Saturday, June 8, 2013

The Box

     During the early tween years my parents took a trip to Portugal and Spain.  On route they met a couple with whom they became friends.  Conversations included the sharing of family information, including the fact that I liked to sew doll clothes.  After the trip I received a package from the wife which was a large box full of fabric scraps of all kinds.
      It was an exciting gift, and I enjoyed it for years. The fabric was stored in my wooden toy box from early childhood.  It was about the size of a trunk, and the top lifted up to reveal a large space full of these scraps and other fabric I had collected..
     It was my treasure box.  I enjoyed rummaging through it and dreaming about possible outfits for my Barbie doll. At my age I didn't engage in deep play with my dolls, but I still loved  fantasizing about their clothes and what I could make.
     My box was full of wool, cottons, brocades and satin.  Flowered chintz became hostess or ball gowns cut from Barbie patterns.  White eyelet made a beautiful underskirt.  I created a favorite evening gown from a luscious peach satin.  Brocade turned into a cocktail dress.  A pretty light cotton covered with small lilacs became the very long, full skirt of a well-loved dress.  Wools and tiny print cottons became little shift dresses, so very popular at the time.  A coat was sewn from an olive wool.  I also sewed pants, shirts, skirts and capes.
      Barbie's clothes were carefully organized in my blue Barbie case.  Accessories were kept in tiny, clear round plastic boxes stored at the bottom.  Each article of clothing hung above.  I was very particular about how my Barbie items were taken care of. I didn't want to lose anything. Nobody messed with my stuff....especially my sister, who just stuffed all Barbie's clothing inside her case (a big mess).
      Why do I share all of this?  I suppose one reason is because it was a fantasy that never carried over into real life. My bedroom was usually a mess and I was not diligent about taking care of my things.  My mother was always on my case.  I was messy.  Even my fabric treasure box was haphazardly stuffed full of disorganized, wrinkled fabric.  Only Barbie was neat.  To this day I don't keep up my things as well as I did those doll clothes (although I have improved...). 
     Maybe keeping my doll clothing organized was not overwhelming.  Everything was small and easy to deal with, and even easier to lose if I didn't keep track of each item.  I also took pride in some of the clothing because I had made it. 
     I suppose most of us have experiences like this in some way.  We had a childhood love that didn't carry over much into maturity.  Funny how that happens?!  I don't understand it.  In my case the enjoyment of sewing shifted to making my own clothes, but often to save money.  In today's society sewing doesn't save money so I have my Etsy shop, Hitty Hatty.  That seems to fill the void for now.  But sometimes I think it would have been fun to be a doll clothes designer, or fabric designer, or fantasy gown designer, or........who knows?
     Then I remember music and my viola and come to my senses.....

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In addition to being a violist, I am a wife and mother (three sons). I dabble in writing, handwork, sewing and photography.