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Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Pensamientos: The ubiquitos tee shirt, today's calico dress

The ubiquitos tee shirt plays much the same role in my closet, as the  calico dress did in my great-great grandmother's wardrobe.

Can't you just see those pioneer gals, my anglo-saxon foremothers,  donning their fresh new frocks and hopping into the buckboard with their husbands? They were headed off to the recently opened lands across the Alleghanies, to drive out my native-american foremothers and their husbands from the western territories. When the cultural clash was over, they settled into planting, sowing and reaping, clad in the latest fabrics. Those calico yard goods, so recently imported from India, were much more affordable and comfortable than the heavy-weight serges, woolens and linsey woolsey fabrics their mothers had worn. Why at this price, a girl could maybe have two or three dresses whereas Mama had needed to be content with one. The soft fabric was practical, but also moved in graceful, fluid folds that made it a pleasure to wear. They were so charming too! The bright colors and pretty designs of the frontier woman's favored dress, beat the old plain, severely colored fabrics all hollow.

I have a vision of my great-great-grandmother Lily with her brightly colored, patterned calico-er skirts tucked up in the waistband of her apron. She's out digging up the sod to plant 200 rows of vegetables she hopes to grow for winter canning, after which little task, she maybe has time to start in on the ironing, see to making dinner, and whitewash the hen coop. That's all before midday, of course. Her calico dresses are getting quite a workout.

Nowadays I don a tee shirt before I head out for my own work writing code and studying in class. My tees are practical too. They take me from school to a hike at Edgewood Nature Preserve, or on a bike ride to the grocery store. And I love to sew them up in pretty colors and fabric, and embellish them with unique designs, so that they're more than just a plain workday garment. Tees are affordable to sew too. For the cost + sewing labor of one buttoned shirt, I can create three tees.

All this thought about my favorite garment is setting my heart yearning to sew. Shore do hope I 'git to that sewing machine o'mine afore nightfall.

1 comment:

  1. My maternal great grandmother's name was also Lily!! Lily Fox Henley. I think I will look again at her dresses...they were quite severe I think. And didn't seem to fit so well. She was slender.
    Paternal great grandmother was Effie Mae Trumble, and she was a BIG busted woman.
    :)

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