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Archive for December 10, 2012

the custom-made christmas stockings

< by Jill >

My maternal grandmother, a master seamstress, operated a sewing machine with such fluency it seemed like her native tongue. When I think of her, I see two steady, weatherworn hands guiding fabric through the presser foot of a Singer. I hear the bobbin rattling and see the needle plunging up and down, bringing tufts of dust along with it.

My mother, a master of the domestic arts, can fluently operate a Singer, but usually declines the opportunity. In her words, “If hell is sewing, I’m not going!” Despite this, she pumps the treadle when duty — or décor — calls.

And so it was that we renovated our living room and imported brand-new furnishings. These fancy new sitting provisions called for a complete décor overhaul — Christmas decorations included. We would not have generic red-and-white Christmas stockings — heavens no! — we would have designer stockings, stitched from the very upholstery that sheathed the new chairs.

Most importantly, these stockings would be cut to fit Paul Bunyan-sized feet. More room for gifts from Santa! My mom labored over the stockings for eternity, it seemed. After sketching the patterns and cutting the fabric, she installed the seams, working the Singer into a tangible heat. Finally, she lined the edges in black silk cords and dangled the finished stockings on the mantle.

When Santa came, he stuffed them full of goodies. They brimmed with so many sundries that they exceeded the weight-capacity of the hooks and had to be laid on chairs.

Although many years have passed (and the living-room décor has changed), the stockings still decorate the fireplace. They are a reminder of the gift that passed from my grandmother, to my mother, and to me.

The Custom Christmas Stockings