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Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Clothes Quilt

I love homemade Christmas gifts. I love getting and I love giving.

A year after Grandma died, I knew I wanted to give special gifts to my aunt and mom that would remind them of her. I remembered that we had boxed up all Grandma's clothes after the funeral (all the ones we didn't give away), and they were just sitting in Grandpa's shed. So I gathered up every piece of her clothing that she had worn a lot, stuff that was easily identifiable as hers, and began working to make two small quilts out of her clothes.

It felt so weird cutting them up. I kept thinking about her sitting beside me saying, "Now that's what I wore to so-and-so's wedding" and, "Oh---, I had that for years." It was hard working with them. Until you've lost someone close to you, you just can't understand how a familiar smell or sight can affect you. Most of the pieces still smelled like her perfume, and I wasn't about to wash it out.

I had never made a quilt before, and the finished products wouldn't win any blue ribbons for craftsmanship, but they were special. Wherever I could, I left a button or a pocket, and every single quilt square has a memory.

The brown squares... those were a pair of polyester pants she had for years and years. The light pink squares with squiggly lines, those were a shirt she got back when I was in elementary and was still wearing in 2005. The light blue squares with white checks was one of her favorite dresses she wore to church all the time. And the light yellow ones with the blue lines... that was just a wear-around-the-house shirt that was a definite staple.

You may see an ugly quilt. I see her.

What about you? Do you have a favorite homemade gift that you received or gave away?


Sharon said...

No homemade gifts here...just wanted to say IT'S BEAUTIFUL!!!

Kate (Southern-Belle-Simple) said...

this is the best idea i've heard in so long....what a wonderful way to remember somebody. it makes me want to do this with my grandpa's shirts....or at least pay a sewing person to do it for me. you are my hero zero!

Aimee Bryan said...

It is soooo beautiful! I made two quilts in school. A baby quilt that I kept until Ammorae came along. I made one for my mom and dad. I am saving special tshirts of the girls school, dance, sports, and other events to make one for each of them. I had people sign squares at my wedding and write a special message for Jeff and I and I still haven't quite finished it yet. But your idea, was so sweet and very thoughtful.