Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Thankful Sewing

Today I'm blogging for another "Sewing by Ti" tour. This month's theme is "Thankful Sewing." Although I have much to be thankful for year round, I appreciate this season and it's reminders of the spirit of thankfulness.

In my sewing journey, I have many people to be thankful for. My husband is encouraging, my kids appreciate their handmade clothes, my dad brings me fabric from his travels to African countries, my mom and sisters enjoy what I make them...

But today I want to dedicate this blog post to a very special person. Without her I don't know if I ever would have picked up sewing in the first place. This is a hard post to write. It's personal, and I don't always do personal very well. 

Today I want to talk about my Grandma Ginny, or GG as we used to call her. My kids called her GGG, for Great Grandma Ginny.

GG passed away a little over a year ago and I miss her terribly. I am very thankful for the time we had together and how encouraging she was to me. 

A little over six years ago, I had two toddler daughters. I decided I wanted to learn how to make them hairbows. Although I have always been creative, I was never very crafty. But I thought this would be a craft I could get into. 

As I was researching how to make hairbows online, I stumbled upon sewing blogs. I was instantly hooked. The clothes I was seeing were adorable! I thought of all the possibilities if I could make my girls their clothes. I wouldn't be limited on what the stores were selling. 

I remember coming over to my grandma's house with fabric and two toddlers in tow. I asked my grandma if she could teach me how to sew. Of course she agreed, because she would do anything for her grandchildren at the drop of a hat.

She asked if I had a pattern. The blogs I had read online were creating their own patterns, so I told her that was also my plan. No pattern, we can just make our own, can't we? GG didn't make my idea seem crazy, even though it was.

She helped me make a pattern and taught me how to use her machine. I needed her help for every step of the way, but she was patient and happy that we were doing this together. 

It took me several days of spending time at my grandma's house, but we finally finished that dress. 

It was supposed to fit Eve, but was a little big on her and fit Kylie perfectly. Maybe I should have used a pattern. Regardless, they are only a year apart in age, so it wasn't too far off. The main takeaway was that I was instantly hooked. I made that dress! What a feeling of accomplishment! From that day on, I sewed. 

Throughout the years, GG was my biggest cheerleader. She always acted impressed with everything I made. Coming from her it meant a lot. She was an experienced seamstress. She used to sew clothes for her own five children. She was head of the quilting group at her church. She even had the nerve to act like my sewing was better than hers. I knew it wasn't. She swore it was.

My mom and my Aunt Sara told me that when they had sewing projects from home ec. or 4H or I can't even remember, that GG, their mom, would tell them to rip stitches out if it wasn't perfect. She would make them do it again until it was. She never did that to me. I guess you treat your grandchildren differently than your children.

I always loved showing GG my new projects. Every time I would make something, I would get excited thinking about showing her. Her reactions never disappointed me. 

One project in particular is especially special. Last year, GG had just given me several fabrics that she found when she was going through her storage. I didn't waste any time sewing up a cardigan out of a mystery pink knit. 

I blogged about that cardigan here. This is how I styled it in the blog post.

Although I have worn that exact outfit once or twice, I typically wear the cardigan over a t-shirt with leggings or jeans. I actually wear this cardigan a lot, especially since it reminds me of my grandma, and it's usually styled like this:

But there is more to this cardigan than just the fact that it was fabric given to me by my grandma.

Shortly after making this, GG suffered a stroke. The stroke affected her speech and she was not able to speak after it happened. She was also mostly unresponsive. She never recovered and passed away a couple weeks later. 

One of the first days that I went to visit her in the hospital, back when hopes were still high, I wore this cardigan so I could show her what I had just made out of her fabric. When I showed her, she became very alert. Like I said, she wasn't very responsive most of the time, so this was a big deal. She just kept looking up and down at it. This was the most I had seen her move her head the whole time.

Finally she locked eyes with me and I could tell she was wanted to tell me something. I could tell she was trying to move her lips but couldn't. The look she gave me will forever be locked in my memory. She liked what I had made with her fabric. I just squeezed her hand and I can't remember what I said. 

Sewing is not the only bond I had with my grandma. But it was one thing that was special between us. Honestly it wouldn't have mattered what my hobby was, she loved everything her children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren did. She was everyone's biggest cheerleader*. But I'm thankful that we could share that hobby, if only for a little while. 

I have a whole lot more I could share about GG. She was hilarious, a prankster, the friendliest person, the worst secret keeper...  I should write more about her if only for my own memory's sake. But I'll stop now, my eyes are watery. I miss her, but I'm thankful for having her in my life. 

*I mean, she even showed up to watch our intermural flag football team play** in college. (My cousin and my now husband were both on the team with me.)

**And lose.

As part of the blog tour, there are lots of bloggers also sharing about being thankful. Check out the schedule below. But first, there is a giveaway this time as well. Click on the rafflecopter link to find out more and to enter to win! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thankful Sewing Blog Tour
Intro to the tour
November 1st: mahlicadesigns Sewing with Sarah

Week 1:
Nov 1st: Tenille’s Thread
Nov 2nd: Candace Ayala
Nov 3rd: Hazelnut Handmade
Nov 4th: Musing of a Seamstress
Nov 5th: Sewing Portfolios
Nov 6th: mahlicadesigns
Nov 7th: Seams Sew Lo

Week 2:
Nov 8th: Margarita on the Ross
Nov 9th: Stitched by Jennie
Nov 10th: Sewing with D
Nov 13th: 5 outof 4 Patterns
Nov 14th: Tales of a Southern Mom

Week 3:

Nov 15th: Hazelnut Handmade
Nov 16th: Octaves of Color
Nov 17th: Kainara Stitches
Nov 18th: Kutti Couture
Nov 19th: The Petite Sewist
Nov 20th: My Heart will Sew On
Nov 21st: Needles to Say

Week 4:
Nov 22nd: Back 40 Life
Nov 23rd: Lovemade Handmade
Nov 24th: Sewing by Ti
Nov 25th: On Wednesdays We Sew
Nov 26th: Paisley Roots
Nov 27th: Mermaid Mama Designs
Nov 28th: Sew Haute Blog
Nov 29th: Ma Moose Handmade
Nov 30th: Everything Your Mama Made & More


  1. Love it. Your connection with your grandma is awesome. She sounds like a neat lady.

  2. What a beautiful relationship you had with her, and so wonderful to have a way to remember her every day by sewing and wearing things you made- the cardigan is beautiful and even more special for the story you shared.

    1. Thank you! I was nervous to share since I don't post too many personal things on my blog, but I am happy to have it written down to revisit later.

  3. I'm on the verge of tears. The bond you two shared was so sweet. My grandmother and mother used to sew and they give me reactions that mimic your grandmothers. It's great that you had that and have something you can always remember her by.

    1. Thank you, that's wonderful you had similar reactions from your mom and grandma. My mom never took to sewing, but she always compliments what I make.