A Shirt for My Back From My Mother

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERANancy Smeltzer, MFA

I’m not exactly sure when my Mother made this shirt for me, but I think that it was the early 80s. It was popular then to take already made clothes and decorate them, and I had done some for her ( details in an upcoming blog). I had taught her about padded quilting, or trapunto, and I was also doing a lot of hand quilting at the time, so that may have been some of the inspiration for the design techniques.

She folded white rick rack in half and stitched that along the edges of the cuffs and also along both sides of the placket and the edge of the collar. The leaves and stems of the flowers were hand appliqued on, but the lady bugs and the flowers themselves were stuffed … a lot! They stick out about two inches (5 cm) from the surface of the shirt, making the front of the shirt a little top heavy when worn. She also added on a pocket on the front, and used the same fabric to line the inside of the cuffs and collar, and to make one of the flowers’ petals.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe stem of one of the flowers on the shoulder on the front extends to the back and has a different flower on it. The padding on that flower and the lady bug near it hit me an uncomfortable place on my back, as I remember. Still, I wore the shirt as an over blouse a number of times until I put it away in my closet.

When I went to look for this shirt in my closet to check out some details, I couldn’t find it, and am afraid that after I took the photos for it, (several months ago) I sent it to Good Will as I hadn’t worn it in quite awhile. While cleaning out one of my Mother’s closets, I found another one of these shirts, and I seem to remember that my mother had made one for me, my sister, and one for herself. That one, too, went to Good Will, as I thought that I still had one at home. If I had known that my mother was so near death when I took the photos, I don’t think I would have let go of this shirt yet. I know that I can’t keep everything and I still wouldn’t have worn the shirt, but I think that I would have held on to it longer as if it were a way to hold on to her longer.

What have you discarded, only to regret later that you hadn’t held on to it? How are you recording memories now so that you’ll have them for later years?

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You can see more of my art work on my web site at www.fiberfantasies.com (be patient as it loads; it’s worth it), my spiritual healing work at www.transitionportals.com and can find me on Google + , Facebook (for Transition Portals) Facebook (for Fiber Fantasies),  and Twitter.

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