“The old rhyme says something old, something new, so bunting made from old hankies seemed a good idea.”
This summer will be one of joy for Janet Lees, as she plans for the wedding of her daughter Hannah. And until the big day she has her hands full with the happy work of making decorations with a deeply emotional link.
Working alongside her friends Gwen and Lisa, she is stitching wedding banners and yards of bunting, for Hannah, 26, and weaving their memories into every piece.
For the bunting is drawn from a collection of mementos of Janet’s own mother, Anne, who was the wellspring of the family’s stitching passion.
“Sorting through the fabric and notions in the stash I came across my mum’s button box and in another drawer a pile of her cotton handkerchiefs,” said Janet. “Each one different, some were lace edged and some embroidered. I thought it would be good to find a way to use them.
“They were relatively easy to fold into a pennant shape and then to sew in place. I decorated them with bits from the button box, including some blue buttons and bows for the rhyme: something borrowed, something blue.”
Janet learned to sew at her mother’s side and, as she brought up Hannah, she shared the same skills and passions. Janet became so proficient in her skill that she made her own wedding dress when she married 28 years ago, something that Hannah is now also working on for her own special day.
The magic of making keeps Anne, who died suddenly 13 years ago, close to both women.
Janet said: “Mum and Hannah used to make fairy dresses from old net curtains when Hannah went to visit her when she was a child. My mum bought Hannah her first sewing machine when she was 10. It’s a hand Singer. Hannah and I made dresses together from the time Hannah was in junior school. She soon progressed to making her own.”
When Hannah asked her mother to make decorations for her handmade wedding, Janet naturally called on her closest craft allies, Lisa, Hannah’s godmother, and pal Gwen. The trio often do craft projects together and the project gave them a new purpose.
Although she will be sorely missed on the day, Janet feels she has played her part in bringing everything Anne meant to her loved ones to Hannah’s celebrations.
“(I think Mum would) be pleased and happy. Thankful and emotional, glad. She’d be proud as well of Hannah’s sewing skills,” she added. “It is the best way of having her there in spirit. I was always aware she wouldn’t be there and that’s a gap that’s real.”