My mom turns 60 today, what a milestone! She is an amazing woman and I got my sewing gene from her. Coming from a poor family, she dropped out of school at the age of 12. She stayed home and helped my grandparents who ran a coffee shop and laundry business.
She had gone through so much especially in the mid 60s during the racial riot in Indonesia. Her family almost went back to China as the Indonesian government expelled Chinese out of Indonesia. She was in a refugee camp for a few years waiting for ships sent by the Chinese government to collect Chinese Indonesians back to China. Priority to go back to the motherland was given to the elderly and sick people. In the middle of the exodus, Chinese government decided to stop sending ships. So, my mom’s family had no option but to stay.
After the political situation became stable, my mom had saved enough to go to sewing school. At that time, that’s one of the few options to be independent and earn her own money. Afterward, she worked as a seamstress until after she met my dad. She even sewed one of her wedding dresses (in Chinese custom, the bride owns/rents multiple wedding dresses), here it is
It was an empire waist dress popular among Jane Austen’s heroines. The trumpet sleeves give it the 70s edge. My mom sold the dress to a local bridal shop right after the wedding. If only she kept it…
I am not sure if she sewed this engagement dress but I love it, it is a dress with a bolero (sorry, you can’t really see the full dress but this is the only picture I have with me). Check out my dad’s flowery shirt from the late 70s, quite stylish…
My mom quit her career as a seamstress after she got married because the kids and the hardware store that she still runs with my dad took up her energy. She sewed once in a while though. In fact, she sewed my elementary school uniform (white short-sleeves button-down shirt and red pleated A line skirt). She also sewed these two pyjamas that I brought with me when I left for college
My mom made this for me knowing that summer in California can be toasty. After almost 13 years, it’s still my favorite summer PJ. The great thing is, she drafted her own pattern based on my measurements. I have a lot to learn from her.
This is what she made for herself. Check out that 70 style, the lace trim makes it so vintage-y. My mom is not a pack rat and she was about to throw this away until I saw it and managed to salvage it. The color is pink by the way, the color and the light just didn’t agree with each other
I wish my mom kept more of her sewing masterpieces, they will surely become family heirlooms. The good news is she still keeps her bad-ass sewing machine which looks like this. It still works like a charm.
Gotta figure out how to transport this bad boy over to the States
As a birthday gift, I plan to knit my mom Coraline. The climate in my hometown, unlike the rest of Indonesia, is like spring in California. It can be chilly sometimes, so Coraline will keep her warm. With that, I am breaking my stash busting oath this weekend. I will be shopping for suitable yarn (either cotton or bamboo) at Stitches West.
I can’t pass up Stitches West because it only happens once a year and I promise to leave my credit card at home. I will only bring enough cash to buy yarn for Coraline. After all, my main goal is to play and fondle as many yarn as I can get my hand on. I particularly have a mission to see more Malabrigo and Madelinetosh yarn, they are top on my to-try list.
Anyway, Happy Birthday Mom! Thanks for putting up with my antics for the last few decades.