I’m seeing those tendencies of the younger days coming to fruition, as she comes into her own. It it so wonderful to watch, this growing up thing. When she was younger I would find her “decorations” hanging all over the house. She would put outfits together on a pink wired decorative dress figure, so proud of her creations that consisted of dresses, scarves and mis-matched pieces.
For her birthday this year she asked for gift cards, so she could go shopping. Really? We are going there already I thought?
She received a few gift cards. I was surprised that during her first shopping opportunity at the local stores downtown, she spent her money Christmas shopping for her sisters (she’s a planner unlike me). Paying with her own Visa card and signing her name was thrilling for her! Oh the freedoms of age nine.
Then for round two, at a big box store, she got serious. She chose a pair of black patten leather high heal shoes and a bright pink fedora.
“Mom, fedora’s are SO in right now,” she told me. That was news to me. Maybe she read it that huge fashion magazine a mom friend of mine passed her way. She covets that magazine, leaving it on her sewing table to find inspiration.
I held my tong and reminded myself when I alternated between wearing a bright pink and bright yellow beret to the fourth grade daily. Along with florescent overalls and mismatched high top Converse shoes. Yes I was an 80’s child. It was SUCH a fun time to grow up. I suppose her discovery of Vogue is the equivalent of the invention of MTV and us watching endless videos before there were VJs or commercials on MTV.
She is going to be her own kid. And I’m bracing myself for that. And all this growing up business!
She has been very into fashion designing, keeping a notebook of her designs. On the Saturday before her real birthday – going into a week with two birthday parties in three days and my youngest turing four the following Monday – she told me she wanted to start sewing her designs. I told her that would something fun to work on together. With me thinking, we’ll have to put that on the back burning right now.
But Monday after school, after ballet lessons and after dinner she said, “Mom we need to sew three dresses. I signed up to be a fashion designer for open mic night on Friday.” Really!
Open mic night was at the school picnic, the day after one birthday party and the day before my youngest girl’s party at home. And she was NOT taking no for answer. She had her models lined up, and her sketches ready.
This mamas head was spinning!
“Well how are you going to do that?” I asked her. “You’ve never sewn a dress before.”
Her response was so simple and honest.
“But you have and you make it look so easy. You just do it,” she said.
I tried to explain. Yes I have sewn a few dresses, but simple dresses from a pattern and it takes many hours of sewing, and nights working into the wee morning hours. Which I didn’t have the energy to pull off during this busy week. Nor was I willing to do all work for her.
It is flattering really – although not realistic – that he my kids just think I can do anything with the snap of a sewing machine. Pants are too big? They hand them over and they get taken in before school while they wait to put them back on.
But to help her sew three different dresses, going from her sketches to three girls actually being able to wear them in a fashion show at school – I didn’t know where to start! But I knew I had to help her. I didn’t want to squash this strong desire she had to do something so important to her.
There had to be a compromise.
I explained, much to her disappointment, that it was was simply not possible for me to teach her how to sew three dresses in two days after school. It was Monday night, and Thursday night was her birthday party. But maybe we could alter some old dresses, making them look new but not having to sew three WHOLE new dresses.
We went to the attic and found three dresses that she found suitable to reuse and alter, using the important elements from her sketches. Which were ruffles and appliqués.
I showed her how make an outline of the dress on large brown paper, making allowances for seams and gathers for pleats. All winging it, hoping it worked. I oversaw her cutting the fabric, working the iron, and helped sew through the tricky angles and ruffles. We ironed heat’n’bond on fabric, she cut out appliqués and ironed them on one dress in three places – matching a ruffle added to the bottom of one dress that strategically covered up a stain on the dress. Recycling at it’s best!
She loved every second of the process and had an incredible attitude towards mistakes, lessons, and missteps in the process.
At one point she said, “I love sewing.”
Me in my, I’m having fun with a nine-year-old voice said, “Me too. I love getting an idea, cutting up some fabric and making something. It’s so amazing.”
Her response was, “I know. It makes me feel like I can do anything. But my favorite things is hanging out and doing it with you.”
MELT MY HEART.
In two afternoons and one evening after the younger girls were in bed – we finished three dresses for the fashion show. We really pulled it off. All her ideas, with my help.
At the fashion show my once SUPER shy kid walked in front of the crowd, grabbed the microphone and started talking about her fashion designs, the particular dresses her models where wearing and what season they represented.
It was getting dark, so photos were tough.
The fashion designer and her models.
As some one who started sewing later in life, with no formal training, I always thought it would have been cool to be one of those kids sewing her own clothes – Pretty in Pink style.
This Saturday my daughter starts private fashion designing and sewing classes at a local artists house. And I’m going along too, so I can learn, and know more how to help her at home. So in a way, maybe I’ll get to be one of those kids, with my kid.
Doing it together is SO much fun.