My interest in sewing is a path to my mother’s heart the same way it had been a path to her mothers. When I was a little girl, I would watch my mother sew, on the machine her mother gave to her. She was a thoughtful seamstress and would remove the stitches that could be improved upon, even if they did not matter to the end result, even if it was only for my Halloween costume. The one where everyone thought I was dressed up as a nurse when really I was a Dutch girl. Didn’t they see the tulip on my hat?
My mother gave me a sewing machine for my 25th birthday. That was six years ago and I have used it only once even though I do know my way around a sewing machine. When I was younger I took Kids Can Sew lessons with a few girls from my school. We made Esprit like tote bags and fished elastic through narrow fabric passageways. I learned I loved the sound the machine makes while chugging its way through a zig-zag stitch.
Sewing remains the way my mother and I connect. This past September, I was married. My mother made the runners for our dinner tables, each one of burlap. She spent many extra hours finishing the underside of each runner with a beautiful pink silk fabric that a guest would never see, thoughtful as ever, like the stitches of my Halloween costume.
On the day of our wedding my husband gave me a handkerchief. He managed to find one that was lace and perfectly soft. One that matched the fabric of my dress though he had never seen it. How could he have known? He told me that it just looked like something that I would love. And I did. I carried it in my last moments as a single person and my first moments as a wife.
Now, I find myself wanting to sew again. I want to sew unique handkerchiefs and give them to friends who are celebrating milestones in their lives. With the same reflection my husband gave to me, with the same care my mother showed to me, something to catch it all up in, a hanky that just looks like something they would love, something to carry in last and first moments, a path to their hearts.