For Want of a Thread

My mother grew up during the great depression and the rationing of World War II. She never spoke about either of those events though. It could be that because she lived in the Midwest that neither of these events impacted our area as much as they did other parts of the United States. It’s another one of those things that I didn’t know to ask about when she was still alive. She died at the young age of 57 from metastatic breast cancer. That was over thirty years ago and I was busy being a single mother and working and starting a new career. It wasn’t until much later when I became interested in genealogy that I realized what wealth of knowledge I had lost along with losing the most important person in my life.

My mom was a seamstress. She worked in a garment factory after high school before she married my father. She continued to sew her whole life. I remember when I was little, she would make Barbie wardrobes and sell them to people at Christmastime. She also took in sewing for others. I remember one lady in particular brought mom slips in every color of the rainbow that she wanted mom to shorten. This was either in the late 1950s or early 1960s (probably the latter) when the hemlines began to rise.  And with all the pieces of fabric she cut off the slips, mom made me Barbie clothes. I don’t know how she did that. I don’t know how she could possibly have put sleeves in those itty-bitty armhole  or elastic around those tiny waistlines. But that was my mom. She could whip up a three piece suit in an afternoon. She didn’t pin her pattern pieces to the fabric, she used plates; she didn’t read pattern directions, she just knew how it needed to be done. She made my confirmation and wedding dresses.

After she passed away, I was given all of her sewing supplies. She must have had every color thread in the rainbow. She like to wear pastels and had polyester suits in most of those colors. I still have most of her thread. I don’t use them; I’m not a pastel person, although I do like shades of pink and coral. I had a shirt I needed to repair this morning, so I went to Mom’s pastel stash, and sure enough, I found the perfect color!

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