A high percentage of the photos in my family’s album are not pictures of the people in the photos, but pictures of the clothes. This is one of those. The location is my mother’s sewing room in our first family home that was in Levittown, Pennsylvania. My mother has undoubtedly handed me a new dress that she had just designed, sewn, and completed for me to wear. I am just kind of studiously holding it in response to her handing it to me for the first time. I have no doubt that the little jumper and blouse that I am wearing was also designed and sewn by her.
She didn’t approve of store-bought clothes because their craftsmanship was not up to her standards. I remember a particularly dramatic experience at a store when my elementary school required every girl to get a jumper for physical education class. She took one look at the required garment’s large stitching and baggy shape, and refused to buy it. Instead she designed and sewed an entirely different P.E. jumper for me to wear. It was nicer than the commercial outfit, but not much like those. Fortunately the school did not make an issue out of my mother's creativity. I was being raised to be a little non-conformist by default.
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