).

    • Oh, I’m so glad I’m not the only one! And thank you very much, I’m really lucky to have such amazing women in my life. I am equally grateful for the world of the professionals who give us their trade secrets, especially those who do it in a nice way.

  2. You make fantastic clothes but most importantly, you write so well and share so naturally. You are contributing to the circle you are part of in a way that is somehow more special than sharing knowledge of techniques. I am grateful for your stories and the way you tell them!

  3. and standing still on an escalator should be illegal unless you have some kind of ailment that makes moving on escalators more hazardous than standing still!

    • Um, RIGHT? RIGHT? Exactly. That should just be a rule, that’s just a thing. Thank you so much for your kind words, I really appreciate them, and I’m so happy that you enjoy my writing.

  4. i agree about the escalator, at the very least if you’re going to stand, stand to the side and don’t take up the whole width of the steps.

    also, i read a little bit about your grandmother before but she seems fascinating. i want to know more! did her family move because of the revolution? they must have been pretty rich to have pet bears! what did the family do? did she ever go back to russia or iran? was he husband russian or american? how did they meet? if she had several fiances there must have been something special about your grandfather for her to pick him over all the others.

    • Oh, goodness. Well, my grandmother was Jewish, and so am I, incidentally, and Jews were allowed to leave Russia. Additionally they were quite wealthy, which must have helped. They lived in Southern Russian, near the Georgian border, in Tibliz. They left Russia in the mid-20’s and tried to find asylum in various countries, including France, where they lived for a year. Then they moved to Tehran, which at the time had really large Jewish and Russian populations. My great grandfather owned movie theaters, so that’s where the money came from. She just had one pet bear, really, which, horribly enough, isn’t that weird in Russia, awful as that is (when I lived there I saw a lot of small bears with collars and chains, I felt so bad). My grandfather was/is an American, third generation Polish, but when Poland was Russia, so everyone is Russian, and he was a solider in the US Army during the Second World War. He was stationed in Persia running supply lines up to the battle of Stalingrad, and they met on a train. She was engaged at the time, her second engagement. The first time her father didn’t approve. The second time she decided she would rather be with my grandfather.

      She never went back to Iran, though we do still have family there. But with the regime change a lot of Jews were killed or forced to leave, so I don’t think she ever really wanted to go back there. She traveled several times back to Russia, where we also have family. The last time she went with my mom, who was a Russian Studies Major. And I studied abroad in Moscow, so we’ve all been to Russia!

      Anyway, this is clearly a long story, sorry for the eons long response! But I’m so glad you were interested, and thank you for asking!

  5. I, too, am fascinated by this tidbit of a story about your Russian grandmother! Do you have any surviving pieces from your embroidering grandmother? Reading about your mom makes me really miss mine and wish I lived closer to her. Thanks for the AWESOME picture of Brother Cadfael lamenting his lack of opposable thumbs!

    • Ha, oh, yes, he morns his non-hands daily, it’s very sad. I’m so glad you are interested in my family’s story. I don’t have anything from my father’s mother, her life was a sad and difficult one. I wish I did, though, that would be really special. But I have so much stuff from my maternal grandmother, so that sort of makes up for it. As much as anything really can.

  6. Such an adorable cat! I absolutely know the gratitude for every blog visitor, and every comment.

  7. Lazy ass standers to the right!!! Your mom is adorable in her jammies! But I have to ask… why the “t” in borshch/борщ? I claim not an ounce of Russkiy blood, but did study Russian & live there after uni (Velikiy Novgorod, Piter, Moscow), and always wonder why Americans add a “t” to the end. Just curious.

  8. I have your mom’s pj fabric in blue. I bought it because it reminded me of swimming pool tiles XD

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