June 20, 2009

My Namesake

This is my dear grandmother from the late 40's or early 50's. Unfortunately, my family didn't date the photos so I am guessing by the age of my own mother it must be around this time.

Isn't she a beauty? I love that you didn't have to have a perfect figure to wear a bathing suit. I love that her hair was white from the time she was a teenager and she was still considered a "looker." I love that her bathing suit didn't have to reveal everything. And I love that she wore these great shoes with it. It is from her, my grandmother Kathleen, that I received my name.

Growing up I was called Kathy. But, as a young adult I decided that I preferred her name to Kathy. As I was facing extremely challenging times in my life, she died. And when I thought about her, she exemplified victory in the face of hardship. I claimed that same victory for myself through Jesus Christ. And as he changed the names of his believers when they were sanctified for his work I chose to go by her name as my reminder that I had become a new person through Him and He would lead me through the trials to the joyful life. My life has not always been easy since then but I have always had JOY: overflowing happiness no matter what the circumstances.

And this totally unrelated picture is because another blogger and I were chatting about our love of sewing and sewing vintage clothes for our children and dressing them in the more classic fashions of our parents.

Back around 2001, my parent's found this great vintage looking fabric and Simplicity pattern at Joann's Fabric. They fell in love with it. I loved to sew and made all my children's clothes at the time. They invested over a hundred dollars just in the fabric.

Now, I always bought clearance fabric...you know where I could sew matching outfits for all the girls for about $10. I was not, and still am not, the best seamstress. I was so overwhelmed by this intricate pattern and worried of ruining the expensive fabric. I really had to work myself up to even start it.

I was supposed to have them finished for the Easter holiday. I remember the week before Easter being almost in tears because there was so much work yet to do. My husband loaded me into the car and took me to the mall to get other dresses for the girls just so I would stop worrying about it.

Each of those points had to be individually cut, folded, pressed, stitched, lined up. It made a beautiful effect but it was very time consuming and I had a baby and was in the midst of a troubling pregnancy. I learned how to make all my own piping to match the fabric. The baby, Emma's dress, I had to design myself since there was no pattern in her size. Something I had never done before. I designed the hat and a little bag, as well, using parts to different patterns.

I finally finished these dresses when my husband was away on travel in time to enter them in our county fair that fall. I was so excited when they took second place. And a little disappointed that they only took second place. My spirits were lifted when I picked it up on the closing day of the fair and a lady stopped me to compliment the fine detail work.

We had this picture made as a birthday gift for my father that November.


  1. Those are gorgeous dresses. Even after 10 years of sewing, I still stick with simple patterns. No time for more complicated. And I also stick with less expensive fabric. I buy the girls fabric from Joann, the quilters calicos when they go on sale. They are intended for quilting, but I love them for jumpers.

  2. Wow, I love that even 'back then' she was daring enough to take a photo in a swimsuit. I bet back then that was considered a 'sultry' photo, ya think? She's beautiful!

    I'll have to dig through older photos for my "Memory Lane" post this Wednesday. =0)

  3. Kat,

    Well I just got back from lunch at our local mall and read your comment on my blog. Oh how our lives seem to cross each other at some parallel point in time.

    I was named after grandfather's sister's child if you can follow that. My grandfather was married and she died when my mom was only 3. With 5 kids to raise my grandfather's sister has also lost her husband, so the siblings banded together to help each other raise a family in the midsts of some difficult times in Philadelphia.

    So I was named after her daughter Kathy Ann, if you can believe that. I mean how cheerleader of a plain old jane name can that be. It got to the point where I dreaded my Aunt Kathy's visit, because I was referred to as Kathy Ann in order not to confuse everyone else.

    When I was old enough, I completely adopted my full real name and went with Kathleen, but I hated how people would always just call me Kathy for short.

    I picked up on the shorter version of Kat, when I saw the movie, Casper. The daughter's name was Kat and I thought well I love it, and I'm going to use it.

    Seems like lately all the Kat's have a very similiar story as well.

    Love and Hugs ~ Kat