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Melanie's Debut

August 29, 2007

You know those lovely Fabric.com emails you get in your inbox a couple times a week (or even daily if you have signed up for our new Deal of the Day email)?  My job is to make sure those emails are planned, produced and scheduled on time.  It's a little bit technical, a little bit creative and a whole lot of fun.  I get to help Moniqa (our graphic artist) with some of the pretty designing and writing, while still utilizing the computer skills my programmer father instilled upon me.  Throw in some number crunching, and that's my day.

I grew up in a family of crafters.  From the moment I was old enough to comprehend the details of what I was doing, my grandmother had me on her knee helping my pudgy, unskilled hands guide the fabric through her old Bernina while she controlled the speed of the stitches.  My first project was a simple blue pillowcase with rainbow lace trim and a Rainbow Bright panel appliqu├ęd on with crooked zigzag stitches.  Roughly 20 years later, I still cherish that pillowcase. 

All through school, I was teased for knowing such an "outdated" and "old-lady" skill.  I would spend summers with my grandmother and my aunts, learning everything from doll making to quilting.  The first day back to school I would show up proudly modeling that summer's apparel project.  By the end of the day, though, I was ready to tuck the outfit far into the back of my closet where it could never haunt me again.  Sewing your own clothing was un-cool and a social indicator that you were poor, and we all know how mean kids can be.  In high school I managed to find a few other fellow crafters, but we were often considered kitschy and on the weirder side of creative.  I even remember at least one person equating my sewing skills to a step back for the feminist movement. 

Today, I see a change in the trends.  Women my age now regret not having the skills needed to make slipcovers or outfits or even simple alterations.  I have been to parties where I spent more time explaining how to make simple curtains than I did socializing and partying.  A whole slew of sewing magazines have popped up, aimed for the young, hip and trendy.  It seems that the "outdated, old-lady hobby" so many people shunned in the past is making a well-deserved comeback, and I'm glad.  I am grateful for all the knowledge passed down to me.  Those lessons in sewing and crafting not only taught me how to make my own dresses or pillows.  They also taught me patience, precision, organization and that wonderful feeling of accomplishment found at the end of road paved with twisted elastic, broken strings and jammed machines.

I hope to use my future posts to pass down some of the priceless knowledge and experience that have been given to be by the wonderful women in my life, both family and friends.  If I can inspire even one person to pass on their treasure trove of expertise to some lucky little boy or girl, well then, I can rest assured that my rambling wasn't all for naught.

Happy stitching!

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1 Comment

How right you are! Very well said. I grew up wearing everything handmade by my mother, from swimsuits every summer to raincoats she copied to look like a "London Fog" (since that was the name everyone wore). I'm much older than you, but when I was growing up it was affordable and much more economical to sew your clothes than to buy them ready made. Of course we didn't have malls then either, and the few stores where you could buy ready made were quite expensive and seldom had good sales. I'm so thankful that I grew up then, and that my mother sewed (and still does at 77). And I just love seeing you younger ones enjoying it, and creating so many things. When you're younger you also think and create outside of the box more and that helps me do the same.

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