Alas! The venerable Hancock Fabric Store is no more. I have such fond memories of Hancock Fabrics, from way back. I won the 8th grade science fair and got $50 cash money for it. I bee-lined it to Woolco Department Store in the Indian Trail Shopping Center so Ma and I could pick out a sewing machine. Not that she was much help – she did not sew at all. I got a Brother, rather plain but highly serviceable.
I made all of our church dresses and made my little sisters colorful outfits for church and school. I particularly remember Poo (Alice) wanting more pockets! I made a yellow tunic with matching flared pants. The cotton material had big white flowers splattered across it, and a red band across the front tunic bottom divided into at least six pockets. I made myself a deep purple pair of hiphugger flared brushed denim jeans…the coolest nerd in school.
Imagine my delight many years later, when I found Hancock Fabrics had a store minutes from the house I’d moved into! I didn’t actually go in there or even find my sewing machine (a different one, another story) until Ma moved in with me over a year ago. Oh, she needed tailor made church dresses! We both enjoyed roaming Hancock’s, ferreting out the deals, and she loved the quirky and brightly patterned stuff.
When I heard they were closing, bankrupt, I couldn’t believe it. No reorganizing? No restructuring? Nope, just gone. I haunted the store the last few days and bought entire bolts of cloth at 90% off. I got gobs of patterns at $1 each. One always needs buttons and zippers, so into the overloaded cart they went.
Now I have cloth from satins to upholstery to fanciful cotton blends. I have years worth of scrumptious silky, flowery fabrics and all of the smooth linings I hope to ever need. Sure I loved the spectacular deals. I’m so sorely going to miss dear old Hancock Fabrics, though.
Ma loves to wear skirts to church; they’re easy to pull on, she has a variety and they have a tailored fit. You might note they all feature an elastic waistband. That is her preference. The length is her request. She also picked out all of the cloth. I’ll tell her, “No more! You have enough!” She will agree! Then we’ll spot a gorgeous piece of greatly discounted material and…
I made her some dresses, too.
This shows that a couple yards of material and about an hour total time can make an 85 year old woman that can’t get around very well anymore happy. That’s happy when her custom skirt or dress is first finished and then again each time she saunters into church with a big grin. Worth it.
I have come to the conclusion I am a person driven by one compulsion after another. Brew season, I am obsessed with sanitizing more bottles and deciding how many buckets I can manage fermenting at one time. In the Spring, I am consumed by trying such and such fruit trees yet again or having another go at more flowery bushes. When I am writing, I write non-stop many hours at a whack.
Now I sew. I have spent way too much at Hancock’s (great bargains!) for material and patterns. My weekends are gobbled up with sewing up one garment after another. It doesn’t seem to matter we don’t need more clothes, I simply love making them!
Most patterns get used in an inspirational way, maybe make this shirt pattern into a dress with poofy long sleeves. Make this unlined simple jacket pattern into a lined and insulated long coat with cool toggles. You’d think I’d need fewer patterns if that’s what I used them for. Ha!
The only possible conclusion is that making something well is the way I judge my self-worth. When the books I labored over so arduously do not sell, I get anxious and crave another creational outlet that might do better. I made three fruitcakes last weekend with supreme optimism that at least one will make a wonderful birthday cake and present for Ma who will be 85 the day after Thanksgiving – she adores fruitcake. I hope she likes the fact I’m slathering them with homemade apple wine periodically.
I also made Ma an electrical blue with silver sparkles tunic with matching skirt and me a poetically patterned dress and a black and white plaid pencil skirt with a matching cool, complicated jacket. I love the feeling (perhaps mistaken) that I’m gaining some degree of mastery in this endeavor. Did I mention the saddle-brown boot skirt just made that has the back zipper pull on the inside? I decided it wasn’t that big of a deal and left it that way…
Once I get my backlog sewing projects done, next is the acrylic art studio upstairs. Or perhaps I’ll be in that studio all this weekend…I have a marvelous idea and have made ten sketches already. That room is over the garage and not directly heated, so if I am going to paint, I’d better get a move on!