Thursday, October 30, 2014

#TBT - Throwback Thursday - Happy Birthday Nana!

Quiltin Jenny

It's Throwback Thursday here at Quiltin' Jenny, and I hope you'll link up and share your own creative adventures from your pre-blogging days.

Today's post is very late and not a project. It's a nod to the woman who most influenced my interest in sewing, my Nana.

Nana was my maternal grandmother. Nana would have turned 100 years old tomorrow, on Halloween. She was born at home in a little house in Glasco, New York, the oldest of thirteen brothers and sisters. She married my grandfather - a younger man! - in 1939 when she was 25 years old, practically an old maid in those days. Their marriage lasted 66 years until she had to say goodbye to him in 2005.

She was a first generation Italian-American who worked in a sweat shop making women's clothes for most of her life. Nana sewed on a Singer sewing machine that went so fast it scared me, but which never sewed quite fast enough for her. She was used to the speed and power of a commercial machine.

Because of her skill and experience, there was no more particular judge of the quality of commercial garments. I remember her looking at the inside seam of a dress and shaking her head at the way a pattern didn't line up perfectly or how poorly a garment was finished. Although she never turned this critical eye on my work, I was always nervous when showing her something I made.

She made many things for me in my life: doll clothes, a red plaid poncho (it was the '70s!), a yellow bathrobe that Grace once wore for the 100th day of school (she was supposed to dress up like a 100 year old lady), and so much more.

Nana was a wonderful wife, mother, grandmother and great-grandmother; she was a seamstress and an excellent cook; she always had her hair done and wouldn't dare wear a skirt without a slip. She was feminine and modest, but also honest and direct. I'll never forget the time I heard her use the F word.

But mostly I hear her voice in my head when I'm working, urging me to do my best and even rip out a seam or two that could be better. I'm proud to carry on the legacy of needle and thread, and to pass it along to my own daughter.

I am so thankful that I had her in my life long enough to have known her as an adult, and for my children to remember her.

Happy 100th birthday, Nana! I miss you so much!

Do you have an old mature holiday craft to share with us this week?


  1. Such a sweet post, Jenny. She sounds like a wonderful person. Thanks for sharing.

  2. What a wonderful tribute with treasures of photos to share.

  3. What a sweet remembrance of your Nana! I'm glad to see you're back.


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