My aunt Helen has on a dress that no doubt was made by "Mamee". Mamee was very gifted at all the handwork required of heirloom clothing. There appears to be some sort of hem stitching on the hem and the belt is run through either some Swiss beading or smocking, hard to tell. I would love to have a closeup of the details. These are types of dresses Mamee continued to make for her granchildren, moi included, until her passing in 1961.
The boys have their little white linen suits, the uniform of polite dress back in the days before air conditioning in a city of frequently oppressive heat and humidity. I wonder if she made their outfits. She certainly was capable. The one memory I have of Mamee's husband, my grandfather, is of him in a white linen suit and tie and wearing a Panama hat, the Creole gentleman's uniform of the day.
And then their is Mamee's outfit. First, I am amazed at her figure after all those kids. I remember a very petite but softer grandmotherly figure from my childhood. Pretty impressive, Mamee! I see my narrow torso genes showing here. Check out those pointy toed shoebooties. They appear to have a nice heel and I bet they hook or lace up, very pretty. Mamee ALWAYS wore hats. Whenever she took me out as a child she always had a hat on, often a small little fascinator, and with those hats she always wore her little white gloves. I so wanted a hat with netting over my face every time I saw her as a child. Her style really inspired me. The dress is pretty classic and that collar is gorgeous. Wouldn't you love to see that up close? I wonder if she made her dress.
Mamee loved to shop in the big New Orleans department stores and took me countless times on her sprees to places like Maison Blanche. I would watch as she fingered the dresses, checked the drape over her hand, looked inside for stitch quality, and then very often would snicker about the quality. We would then go back home and start sewing. She would also take me on many fabric shopping trips and would describe the fabrics to me and show me why some were quality and some were not. She was very into quality and was not going to waste her sewing time on cheap goods, no way.
I am very blessed that I spent so much time with Mamee. At the time in Louisiana the weather and lack of AC had schools closing by Memorial day and opening back up after Labor Day, three full months! The heat was just too oppressive to learn. As you can imagine this provided long hot summers to be dealt with and in a household of eight children. all very close in age, my wise Mom would send me every single entire summer to live with Mamee.It was glorious. I would leave the loud craziness of a boisterous testosterone loaded household and spend time with a very feminine self assured woman who indulged me totally. I swear these trips kept me sane. I loved them and so treasure those memories of summer with Mamee. We would sew. I would always try to knit and never succeed. We would cross stitch. She would stitch tiny tucks on baby day gowns. It was a sewing world, just her and me.
Do you have a Mamee in your life? Who are your mentors? Would love to know........Bunny