I remember the moment she gave it to me: it was a big deal. She was a disciplined, serious, celebrated MFA student, one of my instructors in the Textiles department at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, and I was a muddling undergrad in my last semester, dabbling with obscurely connected threads of ideas.
One of those threads was garment design. There wasn't much of that going on in the department at the time, but we had had a summer session instructor who did a course in pattern drafting and I'd been making up some of my yardages into garments. I walked into one of the studios proudly wearing a piece I'd just finished that used some of my printed yardage as a lining in a loose, boxy jacket of smoky green wide-wale corduroy. Sook He was there with a couple others and they were impressed with the result; Sook He jumped up with her just-finished silk in hand and said, "Here, make something with this!"
So, Sook He, I finally did it. Do you like it? This is not the way I envisioned using it (I have a drawing from about 10 years ago that is quite different), but I think this is just about perfect. I wore it proudly to the Mayor's Arts Awards, and everyone asked about it.
Sook He's fabric was perfectly sized for two body panels; I narrow-hemmed them by machine and attached them front and back to a yoke made of a coarsely woven calendared tussah silk fabric that I've had for almost as long (about fifteen years). I made the yoke based on a shirt that I had and loved to death; I've always felt connected to the pattern maker who worked anonymously somewhere in India, since it fit me so well. The slacks are wool from Jax which I made as part of my final collection as a Fashion Design student at the Blanche Macdonald Centre. My earrings were made by my friends Gabriel and Tajirih at Solomon Rose; and the brooch clasping the button placket is an antique of amber and pewter that belonged to my husband's German grandmother.