9.28.2015

been awhile


After a long and furiously lovely week of workshopping a musical that renewed my love for the word, I had a day off to relax, and try to fight my body's desire to break down completely in a mess of allergy-slash-cold. 

I won.

Netflix was partner in this battle. Although I hadn't stitched in well over ten days, Ruggy left the house on Sunday with the order that I would chill and take it easy. This was a struggle. My petite stash called to me with its siren song, Gorgeous George gleamed purple, reflecting the light of the soft fall day outside the window... 

I turned on the TV.

(I hate to turn on the TV.)

I scrolled through Netflix.

(I HATE to scroll through Netflix.)

And then...after endless categories created to lure you into mindless bouts of bingewatching, I landed on Iris, barked WELL YEAH to the empty apartment, and settled in. About three quarters of the way through, the parade of color and texture was undeniable. I got up to cut out a bodice or two. The film ended, and Netflix slyly suggested Advanced Style. I shrugged my shoulders and I left it on, thinking I'd keep stitching with background noise. Two minutes in, I realized this required my full attention, even more than the Liberty tana lawn on my table. (Yeah.) I ordered some fajitas and sat my ass in front of the boob tube.

If I ever see Ari Seth Cohen on the street, I'm going to hug him, and ask if I can walk with him for a few blocks. Well, no, first I'm going to tell him that we shared the same best friend growing up. Then I'll continue with the inappropriate physical contact. What a beautiful film! I felt like I spent the evening with my Nan, or with the fashionable gal my Nan was, but could not be. Don't get me wrong, she had style, but she had too much generosity of spirit to embrace that style fully for herself. And too many years of making ends meet to be comfortable with spending a dime on herself.

She was a huge enabler of style for me, though. Almost every weekend, my Mom would drop us off at the mall, or we'd take the bus sometimes, and arm in arm we'd hit the stores, her applauding my choices and using her Social Security check to fill up bags for me, accompanied by a slice of S'barro pizza midway through. And chocolate cake to finish, of course.

If you've read the yammering around here, you've heard this story before. But what struck me last night was a deep regret, that I didn't know how to sew when she was with us. I think she would have delighted in it, in a way that a best friend would have, in a way that someone whose every Saturday was spent, literally arm in arm, in a New Jersey Mall would have: You can make those things for yourself now? IN ANY COLOR YOU CAN DREAM OF?  

I would have made her such things. I would have had to assure her that the cost wasn't much, I would have had to assure her that the time was so well spent, as in hindsight all our time together was, I would have had to tempt her into taking those things, but I would have draped her in color. 

31 comments:

  1. Hey Oona....Good Morning.

    My grandmother was a sewing teacher but died when I was 9 or younger I believe. I was her only granddaughter and was told her favorite. She would sew me things from scraps and I would be ever grateful as I didn't have much clothing.

    Since those days I decided that I must take up sewing as the tools were around the house but no teacher or active examples and took it upon myself to make my first Gone With The Wind skirt made from curtain material. I wore it almost daily. :-) Since then I made prom dresses, brides maids dresses & gowns to pay for and support my Vogue magazine & pattern wardrobe.

    I too wish my grandmother were here to see this transformation that started in 6th grade. She would have supported me 100% and helped me through those first pairs of pants I attempted to fashion from a shorts pattern....a No No. She would have explained why I could not wash my favorite new Vogue blouse created in 1980's rayon challis fabric that took hours and hours with hundreds of seams only to come out of the washing machine a very large ball of threads & buttons. I could go on...

    I do celebrate that fact that this woman did sew and with enough mad skills to teach others. I make whatever I create and think of her and her style and do my best to recreate that quiet smile of wonder she always had for me. I see that you no doubt do the same.

    Have a great day.

    Kimberly

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    1. Kimberly, I love this story! Especially that third paragraph, it's nice to imagine the moments of instruction...

      I really do think of mine far more often than I mention it here, especially when sewing. It used to be when baking, as she was a wonderful baker-- the process seems quite similar to me.

      you have a beautiful day as well!

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  2. i am so glad you had a lovely week and such a refreshing, rejuvenating and healing weekend. beautiful thoughts to start the week with!

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  3. I thought you might be workshopping a musical...not. Even after googling, I'm not 100% sure what that means, LOL. You got some 'splaning to do!

    Anyways, it is so very nice to see you...is that your cute little mug in the photo? The one near the ketchup? Happy to hear the cold did not win.

    I'm also happy you shared your Netflix story. I must now go check to see if Canadian Netflix also has Iris and Advanced Style. It didn't occur to me that Netflix would offer these shows.

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    1. HAHA! So, workshopping, or doing a reading, is something that occurs in the early stages of creating a musical, when the writers are at a point when they need real live bodies & voices to see if things are working. It usually involves a week of 6-8 hour rehearsal days, lots of last minute rewrites and new songs, with a small invited audience at the end. On performance day you end up with lots of crazy looking pages with highlighted notes and scribblings and great big Xs and you just hope you don't get too much wrong ;)! There are also longer 4 week workshops done in later stages of creating.

      Photo-wise that's my uncle, this was waaaaaay before I was a twinkle in my dad's eye (and it occurs to me I didn't get photo approval for including his smiling mug. Oops!).

      I was shocked to see these on Netflix too! I also saved Yves St Laurent, a subtitled French film.

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  4. What a heartfelt post and I hear you. I wish my mom knew me as a seamstress just like you do with your Nan. I couldn't even sew a button when she was alive yo. My mom lived a great life though, and from all those S'barro's pizzas, it seems like your Nan did too. But I think of my mom as just in the next room - I will see her again. And when we do, we will revel in all the fabric and trims and make them something grand.

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    1. "just in the next room." i love that, maddie.

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  5. Gah, you've made me teary with your could-have-been memories! My grandma was a great seamstress, worked in a tailor's shop for years. My mum didn't have a store-bought dress until she was about eleven years old. She developed Alzheimer's when I was still young and died when I was in my mid-teens, so she never even knew I'd sewn a single stitch. I have inherited her giant tin of vintage buttons as well as a bunch of random habedashery and a half-finished embroidery, and her beautiful old Singer complete with wooden carry case is safely tucked away in a cupboard until I finally have time and room to claim it, but she never got to see my sewing.

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    1. i feel like sewing skipped a generation, and now there are so any of us who wish we could share our work with our grands. did your mom sew as well?

      it's so wonderful that you have those things to remember your grandmother by. you might frame that embroidery!

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    2. My mum used to sew, but not for a long time. But she knits, which I can't do no matter how many times people have tried to teach me!
      Framing the embroidery is a great idea, I might have to do that.

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  6. Awww, so lovely. Makes me very glad my Granny is still around and takes delight in my sewing! I always feel awkward that she sewed so much for the family because she had to, and now it's my luxury project... but it sure if fun to talk about anyway! :)

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    1. yeah, the reasons for sewing have certainly changed in some parts of the world! maybe you should sew her something completely luxurious/frivolous, i'm sure she'd get a kick out of it!

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  7. I binged on netflix docos earlier in the year after I saw 'Dior and I' and another one I enjoyed was Bill Cunningham New York. I was lucky to find 'Iris' on in flight entertainment recently (with 2 hrs of an international flight to go - it was filed under music documentaries!)

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    1. oooh, i'm adding that-- and late in the sunday binge i hoped for Dior & I, but no dice. at least, not yet....

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  8. I have been excited to watch this movie for awhile now - but haven't gotten to it. This post about your Nan made me cry. She sounds like an amazingly sweet lady! I too wish I had sewn when my Grandma was still around. My Mom tells me all the time how we sound the same when we talk about it, and my Mom gives me little tidbits that Grandma used to say about fitting. Even though we never really got to sew together, I still feel like she is always with me at the machine. :)

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    1. she was all kinds of amazing, as i'm sure yours was too! it must be so cool to hear that you sound the same about your craft, generations apart and never having shared it in life.

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  9. I have the chance to still have my grandma (85, and still a teenager in her mind!)
    She used to , as anybody else of her generation. I guess she was good at it, but beside some dresses she made me when I was a toddler, I've never seen her sewing clothes or complicated project...

    But man, she is SO PROUD that I've managed to learn sewing by myself!
    She even cracked up in tears at Xmas when I offered her a handbag I've done... At that time, I'd just jump into the wonderful world of sewing, and I can tell you that handbag was horrific! The seams where uneven and the finishing was poor.
    But she was (and still is) so proud of it that she used it as her "special event" bag, to go to church or to brag in front of friends! :-D

    I may have kids, but I wish I'll be the "sewing aunty" that gives good advices for my soon to be born niece!

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    1. i love that story!!! i can just see that 85 year old teen parading your bag proudly!!

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  10. So lovely to hear you had such a relationship with your nan and such fond memories!

    Advanced Style looks great - I watched Iris the other day and was felt fantastic afterwards. I thought her quotes on pretty at the end were brilliant too. What a woman ;)

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    1. oh, if you liked Iris then you have to see Advanced Style! just wait till you meet the redhead. her quotes are everything.

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  11. My Nanny (great-grandmother) is the person who bought me my first sewing machine. I had sewn costumes and recovered couches on my great-aunt's machine, and she thought it was time I had a machine of my own. She never really got to see me sew clothes for me, but whenever I pull out that old Necchi machine, Nanny is in the forefront of my consciousness. Three cheers for all the great women who have gone before us that inspired us so. Your Nan is surely so very proud of you!!!

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    1. she was never bashful about voicing her pride, that's for sure! how awesome that you had greats to back you up.

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  13. What a beautiful post. Makes me think of my nana and smile sadly. Thank you.

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    1. you're welcome, nina. though it's sad, it's nice to have the good memories.

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  14. I love this. It made me smile and remember my grandma. She taught me to sew when I was 9 on her hand-cranked Singer. I loved it.

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    1. so great!! i can picture little-you covered in technicolor, cranking away!

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  15. Great post. I watched Advanced Style a few weeks ago on Netflix and loved it. Advanced Style and Iris are inspiring. Only here once and you might as well live boldly.

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  16. *hug* That's all I can say...thank you for sharing this and bringing back memories... :)

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  17. this made me smile...........My Mom taught me to sew and allowed me as a 9 year old to operate her sewing machine with her assistance. She would often take me to her friends home who was a great sewer and did that for a living. Well all I remember is jaw dropping color at her friends home. She allowed me to touch and watch this process of rolls and rolls of beautiful fabric turn into a prom dress or wedding gown - and I was "luv" struck. I begged my Mom daily until she gave in. Fast forward to today - I make my Mom some of the most wonderful things - colorful, crazy...really whatever she ask for or doesn't ask for - if she just looks like she wants, needs or got to have - it is on my cutting table to be made for her. My luv of sewing is all due to her allowing my creative little mind at 9 to be just that - a creative little mind. Cynthia

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i thankya truly for taking the time to comment, i love a good conversation-- and hope you know my thanks are always implied, if not always written!