(This is a series about the treasures in my grandmother’s sewing basket.)
Part Two: Mom
My own mother inherited Nanny’s skill with a needle, but not her taste for high fashion. Mom is a beautiful woman who does not know her own beauty: she always said her sister got the good looks in the family, so she got good grades. Those grades paid off with careers in chemistry and math education.
For a career woman, she was mighty domestic. She cooked and cleaned and made a multitude of Easter dresses, dance recital tutus, color guard uniforms, cheerleading outfits, and theater costumes for my sister and me. (I don’t remember her sewing for my brother, unless you count bedspreads, curtains, and slipcovers for the furniture we climbed and played on.)
Mom took over my grandmother’s sewing basket and added her own touches to it.
During the 1970s, following the infamous Metric Conversion Act of 1975 (when Coke started coming out in 2-liter bottles and we all had to figure out what a liter was), Mom was teaching math at a community college. As a scientist, she was eager to bring Americans onto the metric system, and she jumped into the conversion effort with both feet (no pun intended). One example: to teach grams vs. ounces, she took measuring tools and a small oven to campus and taught her students to bake “metric muffins.”
She must have taught them metric sewing, too. I found evidence in the bottom of the sewing basket – a stash of leftover tape measures, labeled entirely in centimeters:
Coming soon: Button, button, who’s got the button?