I’m Dorothy; proudly South African and all my life I have loved to create.
My mother was an outstanding tailor and needlewoman and seated at her side at the warm Oregon pine kitchen table I would lovingly fondle the soft pastel threads of angora and pure wool whilst knitting needles clicked and crochet hooks sped through the air producing fluffy soft cardigans and intricately cabled Aran and Fairisle jerseys that gently folded into her lap as she read one Mills and Boon Romance novella after another and I would gaze in wonder as these luxurious handiworks yielded under her soft and beautiful hands with such seeming ease.
But it was the magic of her sewing needle that really took my breath away when an utterly enchanting dress would gently be drawn over my head.
My arms were raised in a benedictional offering to the soft eggshell blue flawless cotton creations of cut on the bias A-line dresses embossed with silky threads whose every patterned stripe perfectly matched at the seams.
Oh the wonder of the flared from the waist birthday dress created out of a charming fabric of buttery yellow daisies interspersed with spring green shoots and tiny cream roses that accompanied yellow gloves embroidered with the tiniest of cream roses; and hand knitted cotton socks lovingly placed next to the matching bag & shoes.
Standing on a kitchen chair with hands newly washed with the gentlest of Lux soaps I would softly stroke the finest of beautifully patterned chiffons as they were lovingly laid out on the patina of the pine table. Chiffons that were too fine to be pinned were held down with the softest of weights fabricated from doctor’s flannel. My mother expertly cut and manoeuvred the silks and satins for the linings that precisely fitted into the creations of my sister’s evening dresses that rivalled those of Cinderella. Creations of chiffons so fine that they had to be sewn together between layers of soft tissue paper caused great anticipation with the knowledge that these would always be followed by a miniature creation especially crafted for myself.
And at night after all this plethora of wonder, I would cuddle up under a quilted blanket of the most bejewelled fabrics and fall into a contented and dreamfilled sleep as my hands continued to stroke the wonders of my mother’s creations.
It is no wonder that my devotion to the finest and most beautiful of fabrics was born in the moments when the senses of a little girl were guided by a fabric sorceress to encounter the serendipity of subtle aromas of immaculately crisp fabrics that continue to delight and to bear forth a never-ending stream of happy memories.