Seamstress Found

My mother used to be my seamstress, she was hands down the best seamstress in all of Oklahoma, nay, the world, nay, the universe. The covenant between a seamstress and her client is sacrosanct. You have to be able to trust your seamstress to tell you the truth about your clothing choices. Not what they think you want to hear, even if that truth is harsh.

So I needed a seamstress to do some alterations on a dress I am going to wear to a formal wedding. I found the dress I wanted, I was really hoping I wasn’t just thinking it would look good on me and it was not going to.

I researched online to find a seamstress, I found one with great reviews and called her. She could fit me in, I have two dresses, one is my dream dress the other a backup.

I took both because one needed to be altered and one needed to be hemmed.

Today I had a fitting, the one that needed to be altered, dream dress, fits like a glove, but I didn’t want to be overly optimistic. So I said I’m not really sure, she said try on the other one, I did. She came into the room and said can I be honest with you.

I said, yes please, brutally, she said the first dress looks amazing on you, this dress makes you look older than you are. I was like um I’m 55, she said what, I said um yeah. She said no, this is not the dress for you, the first one looks amazing and that is the one you need to wear.

I concurred, she will finish the alterations and have it cleaned and pressed and I will pick it up Monday.

I am very excited, this wedding is going to be so awesome, I cannot wait to see this beautiful bride walk down the aisle.

I am very happy to have found a good seamstress in the area, I haven’t really had one since my mom stopped being one. Like I said, the trust has to be there, my mother used to tell me some harsh truths. And I appreciated it, greatly, I am not one to tell a white lie when it comes to fashion.

It’s a risky thing, to tell a stranger the truth in a department store dressing area. I have done that, of course I told them my name was Rachel and I was a buyer for Bloomingdales. I didn’t want to die.

being the daughter of a seamstress affords me a different eye when it comes to fashion and what fits and what looks good on people. I wish I could sew, I cannot, I never had the patience to learn, my poor mother tried, but even she had to admit defeat.

My head was better suited to living in the clouds and reading all day long. She knew that and was happy to allow me to be well, me.

Maybe I’ll post pictures of me in the dress, that way you can all judge me. It’ll be too late by then, but hey, that is what the internet was invented for. Judging others after the fact, or making up stuff in it’s entirety and going to jail for it.


I have been thinking a lot lately about my mom and the kind of woman she was and the legacy she left. My mom was a seamstress, one of the best, there was always someone coming and going from our house that she sewed for. After she was done with the piece she was creating, she would carefully fold the scraps and put them in the bag for the customer.

Nine times out of 10 the customer would tell her, I don’t want these scraps, what am I supposed to do with them, you keep them Mrs. Testerman. I am now going to tell you all what she did with those scraps.

If there is anyone who reads this that my mother sewed for in the 1970’s and 80’s, you might be astonished, or you might think yup, that sounds like her.

She would take the scraps and make quilt tops; she would work all year long on these things. This was the time of polyester, and colorfulness, so the quilt tops were very colorful. One weekend in November I came upon her and my dad putting all of these quilt tops in the car. I asked what they were doing, my mom seemed embarrassed, my dad said they were taking them to Mother Tucker.

I didn’t know who that was, so of course I pressed the issue, my mother then told me that Mother Tucker ran a homeless shelter for men in Tulsa. You see back then it wasn’t families that were homeless, it was primarily men, mostly Vietnam Veterans that were having a hard time fitting back into society.

I asked my mom why quilt tops and not a whole quilt, she said that the polyester material was thick enough to keep someone warm and thin enough that the person could fold it up and easily carry it with them during the day. She said the colorfulness reminded her of Jacob’s coat of many colors, it made her feel good think of someone wrapped in something pretty in such a bleak circumstance.

I wonder if there is anyone out there that remembers Mother Tucker and the things she did in Tulsa, Oklahoma. I wonder if there is anyone out there that was the recipient of one of my mothers’ quilt tops, if they felt the love she sewed into every stitch.

You see she remembered the hard times of the depression and the many times that families went without. Her heart was with these men and the struggles they faced, she knew struggle and she knew hard times, she wanted to ease someone else’s struggle. I do believe she did, more than she ever knew, she eased my struggle in life, her memory and her life lessons continue to ease my struggle on a daily basis.

If you are reading this and you were one of her customers, or maybe your parents were her customers, please know that your scraps went to good use.

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