Thursday, July 21, 2011

Whatever happened to...

Originally posted 12/15/07... and what strange timing, for reasons I'll explain later,

A good ol' housedress for the very elderly?

You know, arthritic hands, wanting to dress independently, velcro closure for the less agile, pockets for the obligatory tissue...

Well, I guess I was imagining something more... Ruby Dee...



And less... Mrs. Roper.



My grandmother has been in an Altzheimer like state since I was little, and is now nearly blind and doesn't really talk anymore.



I brought a video camera with me on my last visit to see her, and she wanted to play with it, looking at herself on the screen... she found it fascinating...

She has no idea who I am, but she is very clear on who my father is, and does not understand/know he is dead... so, when I check on her or send her something, I just do it in my Dad's name.

Her nurse once asked me if she sewed...

I don't know the answer to this. It never came up.

She's in perfect physical health, but in hospice care, due to her advanced age and mental state.

I had only been to her home (my Dad's childhood home) in a southern town which shall remain nameless, lest I offend any readers, ONCE. It was such an uncomfortable experience for me, that I VOWED never to go back... And, I have never felt such HOT weather in my life! By now, the place may have changed, since that was about 15 years ago -- but then, it was the kind of place where you walk into the local restaurant, and the whole place would turn silently toward you, conversation would cease, as if to say... "What are YOU doing here?" There is one race in that town, apparently... and I'm pretty darn sure they'd like to keep it that way. My grandmother's neighborhood was more than happy to see her move out. I heard her neighbors had been working on ways to remove her for some time...

Anyway, at that house, there were two beautiful pieces of machinery... an old sewing machine, which I gushed over the moment I arrived, and a lovely baby grand piano. I couldn't hold a conversation with her even then, so I don't know if the sewing machine was hers, or had been passed down to her by my great-grandmother. No one seems to know, and now, no one seems to know where it went.

Anyway, when she sits quietly, she simulates a sewing motion.

I know that the only path to communication with her now is touch, so I figured sending her something textural for Christmas would be a comfort to her. She's 94 now.

So, she has always been a bit of a fashion plate, so I figured a fun housedress would be great. I figured I'd buy one, and then knit or crochet appliques for it, to give it texture, so she could run her fingers across it, and sense that someone had added something to this garment just for her.

Guess what?

No suitable housedresses to be found. One would think maybe PajamaGram or a special needs or medical apparel company, or some version of specialty place would have them, right? Guess not.

Guess I'll need to make it myself. Luckily, I still have this pattern, which makes it easier than drafting one...



Here are the fabrics I am thinking of using. Maybe I'll make two.







Any votes on which two fabrics I should use?

Note: About three weeks after writing this post, and deciding to give my grandmother the first gift I ever would have given her, she passed away peacefully in her sleep.

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