One thing Fio and Husband have in common is that they both threaded needles for their near-sighted mothers when they were kids, an essential service to the World War II family--store-bought clothes were limited and expensive. Of course, doting aunts with no children could always be depended on spoil their brothers' offspring. Thus, when Fio was about five and had been taken downtown with her mother and aunt, Aunt Julie said she wanted to buy Fiorella whatever dress she wanted. Fiorella chose a pink dress with black designs on the yoke, sleeves, and hemline, which she thought was the most beautiful thing she'd ever seen, but Mother throught was garish. Mom tried to disuade Fio, but Aunt Julie stepped in and Fiorella went home with the dress of her dreams. In fact, she has some old photos of it somewhere around here.
Actually, Fiorella was always well-dressed. Mother had good taste and a flare for design. Fio's Christmas dress one year was cut out of her father's old tennis pants, and the sleeves and neck were embroidered with red and green yarn. Fio's dolls also benefitted from her mother's skills, and Fio still has the snow-suit Mom crocheted for her favorite doll one Christmas.
Fiorella herself learned to sew at a Singer Sewing Machine class when she was twelve and actually made some of her own clothes as an adult--not because she had to, but because she got a kick out of it. But then, Fio has always gotten a kick out of anything she could do herself. She was born that way.