A Family Tradition of Sewing

Today I want to share some photos of my dear Grandma Lawhorn.

Mom-model 3

Here she is modeling hand-made clothing that she made in the 1960’s. Doesn’t she look beautiful?

My Aunt Susan (who is an amazing seamstress herself) sent these photographs to our whole family. I emailed her and asked what she knew about the pictures, and here’s what she said:

“The pictures of mom were in outfits she had made for the Women’s Club in Oak Ridge (Tennessee) – and their annual fashion show. Those particular photos were taken at the old Holiday Inn (behind what is now Outback) but it was a premium hotel back in the day! I don’t really know HOW they decided what they would make – or if they were assigned specific types of outfits, but I know that she would sew and make several to model herself and once I got old enough – I would even model some too! I remember the casual dress that was photographed and even remember her wearing it after that show.”

Isn’t that an amazing story?

I just love the styles that she chose to make. That coat in the first picture is so exquisite. I love the clean lines! And the pleating on this next dress is beautiful. I would really like to be able to see the dress up close today to touch the fabric, and to study the type of finishes she used on the inside.

Mom-model 1

Here’s something else my Aunt Susan told me:

“She (my Grandma) also did some sewing for the old Miller’s stores in Oak Ridge – they would purchase the fabric and give her patterns to make (kind of funny that they did fashion shows of hand-made clothing and not what they had in the store!) But I can remember her twisting and turning patterns to make what she HAD to make for the show so that she could make something else for me out of what was left (she was told she could have anything fabric left over). That’s when I used to tease her that she could make ANYTHING out of a yard of fabric! She was so talented combining patterns, too….front from this pattern, sleeves from another and the collar modified from yet another! Always a work in progress!”

I love this because I can totally relate when I sew today. Anytime I have extra fabric leftover from a project, I always save as much as I can. You never know when the fabric might be perfect to make pockets, a pair of facings, or bias binding down the road! I may not have children that I’m trying to make clothing for on a budget, but it’s still wise to try and use every scrap that you may have on hand.

Right now I’m not confident enough to mix and match patterns the way she did. I’m afraid I might mess something up with the measurement conversions. I hope someday (soon) I will be skilled enough to do so!

Mom-model 2

I hope you all enjoyed reading a bit about my Grandmother and her sewing days. :) She passed away a couple of years ago, but it’s especially interesting for me to still hear stories like this today. I didn’t get into sewing until after she passed, but I know that she’d be proud of my efforts today, which makes my work that much more meaningful. :) I truly believe sewing is in my genes!

By the way, my Grandma Lawhorn’s maiden name is Pate, which was my middle name. My Grandma and I used to share the same initals – she was Azilee Pate Lawhorn, and I was Amanda Pate Lawhorn (before I got married). And now my dog-daughter, Blanca, has the same middle name – from which this blog was named!!

Below is a formal picture of Grandma in her younger days. Isn’t she gorgeous?

Mom - formal portrait


2 thoughts on “A Family Tradition of Sewing

  1. Thank you for sharing these pictures and photos with us, Amanda! It’s so fun to see what our loved ones did and hear their stories. Your grandma made beautiful things!

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