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Coming home to New York keeps me from getting any sewing done, but allows me to sit down with my mom and flip through old photos. This activity usually starts out very sweet and loving and nostalgic, but rapidly degenerates into me pointing at old photos of my mother and whining, “Ma! Why didn’t you save me this dress! And how come you don’t have that handbag anymore?” My mother will look at them placidly and say, “Oh, I got rid of all those a long time ago. That was before you were even born. How was I supposed to know you would want them?” And then to rub it in, she’ll sigh and say, “I had so many beautiful dresses.” Grrrr.

My mother did not grow up wealthy (very much the contrary, in fact), but she did have most of her clothes made by a dressmaker, as was quite common at the time in the Philippines, where she grew up. My mother was no ordinary girl- she was a high school beauty queen and developed an amazing sense of style. Have a look at some of her outfits, most of them from 1965-1970, when she was in her early 20s:

I know, right?  And not one of those dresses did she pack away in case she’d one day have a daughter almost the exact same size as she is. I guess it’s going to be up to me to recreate the outfits that I really want. Probably the plaid dress with the ruffles. Or that pink one with the tie at the neck. Or the red coat. Or the ruffled sleeveless blouse. Or the turquoise suit. Or all of them. Or some of the other great outfits from the photos I didn’t include here because there were just too many from which to choose. As weird as it is to say, I WANT TO DRESS LIKE MY MOM.

My mom also graciously modeled the Burda taffeta bolero jacket that I made her for Christmas (a S.W.A.G. triumph!) with a green satin sheath dress that she just happened to have tucked away, which just happens to match the sequins on the jacket exactly (Selfish Seamstress pats self on back for having anticipated mother’s taste in colors): 

As you can see, she’s still a stunner, and has miraculously stayed the same size in the intervening decades. And she still knows exactly where to place her feet when posing for a photo to show off her legs. You go, mommy!

By now you all know how the Selfish Seamstress feels about sewing for others. But mommy is an exception. I don’t know if it’s just the urge to relive the feeling of bring home a pretty drawing from school and have her face light up with delight, or perhaps the fact that I’ve realized in the last few years what a super nice person my mommy is (she’d do anything for us), or maybe I’m just excited to cut into the new, fabulous fabric I got for her S.W.A.G. project:

It’s a green shimmery lightweight taffeta, somewhere between apple and olive green, with metallic thread embroidery and greenish-gold sequins.  Sure, perhaps not what I would pick for myself (I’m not so much on the shiny fabrics), but just perfect for my mommy, don’t you think?  She loves elegant cocktail attire of the Ann Taylor variety.

Because the fabric is elaborate, I wanted to make something without too much detail, and I first thought of a knee-length sheath with some simple pleats around the neckline.  But then when I got home and spread out the fabric, I started thinking that maybe mommy would not be so keen on glittery sequins from the neck to the knee. So, out came the giant stack of Burda, Patrones, La Mia Boutique, Mrs. Stylebook, Lady Boutique, and a couple of assorted others:

And I found this bolero from the 12.2008 issue of Burda (Bambi style!  Everyone needs a Bambi gown because we all know how much of the population of Germany attends the Bambi awards….)

I’ll edit it for half or 3/4 length sleeves.  If there’s enough fabric afterwards, I have my eye on a simple fitted shell from an Ottobre issue to make it a glamorous little twinset to go with the sort of elegant evening pants or pencil skirts that my mommy undoubtedly has hanging by scores in her closet. Off to S.W.A.G., catch you later!

About this blog

The Selfish Seamstress loves to design and sew garments, but only if she gets to keep them. I'm Elaine, known in the online sewing world as elainemay, and welcome to my selfish sewing blog.

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