The Fabric of Life

The Fabric of Life
it was an investment
an investment in a relationship
my granddaughter asked me to help her with a school project
an important one for her graduation
she wanted to create and sew a dress
i said yes
and then went away
for two weeks
there was a timeline on this
and it had just become more confined
step one
we looked thru countless patterns
a collection thru many years
we measured her – the patterns were perfect for her size
we defined her style
and went shopping for 5 metres
colours, textures, warmth, beauty
and then we found it
a silky, soft, dark green velvet
almost black until it moved to show its green sheen
to sew a dress
there was much to address
cutting out pattern pieces
was there a nap?
laying out the pattern
pinning onto a moving target
reading the instructions
reading the instructions again
remembering how to thread a bobbin
marking the key intersection points with yellow thread
simple seams
or so it seemed until trying it
how to hold down a moving fabric that had a mind of its own
even pinned it would grab the other side and want to move away
try again
front panels done – there were three
side back panels done – there were four
and then a zipper
a looong zipper
basted the back seam with a long stitch
over the days, a few hours at a time, we progressed
it was slow, unpredictable
sleeves finished and hemmed
tried on and loved
i woke up one morning with the answer to the zipper
hand stitching, machine stitching we had tried, tore out
tried again
then the answer
sewed onto a sturdy interfacing it worked
onto  the setting in of sleeves, side seams and the fun part
a first fitting
a little tight around the hips of this strong dancer
groan – stitches were invisible hidden in the forest of soft velvet but doable
would we need to let out the side seams?
final stages and a final fitting
this time without heavy tights underneath
absolute joy and fun!
tins full of buttons came out and THE one was chosen
grandmother worked on the hem at one end
granddaughter sewed on the button and the loop
a loop made by hand with doubled thread
looped and knotted as the pair talk-ted
and in a close bonding of working together to our anticipated completion
we were soon done
a collaborative effort
her unwavering belief…we can do this Gagi!
a grandmother’s willingness to let granddaughter lead
the teacher verbally talking it thru
every step, every sewing term, every reason why
making sure we blocked the time
understanding our own limitations and discussing them
the beauty of the experience
witnessing the joy
sharing in the sense of accomplishment
wonderful elder time
awe of and awareness of a youth’s determination, passion and energy
precious relationship growth
and the fabric
why not choose the most beautiful fabric?
let it challenge us to find solutions when it tried to lead  us astray
let us persevere until we conquered
let us push on to our deadline and finish a day early!
oh that fabric of life!
and the pattern
why not choose the most intricate and difficult one?
it had the beauty that fit the vision
played out and then rearranged until it worked
lots of repositioning
lots of questions asked and directions to follow
paying attention to the patterns and pieces
also a lesson in life
thank you for this journey
and this celebration of life
the “we can do this”
has been done
gagi     01/22/23