As her mother’s 86th birthday approached, nearly a year after losing her father, Tammie Dooley of Red Oak set out to find someone to make a memory quilt, using the late Tom Sawyer’s signature clothing – blue jeans and plaid, Western shirts.

“I picked up a card for Seldom Seen Quilting Studio and contacted Diana Buckley by e-mail,” Dooley said. 

She took the clothing items to the studio, which is located inside My Father’s House Antique Mall in downtown Waxahachie. Studio owner Diana Buckley recommended a simple pattern known as a “disappearing four-patch” for the quilt.

“I didn’t know if I could get it made in time for Mrs. Sawyer’s birthday in July,” Buckley said.  “But I was so glad when I was able to do it.”

The family got together for a birthday lunch and presented the quilt to Mrs. Sawyer.

“We surprised my Mama Sawyer by all of us meeting for lunch at 342 Grill in Red Oak for her 86th birthday,” wrote granddaughter Shellie Grant Hawes.  “The quilt she was given by her daughters is very special. They took my Papa Sawyer's shirts, jeans, and took them to a lady to make this quilt. It has to be one of the coolest quilts I have seen. It has his jean pockets, the buttons from the front of his shirt, his shirt pockets all over this. One of the things he always said was, ‘Momma, I just want to touch you.’ Now he can,

even from heaven.”

Buckley said she cried when she read Hawes’s note. 

“When I read the quote to my husband, we both had tears in our eyes. What a blessing this project was to me.”

Dooley said she and her sisters were more than pleased with the outcome of the project.  “Dearest Diana @ Seldom Seen Quilting,” she wrote.  “Thank you for giving my family this wonderful memory. Your vision for the memory quilt made from the shirts and jeans of our dad was more than what we could ever have hoped. We feel the love and prayers you so graciously sewed into every stitch. You have a wonderful gift and I am so glad to have found you.”

Buckley opened her quilting studio last fall, but wasn’t able to start working there full-time until April.  “My main focus is renting the longarm quilting machines and teaching customers how to use them,” she said. “But I also take in quilting and accept custom quilting projects on a one-by-one basis. This was an exceptional project, and I think I really gained as much as the customers did.”

During the week after the birthday celebration, Dooley took her mother to the studio to meet Buckley.

“It was a real joy to meet her,” Buckley said.  “Of course, there’s no way she looks 86!”

To read more about the memory quilt, visit Seldom Seen Quilting’s website at http://seldomseenquilting.files.wordpress.com/2013/07/how-to-make-a-memory-quilt1.doc.