Denise Johnson: Maria’s vest of many colors - Cincinnati News, FOX19-WXIX TV


Denise Johnson: Maria’s vest of many colors


Getting to spend quality time with your children is very special, but getting to spend it with them when they are 21 years old and in their own little world is priceless.
My daughter Maria turned 21 years old in December, she is a junior at Northern Kentucky University.  She doesn’t live far away, but as a young adult working and going to school, she doesn’t make much time for mom. 
Last week, she asked me if I would teach her how to sew.  She needed help with a school project and wanted to use her sewing machine she just inherited from her grandma, who passed away in October.  Maria had never used a sewing machine, so this was a great opportunity and much easier than teaching her how to drive. 
She had an old jean vest that she stole from me many years ago-- I think the vest is as old as she is. She had an idea of covering the vest in small pieces of fabric in all different colors and sizes. 

She found a lot of fabric she wanted to use, but we hit the jackpot when she found some old quilted pieces made by my grandma, her great-grandma Cornett, over 50 years ago. I had forgotten about them. They still smelled like my grandmother’s house--well and a little musty. They were exactly what she wanted and so much more.   
I had a bunch of different colored embroidery thread, so she started by using every fancy stitch on the machine with a different color.  So she had to thread the machine a lot and sew in mostly straight lines, that was an easy start. She wanted to add the quilted pieces to the inside of the vest and make sleeves… so we just put it together as she came up with the ideas.  It started taking shape, like a “COAT OF MANY COLORS,” that had a meaning like nothing else could ever have.
I enjoyed hanging out with my daughter, and teaching her how to sew like my mother, grandmother and mother-in-law taught me over many years. The vest turned out amazing…it looked adorable.  But the history and the story that is in the vest, the loved ones it represents, gave the “VEST OF MANY COLORS”  a life and history of its own. 

I hope her teacher can appreciate not just what she created out of all these old things, but the history of everything that is in the finished product. Even if she doesn’t get an “A”,  I loved every minute I got to spend with my daughter, creating this piece of living art.

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