Friday, September 27, 2013

The Women: A genealogy of Needle and Thread

Jewell Bannarn Bobo
Have you ever wondered why you do the things you do?  What makes you, you? where did it come from? maybe you have have a passion for quilting or drawing. Or maybe you are an eloquent speaker and love to talk. As I look into the lives of my ancestors, I find many different occupations. They are all artistic in one form or another. I come from a long line of women who sewed, Seamstresses.

My mother liked to sew. I remember her making pajamas, undergarments and Christmas stockings. She also crocheted doilies. Her mother sewed. Grandma had several sewing machines, and made a little of everything..coats, dresses,curtains. She did it all. Her mother; my Great-Grandmother, sewed. She made a lot of their clothing. In her day, she used flour sacks to make dresses for them. She also made quilts. Aunt Shirley, my mother's Sister, sewed too..she also Crocheted. She was a master of both. When I was 9 years old. She made me a lavender skirt and matching vest outfit. All crocheted. I thought I was too cute with my white knee high boots to match!                                                                                

My earliest memories of learning to sew are with my mother. She had a modern sewing machine, and she also had an old antique Singer machine that was given to her by her aunt, Jewell Bannarn. I remember that my sister and I would sit in the chair together and push the foot peddle..our feet, to small to push it alone.

Aunt Jewell was an excellent Seamstress. She made everything! including tailored suits for her husband Ben. When I was a teenager, Aunt Jewell would come to visit. I would run and grab my dress I had made, anxious to show her. She would carefully look it over, pointing out to me all the areas that needed improvement. Then she would explain to me what I should have done, And how to correct it. I remember feeling  disappointed that it wasn't perfect. She would say to me, " It's Alright Honey, Just Keep Trying, You'll Get It ". I will always remember Aunt Jewell. She was a sweet, beautiful person.  and she was right. I kept trying and today I am a Seamstress like all of them before me. It has become my passion.

These women all served as inspiration to me. My path with the needle and thread was being designed for me before I even knew it. Sewing, is a common thread that runs all throughout the Bannarn family. As well as many other artistic talents. I know that I carry a piece of them all with me. We all do. I think it's what makes us who we are. It all started with the ancestors.

© 2013 Denise Muhammad

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