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Sew What?

Chavi Brody

Half a year after my sewing class, it was unthinkable for me to appear in shul or at a simchah in a store-bought outfit

Thursday, October 27, 2016

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I hummed “Od Yishama” on my way to school on a brilliant Tuesday morning. Last night my brother Dovid had become a chassan! I knew I was in for a grand welcome from my 11th-grade classmates but I never imagined the sheer deluge of mazel tovs that engulfed me.

“Chani!” shrieked Suri, “what a shidduch! Tzivi Perlman is tops!”

“I think Dovid Fish is a terrific bochur!” Ruchi said as she gave me a wink. There was nobody like Ruchi, my best friend.

At recess, Ruchi cornered me. “Okay, Chan, what’s with the dresses?” “Dresses?” I repeated innocently.

“Yeah, like are you making them?” asked Ruchi.

“Like, is it Tuesday today? Of course I’m making them. Mom and I are going fabric shopping next week. I’ve got the total ensemble planned out in my head. For me, and my four sisters.” “Chani, don’t you think it’s a bit too much?” Ruchi wondered out loud. “No. I think it’s going to be a blast!”

It’s weird, sewing is in my blood, though my own mother can only sew a button or simple hem. My grandfather used to tell me how my grandmother was an expert seamstress so I guess it’s in the genes. Mom held great hopes for me. I suppose that’s why she surprised me with a Bernina sewing machine for my 14th birthday.

“Ma, you got the top brand!”

“It was worth every penny,” replied my mother. “Now, which class should I sign you up for? Mrs. Cohen or Mrs. Lewis?” Within half a year it was unthinkable for me to appear in shul or at a simchah in a store-bought outfit.

After a whirlwind week, Mom and I stood in a colossal fabric warehouse and searched for quality fabric and reasonable prices. The bolts were like rows of lollipops, each yummier than the next. “See anything interesting, Chani?” asked my mother.

“Mom, where are you?”

“Over here, in between the baby-blue velour and herringbone satin,” she replied. “Wow, these colors are perfect for Dassi and Chaya, though the cloth is pretty pricey. Maybe we can find similar material for cheaper?”

“But what a pity to compromise on the quality,” I protested.

“All right, we’ll take this one then,” said Mom, biting her lip.

Time seemed to fly between Mrs. Wexler’s killer Chumash tests, Mrs. Rochman’s zany science assignments, and of course, the dresses! I measured each sister and cut out the material. What a thrill it was to slide the scissors down the lush material! I could picture three-year-old Dassi and six-year-old Chaya dancing in their stunning dresses. They were going to look like dolls! The ringing phone brought me back to reality. A shame, I finally felt in the mood to accomplish some serious sewing work.

“Hi! It’s Naomi from the Chesed Club. Mrs. Yakobovitz had a boy, number six, and her oldest is seven. We’re short on babysitting help. Think you can help out?”

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