Rememories: Big Granny's Butterfly Dress
Posted on 09 November 2009
I love textiles.Especially vintage. My grandmother had a cabinet on an entire length of wall that she kept her sewing fabrics in.Â Â I use to love digging through it for all different sorts of cloth.Â There were a few woolens and some plaids, laundered flour sack calicoes, as well as some weird synthetics that must have been on clearance.Â But it really didnâ€™t matter what it was, I just loved digging through and touching each little neatly, folded bundle. She was the one who taught me how to sew.Â I learned one summer when she started me on pillow cases made from recycled sack cloth.Â This was before recycling was cool.Â My great-grandmother also lived with her and Grandpa.Â It was she who showed me how to embroider.Â I added little embroidered daisies with French-knot centers to the edges of my pillow cases.Â I think that is where and when my love for fabrics started. One of my favorite rememories is coming to the farm one summer during the milo harvest.Â For some reason Mom didnâ€™t pack the right play clothes so Big Granny (that is what we called her because my great-grandmother was Little Granny) reached into her fabric cabinet and snatched out a wide, ombre-striped cotton.
Oh it was lovely in a 1960s sort of way.Â Broad purple stripes wept into pinks and oranges on a crisp, white seersucker ground.I can still see it like yesterday.Â Well, Big Granny was a 'get â€˜er done' kinda woman; a no nonsense, 'grab the chicken by the neck and have it for supper' kinda of woman and right before my very eyes, she took the fabric and with a magicianâ€™s deftness quickly measure me up and down with it.Â Â Then with a yank, sheÂ rrrrripped it into (sans sheers) and then went wham bam at her sewing machine, and before I knew it, Iâ€™m donning a new play dress in less than five minutes.Â Â And if that wasnâ€™t amazing in and of itself, wham bam again and she made another one for my sister Hedy! So there we stood dreamily in our beautiful new butterfly dresses.
Hedy and I looked like a cross between something Jacob gifted Joseph and something from the Merry Pranksterâ€™s â€˜Furtherâ€™ bus.As I stood there admiring the â€œbutterfly sleevesâ€™ with my arms outstretched, Big Granny was already loaded up in the â€˜ol pickup, banging on the horn beckoning Margieâ€™s city girls to come and â€˜git ta workâ€™ in the fields. I wish I still had my butterfly dress.