The Sassy Silk Shirt


NOV 29th 


I talk a lot about clothes being great communicators and connectors. As women they are the ice breaker. They encourage our first words to one another. But as well as being one of the tools we reach for in relationship building, for me they also storehouses and mementos - like photographs in a cherished family album.
For my Mum and me especially they trace the history of our relationship. I look at clothes she’s made me, or I have made her over the years and I remember what we talked about as we chose the fabric and designed and sewed the pieces.
I remember the first outfit she taught me to make when I was eight. It was a skirt and top combo. The elasticated waist skirt, a green and purple stripe. The t shirt with button-up back, green and purple polka dots. I think of that outfit and I remember how little patience I had for the process! But how much I love love loved the finished product. So much was passed from her to me in that process. The skills and rhythm of the make, yes. But more than that, without words, something special passed between us from idea to completion. It was a mother showing a daughter ‘you can’, ‘you’ve got this’, ‘now go’. When I think of that outfit – and the countless others that followed there is a warmth and joy to them that have nothing to do with fibre properties, they are pieces of living history. Landmarks on the journey of our relationship.
When I look at the clothes we have created together, or the patterns Mum has made for some of the Tonic & Cloth pieces, I don’t just see the garment. I see love and relationship, shared history, mutual respect and a passing down of knowledge from generation to generation.
The Sassy Silk Shirt is one such piece. Each tiny tuck at the neckline, the raglan sleeves, and peter pan collar provide modesty with a hint of sass. I love the fit and feel of it on, I love the way it kisses the shoulders and caresses the neck. When I look at it, I can smell the almond tea we drank as she created the pattern, and I tested it with the toile. I can feel her gusto about it, that ‘ju ju’ she gets when she settles into her pattern making groove, I can see her deftly holding the set square, and the tracing wheel – and then giving me that ‘put the jug on’ look (again). It may be 30 years since that first together sewing experience but she’s still pouring into me in these shared sewing moments, as a master of sewing and a master of motherhood. ‘You can’, ‘you’ve got this’, ‘now go’.
Thanks Mum.

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published