Monday, July 06, 2009

Down Memory Lane on a Sunday afternoon

I had been looking forward to Sunday... A day just to myself and my own family with no extra people. Sometimes when I've been around a lot of people for a long time, I need some serious recharging time, preferrably alone.

You can imagine my dismay when Darling Man announced that his other son and granddaughter would be coming to spend the afternoon. I made my plans for escape.

There are certain businesses around town that I always want to stop into to just spend a little time poking around. Badcock Furniture is one. Joann Fabrics is another. But I never seem to have those few minutes to do that, and I drive by glancing longingly at the storefront as I go to wherever I'm supposed to be next.

Sunday, I decided to go to Joann's.

I'm not sure why I have this sudden fascination with sewing. My mom taught me how when I was pretty young, so I know the rudiments. But the passion for it never caught fire in me. I've always had a sewing machine, but it's mostly been used for making curtains and fixing ripped seams, potential unrealized. Then my mom's best friend gave me her sewing cabinet. It needs a little work. The spring mechanism is missing that lifts the machine up to use height. But it's got nooks and crannies for supplies and a flip-out leaf that you can use for long projects that you don't want dragging the floor when you sew it.

The final factor in my new interest is that I hate the clothes that are being sold these days. They never fit right. Clothing manufacturers believe somehow that larger ladies still have toothpick arms. And there's never enough fabric to let it out. Add to that, all the clothes I see seem to come from Hookers-R-Us factories. They're clingy, show of bits I'd rather keep covered and are absolutely inappropriate for work or anything else (besides walking the street).

I pushed open the door to a library-like hush. Women (and a couple of men) silently roamed the aisles, examining buttons or embroidery threads or flipping through huge books full of patterns.

I joined the pattern-lookers and began looking at clothes. THIS was more like it! Pleasing shapes, modest lines, versatile looks - I loved it!

BANG! One of the books dropped to the floor and a youngish mommy hissed, "If you don't sit down and be quiet, I will never bring you here again!" A beligerant little boy and girl looked right back at her and said "GOOD! We don't like it here!"

I had to stifle a giggle. Suddenly I was back in my own childhood, being dragged to the fabric store by a determined Mom. Brothers in tow. We spent a lot of time there, as my mother sewed most of our clothes, curtains, slipcovers - if it could be sewn, she made it. I didn't appreciate it at the time, but she was a very accomplished seamstress. Some of my favorite dresses were ones she made.

But the process was excrutiating to a young child. I spent way too many hours roaming around between tables of fabric and thumbing through pattern books without really looking at them. Gilberg's was the stuff my childhood was made of.

I miss this place now. Joann's is really the only fabric store in town. There are a couple of others with specialty fabrics or upholstery material, but for general sewing, Joann's is it. I roamed the fabric tables after thumbing the patterns, and felt the material. Stiff, silky, stretchy, broadcloth, velvet, chambray. Oriental silks. A world of wonder for your fingertips!

Now I hear that Joann's may also be going out of business. When/if it goes, we will be stuck with the expensive specialty shops or the tiny selection of Wal-Mart. Dad suggested that if it went, there was always online - but doing it that way... there's no way to FEEL if the fabric is right. If I am to get started sewing again, I'd better do it now, while I still have options!


Hoosier Girl said...

I would like to sew again. I LOVE fabric stores - even though I have no practical use for most of what I admire.

Great post.


nikki said...

I don't know how to sew at all. My MIL on the other hand is a genius!

Nienke Hinton said...

So did you buy anything? I'd grab the patterns you like before the shop disappears! Maybe indulge in a few yards of nice material...

Stephanie, Mama Dramatist said...

OH! Another art dying for lack of commerce!


But I will tell you I've had some good experience buying fabric on line!

Janis said...

That is great that you like to sew. I used to years ago, but I no longer have a sewing machine. This is the first time hearing that Joann's is going out of business, I hope its just a rumor. I hear you on the clingy clothes, are we all suppose to be pencil thin!!

margaret said...

Hahaha, Hookers-R-Us!! Love it! And I hear you - I can spend hours poking around the fabric store. My fabric mecca is G Street Fabrics, which I think is local to the DC/MD/NoVa area. And as much as I adore shopping online, you are right - for fabric, you have to see and touch it first. Let us know how you're doing!

Patience said...

I have a sewing machine. Somewhere. But, much better than that, I have a little old lady who does all my sewing/repairing/hemming/etc. for me at a very reasonable price!

I love her!!