Monday, March 26, 2012

Family ties

My babushka left us this week five years ago.  I have thought about her a lot the last few days, while sewing for my girls.  My dedushka died when my mother was 11 - just eight years after the family had arrived on one of the last immigrant ships to pass through Ellis Island. To support herself and her three children, my babushka took in sewing jobs.

A few months ago, I received a package full of bits of bias tape, hook-and-eye closures, zippers, pins and other notions, all of which had sat dormant in the little sewing desk in the dining room for at least 15 years, since her eyes went so bad that she could no longer sew.  Before that, she used to make little dresses, nightgowns, robes and doll clothes for my sisters and me.  Like this little dress, which I think she sewed by hand:

In this package, among other things, were many pieces of cardboard which had been carefully wound with ric-rac of different colors.  I don't know how old they are - how long ago was it that you could buy ric-rac for five cents a yard?

I used some of that tiny red ric-rac on a blouse I made for Natasha this week.  Natasha never met her "pro-babushka" (great-grandmother), but I think she and her sister will be wearing clothes adorned with this ric-rac for some years to come. When I look at my daughter in this blouse, I smile, and I hope that Babushka is smiling, too.

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