Nonna and I have known each other now for a goodly number of years. As one year flows into another, at some time or other we usually bump into the summer season. As the temperatures rise Nonna is apt to don her familiar hot weather gear, a garment that she refers to as a housecoat. I cannot speak to their provenance specifically, but I would hazard a guess that those housecoats, or muu muus, have been in her possession for quite a while. They are comfortable, easy to wash and airy, just what any woman with any sense would choose to wear as the thermostat creeps into the 90’s. That sensible woman would wear cotton, which she does and being thrifty, would take gentle care to ensure that they lasted many a season, after season, after season until suddenly some busy body points out that she could do with a make-over. Burnt Sienna orange and Turquoise are not the most flattering of colours, even with the most exotic complexions, but elderly Italian persons do not share this opinion. Although Nonna was once a homegrown seamstress, latterly such fine work is tough on both the fingertips and the vision. Thus it falls to me, or rather, I choose to take matters into my own hands.
I take my daughter with me as a second opinion is always welcome. Two heads are better than one and fool’s seldom differ, especially if they share the same genes. It is imperative that we find just the right fabric to update Nonna. This is my second attempt to hit the right note as I dithered between old lady florals and inoffensive pastels, neither of which would be my first choice. I don’t want to foist a shroud upon her, merely offer a third garment for my own selfish laundry purposes. One on, one off and one in the wash is the overall goal.
Just lately we have spent an inordinate amount of time at the hobby shop now that my daughter also wishes to learn to sew, although without help. Without help, she recently made the most magnificent tunic for herself, frightfully hip and trendy but unfortunately a size or two too small. Her loss was my gain in the form of an unexpected gift for Mother’s Day. The tunic is still in need of a little tender loving care, the odd loose thread, unfinished hem and would greatly benefit from a press. Hence it hangs over the dining-room table chair, clamouring for attention but ignored. Everyone ignores it except for Nonna, who is apt to pass through the room on route only to pause, pat and comment, “dat’s lovely dat……really…….beautiful.”
Hence I am in search of beautiful but the bolt is bare. There are a whole slew of similar bolts of fabric with the same design but different colour combinations, far too many colour combinations. So I dither. The pink is too puce, the blue is too cold, the yellow is quite nauseating, the green looks like camouflage. I poke the purple but no-one really wears purple. Few people can get away with purple. My fingers run along the bolts as we pull them out for comparison. Lilac is too pastel, too soppy, too girly. The red is too garish, the grey too aging, the beige too bland, the brown is quite boring. My eyes meet my daughter’s as she glares, ‘just make a decision!’ but instead mutters, “you’ll never get it done in time.”
“When’s her birthday again? When are you going to do it?”
“Right! Purple it is.” I march up to the counter with the bolt as my daughter hovers, leading up to something.
“Yes dear? Shall I buy something for you too?”
“No……..I was just thinking…….?”
“The ones on your feet, the ones you’re wearing.”
“Hmm? What about them?”
“You really should get a new pair.”
“Why? They’re the most comfortable pair I have. I’ve had them for years.”
“Exactly. They’re completely knackered.”
7 hours ago