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Dec 30, 2013

She Hated It.



I wish I had good news to share about my mother's reaction to the psychedelic robe I made her this weekend.

Her response in a nutshell:  "It's really not me."

She didn't want to take the robe home with her.  (If that's not straight out of Emily Post, I don't know what is.)  On the plus side, my mother willingly posed for photographs in it. 



She acknowledged that the robe fit perfectly and said (when I asked) that she'd wear one just like it only in a solid color.  As you can imagine, I'm rushing out to get that fabric this very minute.

Knowing my mother as I do, I wasn't very surprised.  I guess when you're eighty (plus), you can stop pretending to like what you don't like.  Which sort of makes sense but doesn't exactly endear you to others.

Like most parents, my mother is a mixed bag: she's loving in many ways but also a bit of a killjoy.

There is a moral here but I forgot what it is. 

Have you ever made something for someone and they didn't even pretend to like it?  If so, what was your response?

In closing -- Mothers! (exasperated palm slap to the forehead)

Have a great day, everybody!

(Peter, Peter, Peter....)

77 comments:

  1. Oh boo! At least you had fun with it, and those circular pockets were great. Personally, I appreciate the honesty of that response. Typically, people just smile and then I never see the gift again...

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  2. I held off on commenting until now and as I am closing in on your Mom's age, I can now say that I agree with her. The fabric is just TOO much. Although I probably would have taken it home and hidden it. By being honest, though she is going to get a robe that she likes...I hope. What color would she really like?

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  3. I love this and it really looks cute on your Mother! I have to agree when you get to be that age perhaps you have earned the right to say what you REALLY mean, nice or not. See it as a test garment and the next solid color one will be perfect!!

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  4. I'd have worn it right out the door when I left, and enjoyed the heck out of it. The only way I wouldn't have liked it was if it didn't fit -- too tight under the arms, something like that. I only "do" comfort these days. But then, I have crayon art on my fridge and play-doh sculptures dotting the book cases. But my hey-day was during the psychedelic 60's. The robe is a time machine to pleasant olden days. As a sewist, I always worry that what I've poured my soul into (as well as a precious length of retro fabric) will not be met with delight. Last year I made 2 granddaughters cute tunics and bell-bottom pants. They both hated them. Tomorrow is another day.

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  5. I love it, but respect that she doesn't. I think a nice light sky blue would look lovely on her

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  6. I think it's so fun, and boo to her. Could she not just say that she liked it? I guess not hahah. I do sometimes think that people like to come up with their own fun choices, and someone else having fun with a gift is less appreciate. Saying all that, if anyone is uniquely allowed to says they don't like something, it's your Mum.

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  7. I once carefully scanned and reprinted a watercolor made by my sister and made it into a pillow with fabric that matched or at least went with it. Too some time and thought. .
    My sister didn't like it really and ended up using it as a cushion in her car. I rarely make things for others now.

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  8. If I made that for my mother and never saw her wear it again I would be more hurt than if she told me she liked it except not in that color. The first reaction says, "Let me humor the child. Poor thing." The second reaction says, "I acknowledge your skill and want to give your gift the respect it deserves, which means wearing it!" Yeah, it's a bit of a killjoy at the onset but think of the happiness she and you will share when you give her the solid color one. It will be happiness everlasting instead of continual wondering disappointment. :)

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  9. Don't you just love the look of little Freddy in the first photo ~ wouldn't you love to know what he is thinking?!?

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    Replies
    1. WHAT!!! Do you have plans on making a little matching doggy psychedelic brunch coat in 2014 ~ Willy may get green eyes ... J

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  10. I also have sewn for my own mother who is very vocal when she hates the final product, the fabric or an aspect of a garment. I love her for that even though it is a blow to the ego. I appreciate her honest over giving someone something that I put my heart and soul into and never see them use or wear it. I find pretending to like something that is hated is more hurtful. I think you should be happy that she likes the design and is anticipating a new one in a solid colour. Think of it as a wearable muslin and put your heart and soul into another one and I'm sure all her love for your great gift and the new robe will come through.

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  11. Sometimes people tend to think of themselves as having not aged, or maybe aged one year for five. Forty-six years ago -- during the Psychodelic Summer Of Love -- you were just out of short pants, and now you are a "grey-beard", undeniably an adult man. Psycholdelic colors and patterns may remind her of much water under the bridge. Not much from 1967 I'd like to own, except maybe a Ferrari 308 or a Pontiac GTO.

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  12. Aw, it's a shame she didn't like it. Perhaps you could dye it in a solid colour for her?

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  13. Well, just think of it as a muslin for the design / pattern, which is obviously a success if she said she'd wear one in her preferred fashion fabric!

    Clothing is so personal. Good for her for knowing her own taste. Not everything is to everyone's taste.

    Between you and Cathy and that pink wig you wore yesterday I'm sure you'll find good use for this funky wearable muslin! Maybe with a pair of white go-go boots for a 60's vibe? Does Cathy do 60s?

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    1. Oh yes!

      https://picasaweb.google.com/101177577152766699680/CathySModelsHerOnePatternWardrobe

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  14. If I was as small as your mom, I'd say send it down to Florida! But being a blunt person all my life who doesn't really like having assumptions made for me, I completely understand her honesty. Not to diminish YOUR feelings though. From the Dept of Suck It Up ... I bet Michael might tell you at least your mom is still around to give such honest opinions. See ... there's always a bright side ... if not a bright robe.

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  15. I think the robe would make a great giveaway! How about a nice teal or aqua for the next robe?

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  16. OK Not sure where that comment went but I'll show up as anonymous and not Gaz even if I log in but, have to say, yep, it's not your mothers colours at all - could you not dye it a solid colour - the other colours would mute and it could look great (or you may luck out and it will become a solid colour with the patter just visible)

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  17. Years ago I made my mom an arty jacket that had a fabulous quilted sunburst on the back. Last year when I was cleaning out their closets so they could move to assisted living, I found the jacket, in such pristine condition I doubt if it'd ever been worn. I was mad for a bit, but then I just brought it home so I could wear it. I guess you should be happy that she told you.

    I'd love to see it on Cathy, too!

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  18. Honestly it's very hard understanding how little taste your own family has! I admire her honesty though, but she is WRONG!

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  19. That's too bad. Did she see and approve the fabric ahead of time, but just didn't envision how it would look on her when it was finished? You did a great job with the project, and I hope you do make her another one that she will wear.

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    1. In her defense, she did not. It was just a lark on my part. I keep forgetting she's not Phyllis Diller.

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    2. BINGO!
      ...do the soft blue...and Cathy can wear the psycho robe.

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  20. The 60s were not her decade. You will hate the 90s when you are her age.

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  21. My mom likes to give me a detailed list of what else she actually wanted if I surprise her with a gift. And then says she likes this very much but...My mom has no filter. Still, at least you know it fits!

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  22. My grandmother was the same way. Honest and not worried about hurting people's feelings. I would wear the robe until it wore out. I'd care more about my sons feelings than wearing a robe I disliked. You don't even wear it outside.

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  23. It's disappointing when a reaction to a project is negative but that honesty is part of what makes positive reactions to other projects so great- then you know they mean it.

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  24. Perhaps your mother's loss is another's gain - I personally find the robe to be gangbuster! It looked great on you! Colors and style were marvelous and the round pockets very inspired.

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  25. BTW, perhaps a quilted solid fabric for your mom....

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  26. First of all I LOVED that robe....and I would never have picked out that fabric, but seeing it done up, love it. I'm your age and not your Mom's so in 30 years I may feel differently, but if I had been given such a gift, I would have loved it and worn it. Anything made by hand and gifted to me touches my heart. M OWN mother, would be the type of person that would open a Christmas gift, and look visibly unhappy if she didn't like it....then without skipping a beat, ask if you kept the receipt so there was not doubt about her feelings on it. Her lack of tact was always hurtful to me. I can understand not wanting to waste money on a gift she didn't like...but if she had pulled me aside later (not in front of everyone) and tell me how much she appreciated the gift, but would prefer something a little different....well it would have been far less hurtful in the long run. Eh, parents, what can you do?

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  27. I know I should be glad when people are honest about whether or not they like a gift I've given them. In reality, since I always put a lot of thought into it (and if I've sewn it, time and effort as well--and I'm one of the slowest sewers in the world), I'm kinda bummed out. Not majorly so, but just, "Wow, would it kill you to like it? Or at least say you like it and wear it once in awhile?" I guess being in your eighties might make you feel you hadn't time to wear things you didn't like or say things you didn't mean, but still. I'm not sure complete straight up honesty is always all it's cracked up to be.

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  28. LOVE, love, love your Pucciesque robe. I would wear it at home, and out and about, like a dress. I am 64, and adore late 60's - early 70's style. I adore the pockets, and colours. I really appreciate hand-made gifts from children. I lost my children through a very bad divorce. Gabriel, an artist, returned at age 24. His hand-made card graces the sewing machine. I lost the other child. Cathie, in Quebec.

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  29. How far does laughter travel? Palm slap to forehead ... nah! Pot and kettle! You and your mother are of such certain opinions. And a hoot! That Phyllis Diller idea is a keeper.
    from the Rocky Mountain West

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  30. I remain totally in love with it, but I have to admit it did more for you. Maybe that pattern's strong enough that you need some height to carry it off?

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  31. Please send it to me so I can be all Allan Carr fabulous!! I would wear it with a turban and those gold lamé mules.

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  32. Hahahahaha... oh my. I had to comment on this! Yes, I had the same thing happen to me this Christmas. The receiver is 6 and her first comment when she opened the box was, "It isn't pink." Apparently pink lace ruffles, skirt panel and big pink beads weren't enough... To give her credit, she did apologize later...
    Your robe looks fabulous and your Mom looks like a hoot. At least you know what to do for the next one...

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  33. But she looks so cute in it! And the fit is great! Haha, making gifts is tricky. I once made my sister a winter headband for Christmas - she didn't bring it back home with her, haha.

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  34. It's easy to see that the print is way to large for her. Take it back and make her a tote or make your place some pillows to spruce up that couch!

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  35. Bummer :( Maybe it can be doggy-patting outfit #2 - for when the housecoat is in the wash?

    But, anyway, it's a good fit so a successful practice run. Despite your recent experience with Michael, maybe you should take her fabric shopping next time.

    Spud.

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  36. Speaking as someone who had a mother who would never have even tried it on, much less participated in the wild and wonderful world of you and Cathy . . . I say, she can have whatever kind of robe she wants. . . and be quick about it.

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  37. Oh no! It's good that you guys are close enough to be honest with each other, but maybe tact isn't terrible either... At least you have Cathy, and she will continue to be the best (and brightest) dressed lady around!

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  38. Oh dear - (Tailors) chalk that one up to experience - it can now be YOUR lovely psychadelic house coat ; )
    At least (if there is a next one) you will have learnt from sizing etc and see it as a trail run and make your mum something in a colour she would prefer.
    I made a simple navy fleece style top for my boyfriend in the 'early years' which he didn't like it but he was quite tactful about it (he didn't want to upset me). I haven't made him anything since and we have been together nearly 20 years now!

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  39. After sewing for 3 daughters through the years, I know better than to stash bust a surprise for them . That's a sure way to get that reaction. Donate it and make her one from fabric and style she chooses. Maybe lose the circle pockets or ask her about those too just to be on the safe side. She's your mom, and you're lucky to have her still to make a cozy housecoat for. Perhaps she was disappointed because she was expecting a traditional solid color type to lounge in. I say humor her and find out what she wants in the way of material and color. It's really much better if you get input and they love it and wear it instead of being polite and ditching it.

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  40. At least she told you up front that she didn't like it. Imagine your response if you found the robe at the Chelsea Flea Market a few weeks later. =)

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  41. I questioned that print choice from the get-go, but thought you'd know your mom the best. At 66 my thought was been there, done that on such a bold print, but then maybe your mom's more "hip"? I may adopt her very honest attitude, love it! I also love your blog!

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  42. Peter,
    Thank you for this post. You made me laugh so hard, I scared the dog. I have had a terrible year, and to have such a good laugh on the last day has been wonderful.

    I'm sorry your mom didn't like it, I thought it was well made, warm looking, and bright. You need bright in the dreary days of winter.

    Thanks again for the amazing laugh. You are a treat. I look forward to seeing your projects in the new year.

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  43. After years of sewing and knitting for others, everything I make goes with a note that says: Heather's rule: If you don't like it and are not going to use it, please give it away to someone who does and will or donate it to charity. Most of what I make these days is knit accessories (until my bum knee is fixed, standing at a cutting table hurts too much.) It finally sunk in that guessing what someone will like isn't really a good idea.

    At least your mum was nice about it - and Cathy has a cool robe.
    Why not take her fabric shopping and to lunch?
    P.S. Do you ever line robes? They don't stick to your clothes if you do, meaning you can wear one 50s style - popping it on over undies or matching night gown when half dressed - as 50s/60s ladies didn't just throw on a robe on over skin. (Sorry for the babble. taking pain killers for knee.)

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  44. Make it a giveaway and show your mom all 300+ entries of people fighting for it. That will teach her! Turn down a MPB original, tssss.

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  45. Yes, Peter, I did make something for a Christmas gift this year that wasn't exactly appreciated. I made my sister and brother-in-law matching swin suits. Cheetah print spandex, small scale. Hers a two piece, what I would call modest bikini. His a modest Speedo type bikini brief with a draw string elastic waist. They went to Mexico for the holidays - I thought it was a perfect gift! She wore hers; he wouldn't even try his on! Oh well...

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    1. I'm not surprised at your brother-in-law's reaction:
      (1) Cheetah print
      (2) Matching fabric to the wife's
      Definite Oh No! choices :-)

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  46. Oh, Peter! I am going to a quilt retreat soon with the theme "Piece, Love and Quilting!" I am gathering my old 70's clothes to take and this robe is just my size. I would buy it from you in a snap. Let me know if you are interested in selling it and I will get right back to you. Debra

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  47. Oh Peter, that's disappointing! If I were to guess based on just looking at the photos in this post, I would have thought that she *loved* the robe. She certainly looks adorable in it. (And it's for indoor use only, so doesn't it only matter if it's comfy and warm?...)

    I find that choosing fabrics for others is a slippery slope. In my case, I have a number of young nephews and nieces who are still very much into prescribed gender colour schemes. I made them toys this year (I'd never have the patience to sew clothes for them that they would outgrow in a matter of months), and I really tried to break out of boy/girl colours -- but then you wonder if they might like the gift less. I can only imagine that you were trying to throw a fun, expected print into your mom's daily routine.

    Oh well -- just remember that making the robe did bring out your creativity and generosity, and hang on to that. Happy new year!

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  48. Since so many readers are commenting on your mother (with comments like "would if have killed her to pretend to like it", etc.) I'm going to stick up for her. Since you both knew you were going to sew her a robe (after returning the store bought robe), wouldn't it have been better to ask her what she wanted? Or to buy fabric specifically for this project, instead of pulling thrift store material out of your stash? She's not being crochety (sp?) to want something nice and soft for a robe. I know I can't please my 20-something daughter with any fabric or pattern I choose for her. I just don't seem to hit on her style, and it frustrates me. But should I force her to wear something that I envision? That's not really fair to my daughter. And after your fall purge, you may appreciate that your mom doesn't really need to have an extra terry cloth robe with material from the '70s hanging around her house.

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    Replies
    1. I totally agree -- except it was a spur-of-the-moment decision to make it. My mom had no idea I was sewing anything for her.

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    2. Hi, I do understand what you are saying. But I would like to point out that I wasn't talking about Peter's mother, however, merely my reaction to my own experiences! Peter's mom is, in general, adorable.

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  49. Well, congrats for actually sewing for your mom: my sisters and I learned years ago not to invest our time, energy and money in projects for Mother. She will invariably a) find the tiniest flaw in an otherwise perfectly sewn garment and pontificate on how much better she could have done it, or b) give a wan smile and tepid thanks, relegate the garment to the depths of her cedar closet and go on wearing her usual Kohl's bargain rack knits. An eye for impeccable detail and horribly bad taste make her impossible to please, so I usually just send her a fruitcake (which sounds malicious, but she does love them)!
    If only our mothers could be more JoAnn Worley. Or Phyllis Diller. Your mom definitely seems to be a good sport: the photos of her in the robe are adorable.

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  50. It's not just the older folks. Two years ago I spent a LONG time (and quilts are not cheap to make) making a quilt for my out-of-town niece's wedding and didn't receive any kind of acknowledgement (not even that it had arrived at her parent's home), let alone a thank-you until several months later my husband said something to his sister-in-law wondering if we needed to file a claim against the post office. I then received a very terse thank-you post card. I imagine their dog is enjoying the quilt. After another similar experience for another bride, I have sworn off quilts as wedding gifts period. I don't think I'm that out of touch with trends but I vowed then that I won't make something without the recipient actually wanting something hand-made and willing to be involved in color selection etc. or I know without any doubts that they will love it.

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  51. Awe.. It's really cute, and so sweet that you made it for her!..I guess when you get to be that age you have the right to be finicky..

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  52. Wasn't it going to be a wearable muslin to begin with? You had fun, it fits and she'd wear one in her color - Win win win.

    I only make stuff for folks that I know will like and appreciate it. Too many ingrates out there that can't say a simple thank you or even that they received a box in the mail. Completely inexcusable in a Facebook world. So now I have a LOT more free sewing time for me!

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  53. I love the robe---too bad about your mum. Mine never liked anything I got her--she was uber picky. Such is life.

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  54. Sorry she nixed that robe... but she does want you to make her a solid colored one! So she does have respect for your skills. You can always sell that robe or any of your other handmade garments on eBay or etsy

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  55. oops can't please everyone! loving it....bestest to you and yours in 2014
    Daisy j

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  56. Uggh... this has happened to me twice with my MIL. The first time I made her a pant and top pajama set which she couldn't even pretend to like... off to GoodWill. The second time I crocheted her a hat with a pattern and yarn that she picked out and she hated it. Now I only sew for my kids and maybe my husband if he's lucky.

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  57. This happens to me a lot! I sew for 2 opinionated daughters who are only 10! But, they are in the makings of young women, women of all ages who get to a point of knowing what they like, and that is a good thing. Boys/men are sooooo much easier to please. I can make anything for my 12 year old son and he is pleased as can be. It's just the nature of how we are wired I think. When I make something that my girls don't like, they still want it so they can CUT IT UP and use it for a craft project of their own....sigh.

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  58. Well, I won't comment regarding your mom. But I will say, I think it is adorable and very cute on her. Heck, I'd even buy it from you. Happy new year and thank you for all of your wonderful posts! Best to Michael and the puppies.

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  59. Ally - Design Rewind FashionsJanuary 1, 2014 at 10:27 AM

    I'm reading this post a little late and backwards from your other posts so sorry - Anyway, even if your mom didn't care for it (oh, I'm just trying to take a little of the sting out for you) at least you look amazing in it during your New Year's Day song (which I LOVED). The robe really does put a smile on your face!

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  60. What a totally typical older mom's reaction!! You are not alone. When did they stop taping up our drawings on the refrigerator! Love your humor about the whole thing!

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  61. I generally don't make things for people for this reason. I couple of years ago, I made some embroidered napkins for my sister-in-law. I called her before Christmas and told her how excited I was about her gift, and how she had to act like she was happy with it. She did a wonderful job of showing her enthusiasm. I still don't know if it was feigned, and I don't care.

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  62. So sorry to hear your Mother did not like the robe. You made the gift out of love and something done out of love is always right, even if the out come was not what you had hope for. Best Wishes to you this New Year.

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  63. At 80+ your mom isn't interested in looking "cute" and I totally get that.

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  64. Your mother was a good sport to allow you to take the photos. Prints are very subjective, and that one is very loud.

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  65. It's missing a hat ...... would she have liked it then?

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  66. It's fab. I love it. But can I just say, as a mother, you slap your head and say "Mothers!" - but if she's saying she'd like a solid color (like baby blue!) then you know her well enough that she is probably slapping her head on the way out, saying to herself "Children!" What could have possibly entered his head that I would want that?

    Also - did you consider and discuss overdyeing? I mean, apparently you whipped this up in an afternoon, so perhaps this is a case of more fun/easy to just make a new one than fix the old, but depending on the fiber content, something like a red or a strong yellow/gold overdye would tone it down a lot. No cure for the oversize pattern (which I love), but makes it a whole other thing.

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  67. I'm sorry your mom didn't like the coat and did no effort to hide it... I once did the exact same thing to my then boyfriend, now husband, so no permanent damage was done. I think it was for my birthday, and one of the first gifts he got me... He bought me a pair of earrings and I really hated them, I couldn't even pretend to like them... So he took them home with him and gave them to someone in his class... He never bought me jewelry again without my input...

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  68. Too bad she doesn't like it, she's cute as a bug in it! I do want to point out that your new year's song, in that robe, was one of the highlights of the season for me.

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