Simplicity Pattern


In the days when mothers sewed their daughters’ clothes,

a woman still lovely, weary now

but willing still to dream

of pretty party frocks and patent leather pumps,

sends her girls to bed.

It is late April,

when gold-flecked forsythia and tender-lipped forest violets

dress the spring earth.

As the sisters sleep, she lays out on the kitchen table

the Simplicity pattern’s tissue promise of carefully stitched shirtwaists.

Her hands hold the pinking shears

and with each cut a third-grader’s surprise

becomes delight as she tries on

the white-and-yellow checked dress,

full-skirted, matching belt,

rickrack at the neck and trim for the cap sleeves.

The older sister steps into the violet dress,

fashioned as a fifth-grader’s princess raiment

and down the road they walk,

almost too elated to notice

the fast-flowing brook tumbling over rocks,

the robins and finches whistling to them

as Newfield Road merges with Main Street

and they see the red brick school

and the children on the playground

and the yellow and purple of their full skirts

swirl with the fresh new air of May.

Did we tell her we cherished her hands

that cut and fit and stitched the colors of spring;

her pride, that sent us off in new dresses

to dance around the Maypole;

her gifts, more than I can count

or even remember?

It was in the days when love was spoken

in the tissue rustle of a Simplicity pattern,

in the careful choice of purple cotton and yellow and white checks,

the unnecessary expense of rickrack to make the dress special,

the matching fabric-covered belt to cinch the small waists

and add an extra flare

to the dancing skirts of the daughters’ new dresses.

One thought on “Simplicity Pattern

  1. How serendipitous! I’ve been writing every day 6 to 9 hours, like it’s my job. Just last week, I added a detail about my mother sewing dresses for her three daughters from one McCall’s pattern in three sizes and colors. You’ll see it in my first draft, yet to come…and you might think I stole your idea! Shelley sent from my iPad


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s