Growing up, my sister and I moved around a lot. We weren’t Army brats or the daughters of oilmen: our parents stayed in the same place. We just moved in between their homes, every week or two for over a decade. Besides the obvious, this was not ideal for multiple reasons: the soccer uniform was never at the right house; there would be 8 hairbrushes at one and none at the other; and you hesitated every time someone asked you your home phone number. Something I still do. Two things, however, remained constant. Frisko and Yaya. Frisko arrived around the time that the moving began and was an even-tempered marmalade or ginger cat with dog-like tendencies. Yaya is an even-tempered Jamaican woman who, for all intents and purposes, was our third parent.
Yaya, of course, isn’t her given name but it’s what we called her and still do. For almost 35 years, she has taken care of our family in one capacity or another, which means we have never had to say goodbye to her. Frisko also did his best in that regard, living until the right old age of 22 and a half. We were Yaya’s third family. She had two boys of her own and had taken care of another family before us. She was also a seamstress. Took night classes at FIT, had string trailing from everything that she wore and, when babysitting, spent the evenings tracing patterns, cutting fabric and sewing. The whirr of a sewing machine will always remind me of those nights: watching The Cosby Show and if we behaved A Different World; sitting on Yaya’s feet to help her do sit-ups; and the tick tick tick of the sewing machine. She taught me how to sew, thus its no surprise that I think of her every time I am picking out a seam or am dangerously holding pins in my mouth.
I now have two sewing machines. One in New York and one in London. I resisted it for a while. Lack of space, lack of time, lack of inspiration. It only took over priced, adorable baby clothes to motivate me to pick it up again. Before committing, I signed up for a sewing class, left the building and ordered a machine. I made a dress for Lillian with a meter of fabric I bought off eBay and then one for my niece.
I am happy to make dresses on commission. You can choose the fabric or leave it up to me. I have several designs to work from and will be adding more as I find them. You will still need to pull strings and might notice some imperfections but they are what make things handmade. If you are interested please use the form below.