The Master Tailor

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I love to sew! And to think it all started in 7th grade "Home Ec" sewing class in Clifton, NJ. Making a simple A-line skirt and a beach wrap (displayed on the wall by the teacher) were the humble beginnings of better things to come. 

With my mom too busy caring for a new baby brother to teach me more, my dad’s mother took me under her wings. A former professional seamstress, Grammy helped me sew a western shirt, not an easy project with those angled points, and taught me well to use the seam ripper. I learned to rip out my mistakes, start over, and make it right!  After all, in making life mistakes, it’s how we accept correction or change that makes all the difference. 

So, when I tried to make a quilt on my own, totally wrong, my Grammy taught me the correct way. She even gifted me with several fabrics as I made a cardboard template to cut out 6-inch squares. Laying the fabric squares out on the living room floor, I set them in a pattern, sewed up the long strips, and then sewed each long strip side by side. With that success, Grammy gifted me with fabric every Christmas over many years for yet more skirts and dresses.

After my family moved to Lounsberry, NY in 1969, I bought a c.1900 treadle machine that my auctioneer cousin was selling for only $3.  My dad oiled it, fixed the tension, got a new leather belt for the wheels, and my sewing obsession took off.  More skirts, suits and dresses were made on that treadle machine to carry me through high school, including my prom gown and wedding gown. 

For my birthday after we married, my husband bought me a new Singer electric sewing machine! And oh, if it could talk, the miles of thread and fabric it has sewn in clothes for myself, shirts for my husband, clothes for my children, and tiny clothes for their dolls. And, now, using this same sewing machine, I’ve been making quilts in log cabin and prairie window designs, along with simple and more-detailed table runners. And how I wish my dear Grammy could see them for she taught me well!

Have you known that feeling of contentment as you worked to create something of value for yourself or others? Have you known what it feels like to be so engrossed in a project that you lose all sense of time? Have you known the frustration of having to take the time to rip out a seam, or correct something that just wasn’t right? And, because you did so, have you then felt the satisfaction of seeing your finished project in all its beauty? Maybe that’s how God views us when we recognize His hand guiding us through life’s ups and downs!

David said it so well, "If the Lord delights in a man's way, he makes his steps firm; though he stumble, he will not fall, for the Lord upholds him with his hand."  (Psalm 37:23-24)

This poem was written in a reflective moment, remembering that various hardships and testing over the years have helped to define character and create who we are deep in our soul. I may not want to face the trials which might be coming in the future; but, in looking back, neither can I imagine life without the hardships we have worked through – for they refine our life and shape us for the better... just like the seam ripper's cutting edge.

I also can’t help but realize that the Lord knows what He’s doing as He works His will through those trials that He allows each of us to face.  “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him...” (Romans 8:28, NIV)  For through these difficulties, He shapes and molds us into the unique and special person He means for us to be.

The Master Tailor

Linda A. Roorda

As the seamstress sits and begins to sew

Her loving care goes into each stitch

And correlation stirs within her thoughts

Of the Creator’s design deep in her soul.

 

In her mind’s eye she sees it take shape

From simple concept to finished result

And beams with joy, her dream made complete

As she holds with pride her creation dear.

 

But what the world just cannot see

Are errors which loomed about to destroy

For outward beauty can never reveal

The seam ripper’s hand in disciplined cuts.

 

When I beheld what the seamstress had wrought

I could not miss the significant key

Of one who deftly shaped my own soul

From even before my life came to be.

 

The Master Tailor gazed into the future

And pondered the me who I should be.

He planned and designed each path for my good

As He cut and sewed the fabric of me.

 

He carefully stitched and eased the seams

And reigned in penchants of wayward threads,

But now and then along the way

The seam ripper’s edge He gently employed.

 

For don’t you see without the hardships

Life’s burdens and pain cannot reflect

The greater good down deep in my heart

As seam ripper cuts shape my will to His.

 

On a journey I am, a work in progress

For someday when my time has come

He’ll gaze upon His workmanship

And see exactly who He planned me to be.

(Previously published at my blog, Poetic Devotions.)

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Community Builder

As sewing has never been my forte, that doesn't mean a great deal to me, but I like to paint. While oil painting allows more time to finish a painting, I have had to stick to acrylics because of the smell. Oil paint has a strong smell, and it lasts a long time. That's great if you have a spare room in which to paint and you can close the door after a session, but I don't. I only have a one-bedroom apartment, which means I paint in the living-room kitchen part of my condo, and the smell of oil paint gave me headaches, so I had to switch back to acrylic paint.
Acrylic is odorless, but it dries quickly, so I had to learn to paint fast. While there are products to slow down the drying process, they still don't allow as much time as painting with oils would. But fortunately, by the time I started doing representational work--that means you can tell what the painting is about--I had perfected my technique of working with spatulas. If you want to see some of the results look up my page.

Community Builder

Thanks for sharing your perspective with painting! I would love to see some of your paintings and enjoyed seeing some on your page - very nice Michele! I used to paint landscapes with oils years ago, and they do have a strong odor! I've never tried acrylics. I also agree with you that painting is very representational and can evoke many emotions even in the artistic process, speaking in many ways to the viewer. God bless you as you continue to reach out to others, and enjoy your gift of painting!

Community Builder

Dear Linda, If you'd like to try acrylics you can find them in art supply stores. They come in varying degrees of viscosity depending on how you want to spread them on your canvas. Personally, since I paint with spatulas, I use the high viscosity sort. Low or medium viscosity would be too runny for my needs. The higher the viscosity the thicker and more substantial the paint, so it stays where you put it.

Community Builder

Thank you, Michele. Unfortunately, I don't have time to get back into painting currently; but someday when I can retire, I just may give painting with acrylics a try. Thank you so much for your input!

Community Builder

Yes, well, I get that. I haven't done a painting in ages either, but it wasn't because of a job's requirements. All sorts of things got in the way. I would have liked to share some more in this space but I can't. It only allows for text. Maybe the administrators could figure out a way to add images in here....?