I found myself tripping down memory lane after running across this blouse again. I made it in the summer of ‘68 while staying with my great-aunt. She lived year-round at her lake house and each summer, along with my cousins, I’d spend a few weeks swimming, fishing, picking blackberries, and basically running free; my own private summer camp. When the sun got too hot, I would retreat to the cool of the shade and doodle in my sketch book, write love letters to my boyfriend (the Mister), or sew. Sometimes I’d help “Nanny” with one of her quilts. As far back as I can remember she always had a quilt in progress or some other type of handwork on her lap, like most of the women in my family did back then. So, I guess it just seemed natural for me to have a stitching project too.
I was fourteen at the time, and really into peasant blouses. I’d been practicing sewing my own clothes and these tops were easy to make and I made a lot of them. Mostly from sweet calico cotton prints that grew soft and faded from the California sun, but this one, I embroidered, using a Vogart pattern I’d found at the local five-and-dime store. My memory of stitching this, and all the peripheral details of that time are as clear as if they happened yesterday. Memories seemingly held in place by the stitches themselves.
Often, I get letters from women who share similar stories, of how an old pattern or piece of needlework has had certain significance in their lives because it reminds them of something or someone from the past. Just this week, Elizabeth shared a story with me and Lisa shared another about a set of towels that had been in her family. I’m always so tickled when I get letters like this. Old patterns have a way of coming full circle sometimes!
I was thinking about all this and thought it would be fun to encourage more stories. Just share your thoughts in the comment box, so others can also read them, and I’ll pick a few at random to receive a free pattern from my website. Contest is open to one and all, near and far. You don’t need a blog to participate, but if you have a post and a picture all the better (be sure and include the link). I’ll announce the winners next week sometime. That should give everyone who wants to participate enough time to do so. I'm looking forward to reading the fond memories this conjures up!