I’m no skilled seamstress. Really, I’m not. I’m just not afraid to try. So when my daughter was two, the adorable pintsize denim dress and matching hat I made her hid the evidence of my self-taught amateur seamstressing. As the years went on, I made a fleece winter jacket with matching hat, a quilt, skirts, jumpers, matching doll clothes, and Halloween costumes. She thought I could sew just about anything.

But no sewing project was like the infamous Dalmatians-with-fire-hydrants-print pajamas I made one winter.

This would be a great time to reiterate I taught myself how to sew when I was in my 20s.  To this day, I still don’t understand all the instructional jargon of patterns and only decipher it mainly by looking at the pictures. I steer away from complicated patterns, am notorious for excluding the interfacing steps, always have handy my trusty (what I call) “thread-puller-outer,” and usually make it up as I go. For the record “It’s so Easy” patterns do not mean it’s really that easy for an amateur like me! Just saying.

But I’ve digressed.

The doggie-print pajamas … it was in the early days of my learning and I just could not figure out where the pattern picture said to put the Velcro on the shoulders. Was it the wrong side of the back piece or the right side of the front piece or vice versa? After spending hours trying to figure it out, I sewed it how I thought would work best only to realize I sewed it all wrong. But it was too late–my daughter had already seen the finished product and insisted putting them on. She loved them. She adored them. Much to my dismay, she wore them all the time.

I kept my chuckles to myself as the upside-wrong-side-down Velcro attachments were just a continual magnet for her long red hair. Stuck hair and all, she loved the pajamas and still thought I could sew anything.

A few weeks ago, I tackled my biggest sewing project ever—a long formal dress for my daughter. She had a big event coming up and wanted a specific type of dress and was worried we couldn’t find one like it. So I opened my mouth …

“I could make one.”

And so the project began. The pattern she chose didn’t even boast it was easy. After hours of talking to the pattern somehow thinking it would miraculously talk back to me in non-pattern language, researching online how to do the pleats, and staring (a whole lot of staring) at the pictures, I finished even with my daughter’s requests of customizations. (Remember, she still thinks I can sew anything.) I have to say the dress turned out beautifully and my daughter loved it.

As I worked on this formal dress, discussions of past sewing projects emerged. We laughed hysterically reminiscing about her beloved doggie-print pajamas. She still looks fondly on those pajamas claiming the hair sticking in the backwards Velcro made no difference to her because she loved that I made them for her.

It got me thinking about the impact of the little things we do for our kids. Who would have thought that frustrating winter night creating what I deemed a pajama DIY disaster eleven years ago, would produce such a fond treasure for my daughter. She didn’t see the imperfections–she saw that I took time to make her something special.

It makes one pause and think doesn’t it?

Christmas is around the corner. As parents, we feel pressure to spend money we don’t have in excess, but perhaps we just need to look at what we do for our children differently. One never knows how the little things we do or make for them will be a lasting treasure for years to come.

Just saying …