Steketee’s Department store was the ‘fancy’ store where I grew up. Steketee’s denoted quality and prestige, and I aspired to shop there. Usually, however, we shopped thrift stores and Kmart for clothing. Fortunately, my Mom had amazing taste and was able to find the gems wherever we shopped.
With good taste and a limited budget, she chose to make most of her own clothes, and I liked her style. I got my first sewing machine when I was 6 (because my Mom tired of me knotting the bobbin thread on hers) and I was hooked! She taught me to select the right fabric for the pattern, decide what accessories were needed, determine yardage and how to cut and follow the pattern. She’d buy Simplicity Patterns while I dreamt of the day that I could make a Vogue Pattern. With patience (hers and mine), my skills advanced and I too made my own clothes without any patterns needed.
In high school, I designed and made the perfect A-symmetrical blouse with an oversized collar like I had seen Cyndi Lauper wear. I proudly presented it to my Mom who turned the shirt inside out and pointed out my raw seams inside. “Why didn’t you finish the seams?” she asked. “Did you make this shirt for a Steketee’s Customer or a Kmart Customer?”
My very kind and talented Mom changed her address to heaven recently and the waves of grief are still sweeping me over daily. But mixed in with the grief is loads and loads of gratitude for the many years and gifts she shared with me. My thanks go out to her every day for the lesson about detail and quality she taught me that day. Thanks Mom. I love you.