A Good Seam
I ran the seam
the machine racketing out pink stitches
down the stretch of pink slub cotton
the motor whirring
I guide the line of locked-together thread loops
that hold the front of the dress to the back
the dress worn to rags or handed down or given away or sold
going lots of places and seeing lots of things
one person one day and discarded after one excursion
and a spilled glass of red wine. No one knows.
The needle punk punk punks
into the taut fabric. The pink dress and
the end of this seam
it is a good seam. Cut the threads.
16 thoughts on “A Good Seam”
I particularly like the sound and rhythm of the second stanza.
Thank you. I don’t think people notice it but there are a lot of sounds when you are sewing.
I don’t sew, but it always seemed like a very sensory experience–the look, feel, and even scent of the fabric, as well as the sounds.
I’ve been sewing since I was very young, because my mother made all our clothes and many household items, so I learned to. In fact, this is why, when I got into art, I started off making quilts and fabric collage work. I’ve recently gone back to some fabric work. It is intense, all the sensations and memories that come back. You are right, there is something about working with fabric that calls on all your senses.
My mother’s mother was an excellent seamstress, and she made clothes for me and my little sister. I’m sure she made clothes for others, but she died when I was little, and that’s all I remember. My mom said that she was critical of my mom’s sewing, so that’s why she didn’t sew, and my mom didn’t teach us. I tried to sew some dresses when I was in high school, but it was painful. 😏
This is interesting. My mother’s story was the opposite – my grandmother could not sew, so she wanted my mom to learn (she said it was a big moneysaver, our family was very thrifty and saving money was a good reason to do almost anything!) and she babysat me while my mother went to school and learned. My mother could make anything and taught me well, but I am not naturally precise, and sewing did not come easily to me (sleeves that did not match, etc). With practice I am competent and made my son’s clothes when he was little, and a lot of my own. Now it’s not necessary, clothes are so cheap.
Interesting. My grandparents were all immigrants, and also thrifty. Some of my great aunts worked in some sort of textile factories. My mom used to borrow clothes from one of her aunts who had stylish clothing–I guess she got it at a discount?
A long time ago I was a commercial lender for a local bank, and one of our customers was a clothing manufacturer (in fact, at that time, there were a lot of them around here). Anyway, they had a factory seconds sale each year to which employees and selected guests were invited, us being their bank, that’s why we were there. I got nice work clothing for modest prices. And I believe this practice was followed in many manufacturers – the retailers’ standards were stringent and most seconds had nothing wrong with them that you could see, but were not suitable for retail sail, so employees could dress great for not a lot. This might also have been the practice where your relatives worked?
Perhaps. They’re all dead now, so I can’t ask. I don’t remember anything about a big sale, but they may have been factory seconds.
In another life I would like to have a job involving fabric or clothes. Which is maybe crazy since personally I wear the same thing every day and it’s not very stylish. I do like fabric and clothing construction is actually really interesting.
There are definitely a lot of sounds when you are sewing. I like the sense that the dress was being made for someone you did not know or did not know what will become of it.
I have been thinking about clothing my mother made for me when I was very small, and back then you handed things around to others after they were outgrown, because clothes were not cheap or throwaway like they are now. And I was thinking of, where did all those little dresses end up? And of course, all clothing is in that situation. And my artwork too.!
There us much satisfaction in a good seam. (K)
Yes. I have always liked how a seam looks, pressed and neat.
I love the way you’ve incorporated the sounds and rhythm of the sewing machine into the structure of your poem.
The sewing machine always fascinated me. Still does. A simple way of working and so effective and strong. The sounds are some of my earliest memories, also the way it smelled (the machine oil it used heated up with use and I loved the smell of it).
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