Today in between sewing pillows I went to see a show, entitled Communion, of Jon Coffelt’s clothing miniatures at Susan Hensel Gallery. (The links connect to the Fiberarts article on Jon and to Susan’s post about the show and the opening.) Seeing these hand-stitched miniatures, each with a story, stimulated my own memories of clothing. One of my favorite pieces in the show was a replica of a Pucci dress, made in ocher cotton, silk-screened with a psychedelic curvy black linear pattern. The dress style is from a 1971 (or so) pattern. I instantly thought of the Pucci outfit my sister made for my mom around the same time. The ensemble consisted of palazzo pants and a sleeveless tank, sewn from a wild, green and fuchsia watermelon cotton print. My mom had great taste in clothing, and really no need to sew since her mother and and 2/3rds of her daughters were handy with the sewing machine. After cooking supper for 8 each night, and raising 6 kids, mom preferred knitting, perhaps because it’s more meditative.
The sewing machine and I aren’t the best of friends, but from time to time I make a piece of clothing. After the show today I dug into my fabric trunk looking for a scrap of batik fabric from my favorite high school blouse, still good as new (the blouse is long gone). I think I wore this twice a week during my junior or senior year, between 1973 and 1974.
(Images below, left to right: batik with fish imagery; circa 1972, a sketch of the pattern as I remember it, and a bit of amateur Photoshopping — which can’t hold a candle to Coffelt’s hand-stitched replicas!