Dressmaker

2 Apr

My Take

DiVoran Lites

 

 

 

 

Every fall before school started
Mother took me to The May Co.
In Denver where they had a
Perfume fountain in which I dipped
My fingers and got a stern look
From a clerk. Well, what’s perfume for?
And I’d had a bath before we got there.
We ordered clothes so that they came
To our small town at the foot of
The Sangre de Cristo range.
On the mail truck.

When Daddy was away in the war
Fabric was rationed.
So, Mother and Grandmother
Took old clothes from
The attic and made dresses and pants
For my brother and me.
One time I was so tired of standing
For pinning up hems that I
Ripped the a dress from top to bottom
And ran out of the room.

Many years later, I had a toddler daughter
Who needed pretty clothes.
Why don’t I make some?
Oh, because I can’t sew.
So I signed up for a night
Class at the high school
And left our daughter at home with her daddy.

Our sewing teacher came from Hungary
With an elegant accent.
With a long history of European Couture
She knew everything about
How clothes had to be assembled.
Rip instead of cutting to get a
Straight piece.
Lay the pattern just so…
To take up the least
Amount of material
Line a jacket with satin, and
Hem the lining separately
Above all, match the natches
(Which we called notches.)
Cut one garment at a time
Cheap ready-to-wear pieces are
Cut in piles with power scissors
Which make the drape warped
When sewn together
Sew in the new invisible zippers by
Hand, not on the Singer.
Innovation is fine, sloppiness is not.

Then Bill and I had a little boy and
When he was two
I made matching sailor suits
For him and his sister
From quality gray gabardine—
Wide collars with red rickrack
And stars in each corner.
I wished that Mother and Grandmother
Could see my work
But by then, they were far away.

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