I have this apron, which is really more of a smock, that I've had for years. It's my favorite, and the first thing I grab when I go in the kitchen. Well, it's become rather threadbare and worn. For some time now, I've been meaning to visit the woman who sold it to me here in town. Since I don't have any pattern drafting skills, I figured I'd try and learn from her how she made my favorite little apron. As it turns out, years ago, shortly after I bought it, I did stop to buy another apron for a gift, and while there, she demonstrated how she made mine. She did not use a pattern. She merely folded the fabric a couple of times, and indicated how she cut into the fold for the yoke, and then the bottom. When I got home, I tried replicating her technique, but came up with a rather unsightly sample. So, I thought to myself, someday I'll visit her again to get it right. Well, a couple of days ago I did finally stop at her place. Her Son answered the door, and I inquired whether his Mom was home. He answered that she had passed away quite some time ago. I was mortified. I expressed my sorrow at his loss, and shared with him how much I appreciated the work she had done on the aprons she had sold me, and what a great seamstress she was. He was very nice and understanding, and I'm sure he realized I felt rather bad about the whole thing.
But I did come away with a lesson. When you have people around you who are talented and gifted in their craft, never take them for granted, nor assume they'll always be there. Of course, it goes without saying that it applies to our loved ones as well. But on this occasion I single out those people who enrich our lives with the work of their hands. I don't mean to sound comical or blase in the use of these terms, but I have a new regard and respect for the butcher, the baker, the candlestick maker.....artisan craftsmen if you will. They possess skills which if not passed down, would be lost. In my town, there are a couple of actual shoe cobblers. The old man makes leather belts and makes repairs on shoes and boots, and his Son runs the business, and also knows the craft of his Father. I guess I am in awe of these people because I've become so accustomed to just dashing to the big stores for any number of needed items. When you see the love and pride they put into their work, you know that mass produced is not as good.
When my Grandmother was alive, she told me stories of how she made hats out of palm fronds when she was young, in early 1900's Mexico. Now I wish I had asked her to teach me how it was done. She also knew drawn thread embroidery, but I just never took the time to have her show me. Fortunately, there are some skills we can learn via tutorials on the Internet. But there others which must be passed down from one generation to the next.
In conclusion, my old apron lies on my work table, fully deconstructed. I undid the binding, and now have the original 'pattern'. But oh how I wish I knew how to put it together the way Senora Morales did, by just a flick of the wrist, folding the fabric into place. I'll study it some more, I think I can get it figured out, but I should have paid more attention the first time......
Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. ~Philippians 4:8~