Let the Cotton Threads Bind Us

Do the stars align? Do things happen for a reason? Is there a right time for everything?

Recently I have become more creatively productive. A few things have influenced this. I’ve moved house, have more time and space and also, I can thank my mum. Today I’m writing about why she is my Sew Style Hero!

There are obvious reasons my mum has inspired me. She taught and introduced me to all manner of crafts as a child. Growing up our household was full of art, music and books. The sight of a sewing machine, knitting needles or painting easel was familiar to me. Mum always had a craft project on hand for a rainy day and she often made toys and clothes for us. My favourite doll of all time I named ‘Daisy’. Mum was knitting her for a friend’s child. My three year old self, didn’t think this fair. As I watched the doll come alive at the end of the knitting needles, I decided she had to be mine! I still have her and she has clearly been loved over the years!

Doll, handmade doll, knitted toy

Daisy, my childhood doll made by mum

Watching and working with my mum I realised what was possible and could be achieved. I inherited my mum’s crafty creative genes though not her patience!

As an adult I studied visual arts majoring in ceramics. Although my creative work did not become my day job, I still crafted in my spare time, selling my work at markets and online. As much as I dabbled, I stayed a hobbyist, always distracted by work and life in general.

As mentioned I wasn’t as patient as my mum! I was always in a hurry to finish things, especially when it came to sewing! Often, I would ask mum for help with making or altering a garment, what I was really asking her to do was make it for me! I couldn’t wait to wear the clothing item and I couldn’t be fussed with the sewing of it.

Mum and me

In my teenager days with mum!

Mum laid the foundation for my creativity, she supported my endeavours, gave advice and opinions, she was always there if I needed her. But my latest burst of creativity has come about in a way because she is no longer there for me. I have had to learn to go it alone and not rely on her to fix things and at times do things for me.

Mum was diagnosed with cancer at the beginning of 2017. Just after I annouced my surprise engagement (surprising because getting married was not something I planned on, in fact I had vowed I never would!), though my mum was very happy about the news. I decided I wanted to wear a white vintage dress of hers for the wedding. Our plan was to embellish it together, to cover up the age stains on the vintage dress. Mum would tat flower motifs to sew on. She attempted to show me how to tat but I decided on an easier idea of cutting up reclaimed doilies to add to the dress. I’d leave the more skilful and tedious work to her. Tatting flowers was going to be a great project for mum while she undertook chemotherapy sessions. Mum tested out different thicknesses of cotton and different flower designs. She chose what worked best and was all ready to start tatting. Unfortunately, my mum passed away from pneumonia just before her next chemo session. This forced me to pick up her shuttle and carry on. I needed to complete my wedding dress but also, I felt connected to mum as I finished off her work. I watched YouTube clips on how to tat! I surprised myself by learning some basic designs as I knew I couldn’t palm it off to mum when I got frustrated!

 


I got married wearing the dress and it was perfect! I knew my mum was looking down on me, hopefully proud and bemused by my sudden craftiness.

 


I acquired Mum’s extensive sewing and crafting supplies. I felt compelled to use them. The smell of my childhood hit me as I opened up her fabric supply box. I chose retro pieces she used to make our clothes out of. I began experimenting and learning by sewing girl’s dresses.

 

Although I knew my around a sewing machine, an overlocker was another matter! I enrolled in a local introduction class to get my head around the machine. At this stage I know how to thread one but I still have a lot to learn and need to practise. But unlike my younger days I have a determination and desire to stick at it. Yes, my mum inspired me with her knowledge, skill and patience. I am inspired by the connection I feel to her as I continue on, using her crafting materials. But most of all I am inspired to sew, create and learn because I can. I am alive, I am healthy, so what’s to stop me?

I know my mum would be crafting right now if she could, so no excuses for me! Strangely enough my grieving through craft gently led me to blogging. Through my blog Blossom Revival 22 I have been sharing my thoughts, feelings and creative journey. It seems things are slowly coming together. Life and death has influenced me and I have been spurred on and inspired. I know crafting helped my mum out of some difficult times in her life, and I believe it can help me too. It’s important to honour my creative side and keep going in tribute to my inspiration. Thank you, mum.