I love to sew! And to think it all started in 7th grade Home Ec sewing class in Clifton, NJ. Making a simple A-line skirt and a beach wrap (displayed on the wall by the teacher) were the humble beginnings of better things to come.
With my mom too busy with a new baby brother to teach me more, my dad’s mother took me under her wings. A former professional seamstress, Grammy helped me sew a western shirt, not an easy project with those angled points, and taught me well to use the seam ripper. I learned to rip out my mistakes, start over, and make it right! After all, in making life mistakes, it’s how we accept correction or change that makes all the difference. So, when I tried to make a quilt on my own, totally wrong, my Grammy taught me the correct way. She gifted me with several fabrics as I made a cardboard template to cut out 6-inch squares. Laying the fabric squares out on the living room floor, I set them in a pattern. I then sewed up the long strips, and sewed each long strip side by side. My mother gave me a flannel sheet for the lining and a white sheet for the backing, and voila! I had just made my first quilt! With that success, Grammy then gifted me with fabric every Christmas over several years for yet more skirts and dresses.
After my family moved to Lounsberry, NY in 1969, I bought a c.1900 treadle machine that my auctioneer cousin, Howard, was selling for only $3. My dad oiled it, fixed the tension, got a new leather belt for the wheels, and my sewing obsession took off. More skirts, suits and dresses were made on that treadle machine to carry me through high school, including my prom gown and wedding gown.
Turning 20 on my first birthday after we married, my husband bought me a new Singer electric sewing machine! And oh, if it could talk, the miles of thread and fabric it has sewn in clothes for myself, shirts for my husband, clothes for my children, and tiny clothes for their dolls. And, now, using this same sewing machine, I’ve been making quilts in log cabin and prairie window designs, along with simple and more detailed table runners. And I wish my dear Grammy could see them for she taught me well!
Have you known that feeling of contentment as you worked to create something of value for yourself or others? Have you known what it feels like to be so engrossed in a project that you lose all sense of time? Have you known the frustration of having to take the time to rip out a seam, or correct something that just wasn’t right? And, because you did so, you then felt the satisfaction of seeing your finished project in all its beauty?
This poem was written in a reflective moment, remembering that various hardships and testing over the years have helped to define character and create who we are deep in our soul. I may not want to face the trials which might be coming in the future; but, in looking back, neither can I imagine life without the hardships we have worked through – for they refine our life and shape us for the better.
And I can’t help but realize that the Lord knows what He’s doing as He works His will through those trials which He allows each of us to face. “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him...” (Romans 8:28, NIV) For through these difficulties, He shapes and molds us into the unique and special person He means for us to be.
The Master Tailor
Linda A. Roorda
As the seamstress sits and begins to sew
Her loving care goes into each stitch
And correlation stirs within her thoughts
Of the Creator’s design deep in her soul.
In her mind’s eye she sees it take shape
From simple concept to finished result
And beams with joy, her dream made complete
As she holds with pride her creation dear.
But what the world just cannot see
Are errors which loomed about to destroy
For outward beauty can never reveal
The seam ripper’s hand in disciplined cuts.
When I beheld what the seamstress had wrought
I could not miss the significant key
Of one who deftly shaped my own soul
From even before my life came to be.
The Master Tailor gazed into the future
And pondered the me who I should be.
He planned and designed each path for my good
As He cut and sewed the fabric of me.
He carefully stitched and eased the seams
And reigned in penchants of wayward threads,
But now and then along the way
The seam ripper’s edge He gently employed.
For don’t you see without the hardships
Life’s burdens and pain cannot reflect
The greater good down deep in my heart
As seam ripper cuts shape my will to His.
On a journey I am, a work in progress
For someday when my time has come
He’ll gaze upon His workmanship
And see exactly who He planned me to be.
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